I've loved these dishes and I've hated these dishes. They are Noritake "Cheramy" china, dating, as far as I can tell from my Googling, to the late thirties or early forties. My parents received them as a wedding gift in--and I'm going to embarrass myself here because I can't remember the exact year; it's late, and I'm a bit fuzzy from too much work, lack of sleep, and a big ol' cocktail--1965, maybe? Crap. I should know this.
Anyway, I remember these as The Special Occasion Dishes. We used them at Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and--well, that's about it. Just the Big Three holidays in our family, and maybe for my cousin's bridal shower, and my grandfather's wedding reception. Maybe. I could be wrong, but if there was going to be a celebration where we did use them, those are the biggest events I can conjure up at 4:00 a.m.
They are gorgeous, ethereal dishes, with fine, raised gold trim and so delicate you can see the light shining through them. Far, far, too delicate for anything so uncouth as a dishwasher. And so, like the gold-toned flatware my parents also received as a wedding gift (I think that's when they got them, at any rate), they required hand washing. For a kid used to chucking things in a dishwasher, this was a pain in the asterisk.
But they are so, so beautiful, and when I think of those long ago family holidays, I picture us all sitting at the table, eating turkey or ham or roast goose off of these. (Okay, I've only roasted a goose once ever, and I don't think I actually served it on these dishes. But let's pretend.) Many of those people are gone now. My grandparents, my dad. We don't even use these dishes anymore. I can't recall a time in the last twenty years where we've dragged them out for a family feast.
So why am I having anxiety attacks at the thought of my mom selling them?
She's being practical, of course. She never uses them. I never use them. I don't plan on using them because a) I'm not really the formal entertaining kind of gal and b) did I mention what a pain they are to wash?
My grandparents, who gave my parents the dishes, would be the first to tell her, hells, yes, sell the ol' things and put the money toward fencing the yard or finishing the laundry room or blowing it all on the grandkids or a trip to Vegas. Or London, definitely London. My mom's not really the Vegas sort. They'd support her on the decision. So is it nostalgia, my vice-like grip on the past, or my general pack-rat tendencies (surpassed only by Ted) that make me want to argue the point? Is it whack to never want to use the dishes, but keep them packed away in the closet out of sentimentality?
Okay, okay, Mom (I know you are reading this), I will be putting them on Craig's List this week. We can't keep everything forever. I guess it's time to give them a new home with someone who will appreciate and use them.