Growing up, we had our Melamine dishes for every day use, and good china for company. I wasn’t allowed to touch the good dishes until I was well into my teenage years. This was a special set of Noritake china that my parents brought over from Japan. The design was different from any I’ve seen anywhere else. I remember the first time I was allowed to eat from one of the special plates. Boy, did I feel grown up! I don’t even remember what I ate, but I felt so good about having used it and not breaking it.
Our everyday place setting included Tupperware cups and bowls. We had the set of six: pink, white, blue, orange, yellow, and green. Somehow I was assigned the pink, my brother Mike got the white, and youngest brother Ken got blue. I always drank out of the pink cup and ate cereal from the pink bowl. We never really questioned it; that’s just the way it was. One day after eating his cereal from his blue bowl, Ken asked for some grapes. Mom put a few in the yellow bowl. He got very indignant at having to eat out of a bowl that wasn’t his! He’s a lot more flexible now.
When I got married, I chose what I considered a very simple but elegant china pattern, and our wedding and shower guests generously supplied us with twelve sets plus all the accessories. Over the past thirty-five years, that set has been used perhaps a dozen times. It’s sad, isn’t it? But the occasions in which we used them were special – holiday dinners with the family, and special times with special people. Now, we tend to use disposable plates and flatware so that we can spend more time chatting with our guests. Lately, the holiday gatherings have been at my daughter’s house, so our china sits unused in our hutch. I wonder if our kids remember ever using it.
When my first daughter was eighteen months old, I took her to Japan to meet her great-grandmother. My relatives there gave us a dish set (divided plate, bowl, and matching cup) that had some cute cartoon-like drawings on it. We brought the set home, and she used it for a long time. When my second daughter arrived, they sent us another set. Now, my grandchildren use them, and every time I watch them use these dishes I’m taken back a few decades to when their mom and aunt were small. I remember feeling so rushed and harried as a working mom. Now I wish I could relive those days.
Hubby and I tend to use our Corelle dishes most of the time, and paper plates when we have a big crowd. But maybe once in a while I ought to take out the good china. After all, if the people I live with aren’t special enough, who is?