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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A most cherished possession

Earlier, I had promised a separate post about my grandmother's china.  It is one of my most cherished possessions, mostly because every time I use these dishes, I think of my grandmother and remember again, what a wonderful lady she was.

When I was a child, my grandmother Lillian, lived with us.  She was quite severe in appearance and in manner, but there was no question about the love she had for her family.  Lillian raised six children through the grueling Depression of the 1930's, single -handed.  They all became upstanding citizens with a strong belief in family. When my mother married, she brought her mother to live with her.  Lillian was a member of our household for as long as I can remember.  It was my grandmother who took me to church every Sunday, who took me on bus rides to do shopping downtown, and who taught me to make the traditional Christmas cookies my family now love.  But, she taught me much more:  she taught me about the goodness of hard work, the importance of thrift, and the joy of earning the small pleasures of life. Every time I use these dishes, those are the lessons I remember most.  Look closer. Maybe you can see these lessons too.

When I was young, these dishes would be used only on special occasions.  Every Thanksgiving they would grace our table, and when the meal was done, my sister and I were in charge of washing and drying them...CAREFULLY.  We were told of their dearness.  Grandma had bought the twelve place settings and serving pieces, one at a time from quarters saved from her meager paychecks.  I don't know how long it took her to collect the set, but I know they were precious to her because she had to work so hard to get them.  I often think that we don't do that enough today.  My children ( and me too I must confess) take things for granted.  Instant gratification is more often than not the way of the world.  It's difficult to appreciate things that come too easily. The china was handed down to my mother, and then it was divided in half between my sister and me.  I house it in a separate cupboard, a vintage Hoosier, to give it a place of honor.

I've done a little bit of research on it.  The china was made by the Knowles China Company, which was quite well-known throughout the industry from the beginning to middle of the 20th Century.  The company closed on 1962.  This was largely blamed on tariffs which were said to encourage the importation of foreign dinnerware at prices so low that Knowles could not compete.  Sounds all too familiar in today's market doesn't it!

The dinner plates have the Knowles stamp , the name of the pattern (Princess Rose) and a serial number.  I believe the serial number dates the pieces.  In this case it ends in a 51 so I am guessing the pieces were purchased or were at least made in 1951.  Also, looking on websites, I believe the pattern is Princess Rose Coupe.  Coupe is the name of  a style of the handles and gravy boats and creamers.

I use these dishes all of the time.  I don't wait for special occasions.  They are very dear to me, and they make me happy every time I put them on my table.  Most recently, I used them as part of the table setting at the wedding breakfast that I hosted for the bridesmaids of my daughter's wedding.  I also used parts of my collection of pink Depression glass, so my grandmother's Princess Rose china with the delicate pink blossoms mingled perfectly with the other dishes on the table.  Pink was also the color of the bridesmaid' dresses.  What great luck!  Here's a few shots from the table:

Princess Rose fit right in along side of the pink champagne at the mimosa bar!

So that's the tale of my grandmother's china.  Do you have any treasures?  What  heirlooms do you cherish?