I’m de-cluttering my house. My summer project. Working my way from room to room.
I’m going through kitchen cabinets now and on the very top shelf sits my mom’s china. An attractive pattern with a brown and gray floral border on white porcelain. It was her first set of good china.
My parents were part of the up and coming middle class who rode the tidal wave of post-war prosperity in the 1950s and 60s. But they started out dirt poor, like almost everyone else during the Great Depression.
And so, to them, success meant little luxuries. And nice china was one of those. Dad was a career Air Force officer with a good head on his shoulders, who intended by the grace of God and his own resourcefulness to leave all that dirt-poor as far behind as he could.
Hard work, sensible choices and pinching pennies are what their generation was all about. He and mom usually opted for drab, cookie-cutter base housing and my mom used her homemaking flair to make each one as comfortable and classy as possible on Dad’s modest income.
Dad made it all the way to Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from the Air Force and he and mom finally built their dream house. They filled it with the made-to-last Early American furniture they’d purchased with pride, and mom’s china. Most of their beautiful furniture was sold off when they died; my sister and I already had furniture of our own. But I took a few things, including the china.
And so it sits on my very top kitchen shelf. Rarely used, but cherished until it’s my kids’ turn to give it a home. Or not. I think I’ll start using it more often.