The Blue Dishes

Last March I wrote:

Maybe I’ll write
of the $80 coupon
for Crate and Barrel
that expires in 48 hours
and how after school I see the reminder note
and go to purchase new white dishes
to replace the blue ones we’ve used
everyday for 31 years, come this July.
Blue dishes that fed us everyday of our marriage.

Hours later, I see this comment to my blog post:

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 4.44.41 PM

I laughed as I read this. Her question made me think. I started to wonder what memories are connect to our blue dishes.

I recall seeing them with Brian for the first time on display in Bloomingdales at Tyson’s Corner Mall. First off, Bloomingdales is not where I usually shop. But once engaged, Brian and I had fun walking the mall and checking out all the department store kitchen and china departments. Hechts and Woodies were more to our pricing but we’d trek down to Bloomingdales, too and also to that store near that end of the mall (can’t recall it’s name now) that just sold China. It was in the china store that Brian saw the pattern he really liked. As an architect, he appreciates nicely designed objects and in turn is very, very picky. So as the bride, I wasn’t the one to pick out a pretty flowery affordable Nortaki china pattern. Instead, we registered for the very pricey pattern in the China store. All white with a white flower petal along one edge. So simple, yet so elegant and twice as much as most china pattern. Not surprisingly, we receiving only 2 place settings .

The blue dishes are another story:

They are stoneware. Pastel in color. The choices were either pink, yellow, white or pale blue. A set came with the dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, coffee cup and saucer, 4 each. At the time, one set seemed too pricey for a young couple just starting out to buy but maybe someone would buy them for us, I thought. So Brian and I after searching many more stores and seeing nothing we liked as much, returned to Bloomingdales. We bravely asked about opening a wedding registry and we added the dishes. But only the dishes. Then we went to Woodies and added the other stuff people register for – drinking glasses, baking pans, a crock pot, a mixer, etc.

I recall opening two orange square boxes at my Wedding Shower and thanking Grandma for the one set and mom and dad for the other set. Each box held the 4 blue dinner plates on the bottom, then the salad, the bowls, the saucers inside the bowls and the mugs around the bowl. The lid folded in such a way for a handle to be used on top to carry the box set easily. Since we moved each year for the first 5 years of our marriage, I kept those orange boxes and used them over and over for each move. I even recall once we moved to Arlington, making the decision to finally get rid of those boxes. I felt like the dishes would be staying put for a while!

Now I could set a table for up to eight with these blue stoneware dishes, 10 if I added the China. However, that size of dinner party rarely happened. Instead, it was a table for 2 and then 3 and finally 4. Mostly holding spaghetti, baked chicken, chili. Sometimes, liver and onions.

It wasn’t until we built a new house that those blue dishes started to look old and worn out. Suddenly I noticed the many, many scratches covering them. Suddenly the new house needed new dishes. So I headed to Crate and Barrel with a coupon earned by buying a new couch and dining room table to buy new simple white dishes.

And I told Anne, the blue dishes are safe. They are stacked in the basement. Her sister and she can each have a set.




12 thoughts on “The Blue Dishes

  1. Mukhamani says:

    So nice and so many good memories with them. Here we mainly use stainless steel vessels, plates glasses, ladles and so on. Many of them were given to me by my father’s elder brother and family for our wedding in 1982 🙂 I am still using them.


  2. dianeandlynne says:

    When my daughter moved into her first apartment, I gave her our first set of dishes (why I still had them, I don’t know, as we never used them). I guess I kept them because of the memories, and I was inordinately attached to those dishes. My daughter tossed them in her first move! I still have the memories though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alice Nine says:

    I enjoyed reading your slice; it resonates with me. Dishes are tablets upon which we collect stories from our daily lives. I have some I can’t part with . . . broken sets from my grandmothers and my mother. My kids have told me not to get rid of any without telling them.


  4. mschiubookawrites says:

    I love the stories that hide in your blue dishes! Your description paints a picture in my mind; now I want to compare my image to the real thing and see a picture of these blue dishes, stacked neatly in the basement awaiting your daughters. Such a lovely slice.


  5. Ms Victor Reads says:

    I loved the way this slice moved through time. I wish I had something like this to pass on to my sons, but alas, with all of our moves there really isn’t anything…I am sure your daughters will love the memories the dishes hold.


  6. franmcveigh says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Anne’s followup question! What an addition to your story! The love in your family is shared with the story from each mar/scratch in the dishes!


  7. mgminer says:

    I’m happy to hear a young person who still cares about the tangible evidence of love shared in a family. Some things are more than just “stuff.”


  8. mary anne stallings says:

    how can the blue dishes be so old…almost
    31 years. i can’t wait to see the new ones! please use my email. i don’t want to miss your writings!


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