Photo by Lorie Palmer
"My dad got the China set for my mom when he was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 when he was in the Air Force. The pattern is Rosemarie and it has an elegant pink rosebud on bone China with a silver rim."
As of Tuesday, April 4, 2017
My mama died March 6. While she was ill and leading up to her death, we have had a time of reflecting, reminiscing and remembering. I am blessed my two brothers and I, some other members of our immediate family and a few close friends were able to spend my mom’s last days with her. Although there is sadness, there is also peace in knowing she is not in pain and is free from Alzheimer’s disease.
As we clean out papers and glass (my mom loved pretty glassware) we are afforded a lot of good memories. The one thing that has made me feel particularly gloomy is my mom’s beautiful Noritake China.
My dad got the China set for my mom when he was stationed in Vietnam in 1968 when he was in the Air Force. The pattern is Rosemarie and it has an elegant pink rosebud on bone China with a silver rim. I had only seen the dishes a handful of times in my life. Other than those few occasions when the table was set with the 16-piece set, these lovely dishes were hidden away in the cabinets of the hutch.
I feel sad that my mom didn’t get more enjoyment out of the dishes that were given to her through sacrifice and love. My dad was sending home his pay for three kids and wife when he was in Monkey Mountain, near Da Nang, Vietnam. He would take extra shifts at night, driving higher military personnel through combat zones then work his regular radar job during the days. The little extra he made went toward those dishes.
I have my Grandma Fay’s dishes, which were used and are used, and I really like them. They are simple and not fancy and definitely not Noritake, but still beautiful. When we started cleaning out my mom’s glassware, I was conflicted on whether or not I should keep the Noritake set. Then I made a decision that I would honor that affection my dad had for my mom that caused him to purchase that set of dishes. I have made room in my house for these dishes and I vow to use them.
Rather than just save them in a cupboard for a supposed perfect day that may never come, I’m going to use them on the imperfect days. The days when the birthday cake is lopsided. When the Easter green beans get burned on the bottom. On the day when my brother is late to Christmas dinner and we’re all waiting impatiently. I’m going to enjoy those dishes and the story behind them. After all, they’re not just tableware: they are bundles of stories and memories tied up with exquisite, delicate roses and a lining of silver.
Lorie Palmer has worked for the Free Press for 22 years in June.