In Training
Out My Window

Museum of Me: Collectors Corner

Welcome to the latest exhibit in my . . . 


This month let's visit my . . . Collector's Corner.

I was nearly 3 when my sister was born. When my mom was in the hospital recovering (back then . . . for nearly a full week!) and my dad was at work, I stayed at my grandmother's house. I'm sure this was pretty distruptive for their household (and my grandmother wasn't big on sustained one-on-one time with her grandchildren, generally), but I had my grandma and my great grandma to hang out with during the day, and my uncle (who was still in high school) to entertain me after he came home in the afternoons. My mom, being a loving and organized sort of mom, did a lot of advance planning so my time away from home would be a fun adventure. She had little "surprises" prepared for me to open each day. . . little toys I could play with, special little treats to keep me occupied.

I don't remember any of this, of course. But I do remember the stories my mom told me. And I remember one of my "surprises" very well . . . because I loved it so, and it remained one of my very favorite toys throughout the rest of my childhood.


It was a child-sized Blue Willow tea set! And it came with a little black wooden cupboard for storage and display.

It might seem strange now-days . . . to think about giving a 3-year-old a porcelain tea set. But, remember. These were the days before plastic! Our toys back then were . . . wood, porcelain, metal. They were substantial. They broke sometimes. They had sharp edges and lead paint. We were taught to be careful.

And I was!

Apparently, I played with that tea set constantly while my mom was in the hospital with my new sister. I set up tea parties all day long. I had tea parties with my grandmother and my great grandma. I had tea parties with my uncle. I had tea parties with my dad. I had tea parties all by myself. I loved setting them up. I loved putting the tea set back in its little storage cupboard. Over and over and over again!

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Apparently, when I finally met my baby sister for the first time, I forced her tiny baby hand into one of the tea cups . . . and was apparently quite put out that she wouldn't "play." (After all, for months I'd been promised a sibling who would "play with me". . . )

New Baby Little Kym Baby Di John Yvonne January 1962

There are no photos of me playing with the tea set. Or of the tea set at any point in my childhood. (Although I do have this photo . . . of the first time I met my sister, there with my mom and dad at my grandmother's house when they came to take me home.)

In fact, my tea set . . . is long gone! As a much loved toy made of porcelain . . . it became lost to me over my growing up years. Probably a piece at a time. A handle here, a lid there. Cracked plates, lost sugar bowl. Eventually, it was just . . . gone. 

But I never forgot it!

One day several years ago I was browsing in an antique store . . . and there it was!

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A child sized porcelain Blue Willow tea set -- just like the one I'd had as a child! 

I nearly cried from the nostalgia when I found it, and - of course - I bought it on the spot. I've picked up more pieces over the years whenever I find them, and I'm always on the lookout for a little black cupboard like the one I'd had with my set (although my dad thinks a great uncle might have made it for me; he can't recall exactly).

These days, I keep my little Blue Willow tea set on display in a china cabinet in my dining room . . . 


right across from my grown-up sized Spode Blue Italian china collection . . . 


Some things from childhood? They really stick, y'know?


Thanks for visiting The Museum of Me. Watch for new exhibits . . . each month on the 2nd Friday.

And if you're a blogger and you'd like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I'll send you my "exhibit schedule" (a list of my prompts) and we can talk about ourselves together. 



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Oh gosh! I don't think I ever had a porcelain set...I'm pretty sure mine was plastic. But I do remember (maybe I was 4??) setting up tea parties EVERY morning for ALL my dolls (and I had a lot). I would set things up on the piano bench in the living room and play for hours. Thanks for bringing back that memory!!


This is a wonderful story! Your mother truly was well-organized and loving, and I can almost imagine you unwrapping that tea set and thoroughly enjoying all the tea parties. It's interesting that both of us have collections that are enveloped with memories of our mothers, and I thank you for sharing. If I ever meet you in person, we may need to have a tea party!


Your tea set is one I would dream of as a child, but there were no tea sets in our home (Mormon's don't drink tea). Your blue dishes are beautiful!


I'm so glad you found a replacement for your tea set


That's such a great story! I love that your mom made those special surprises for you, and that you were able to replace your lost set. I have been similarly moved when I run across something that sparks a strong memory from childhood. Really, though, do they have to turn up in ANTIQUE shops?? haha


It’s nice to know that you and your sister grew up to be close and loving — considering your rocky start :).


First - I completely forgot about Museum of Me - ugh. Second, I love that thing about expecting a sibling/playmate. Our grandson has gone through this too. I am pretty sure he expected mama and papa to bring home a real boy playmate, not a baby. They will get to that stage at some point but the first 18 months have been a rude awakening.
Love that you found that tea set too.


This is such a wonderful story! I love your memories of playing with your tea set and it's so sweet that you were able to find one as an adult and add those pieces to your home.


What a treasure! I'm glad you were able to replace most of it so that you can keep these memories alive. I'm also very amused by your 3-year-old disappointment that your newborn sister wouldn't play with you. I was 6 when my brother came along, so I think I had a bit more awareness that he wasn't going to be much fun when he first came, but I do remember being really annoyed at how much he cried.


I still have a few things from that early age -- a glass bird, a cup and saucer. But the carved box from my grandma's trip to Norway where she grew up fell victim to our dog Misha's chewing habit when she was just outgrowing her chewing stage. (Misha was not particular as to what she chewed. We lost a TV remote, a cell phone, the pocket of a pair of capris. a clog, and probably some other things I cannot recall.)


Absolutely wonderful Kym! I remember how I felt when I came across a set of my grandmothers dishes in an antique store-trust me it was tough to resist buying them!

Helen Mathey-Horn

Don't you know that early set...set you up for loving the blue willow set you have as an adult. A lot of our early loves even if 'forgotten' are still buried in our sub-conscious...I swear it must be so. I find something as an adult and then find/learn my mother or grandmother had the same thing and I had forgotten over time.


This might be the best story ever, Kym! And how incredible that you found a replacement treasure in an antique store!

But... I really love that it has a prominent place in your china cabinet. And perhaps your talented son could make you a wee little cabinet for it!


How wonderful that you found the same tea set in an antique store. I bet someone could make a cabinet for you. Like Kat, I like that you have the tea set on display where you can enjoy it. What a sweet story.

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