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!
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". . . )
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!
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.