Friday, 8 March 2013

Story Telling Sunday March 2013 - Photo Heavy

This year Storytelling Sunday asks you to "pick your precious".  This is how Sian described it ...

Start looking around, see what you love. Pick Your Precious is for short story tellers and for long. You can take the idea of simply a photo with a few words; or, if you are a can't-stop-yourself storyteller, you can expand as much as you like. The thing to keep in mind is that at the end of the year you'll have a permanent record of the little things you hold dear - and your family will know why you are holding onto them! Doesn't that sound like it might be worth it? No more "Do you really need that?"
Please join us this year.  It only takes a minute and even if you only write a story or two, that will be a few more of your stories written down. I know that I am incredibly late this month and I will post why later.

Pick Your Precious - March

My Maternal Grandma was a very important figure in my life.  It was this Grandma who bought the doll house for me that I spoke about last month.  My Grandma was an integral figure in my life, living with us for long periods of time after my mom and dad separated when I was two.  Here is a picture of us (albeit VERY red!) from when I was a toddler.  I love this photo and wish the colour was better.  My Grandma was almost 6' tall and very large boned so unfortunately her jewelry doesn't fit me.  I remember her wearing the think necklace in this picture her whole life.  Any piece I own is just HUGE!

This Grandma was an interior decorator but turned her hands at many things over the years after she divorced when her kids were little.  She was an adventurer like me and even dragged her kids across the world in the late 60's to Australia.  This is where my mom met my dad.  Grandma didn't last here as she found it was too conservative for a single mom (with terrible woman's wages) and she moved back to the US without my mom who was by now engaged.

Fast forward a handful or two of years and Grandma moved to Australia to help my mom after her attempt to work things out with my dad failed.  Grandma lived with us on and off after that in between mission trips to countries like Fiji and even China.  Grandma even smuggled Bibles into China when it wasn't safe to do so!  She died unexpected while preparing for a trip to Russia after the fall of the USSR. She could only stay in Australia for a certain length of time before needing her passport to be stamped elsewhere.  So she began traveling. In between she would turn her hand to all sorts of jobs that earned her the money for her next trip.  Many of the items in my 'precious' boxes are from my Grandma.  Due to other circumstances, I haven't had an opportunity to spend quality time with my boxes so I am going to share a precious that I inherited from my Grandma.

Grandma didn't have many personal items but there are a few things that she shipped all over the world and in between temporary travel we looked after.  Here is a photo of my brother and I and cousins either dropping Grandma to the airport or picking her up.  We did this quite often!  I am the eldest in the photo and sporting a spiral perm!

One of the items that my Grandma shipped everywhere was her set of 'Liberty Blue' dinnerware.  Grandma used it as everyday dishes and when living with us my brother and I broke quite a few breakfast bowls!  I inherited it and have cherished it every day since.  It was packed up in a tea-chest until I moved out of home but I have to admit I only use it for 'good'.  My husband isn't a fan of any blue and white dinnerware and he is terrified of breaking it, so it sits in a cupboard on display until I can bring it out for dinner parties.  We ALWAYS use it at Thanksgiving and that is when I feel closest to my Grandma.  She was always home for Thanksgiving and it was my favourite holiday as my parents didn't fight over us ... this was just my mom's holiday and dad never worried about it.  I can smell Grandma baking pies in my memory as I type this.

I have to admit only knowing family legend about this dinnerware as I never expected my Grandma to go so soon.  It was always a part of her house and I never heard her stories about it.  There is now a book available detailing the pieces in more detail and one day I would like a copy.  I love the pictures on each piece and know most of the stories behind each scene.  I probably know my US history about as well as I know my Australian history!  I am truly a child of the two countries, but I don't fit perfectly in either.  I am always asked where I'm from ... my accent isn't a fit for anywhere.  I think that is why I loved living in Ireland so much, no one had any expectations of what I should be like.

An inscription on the back of a piece

I will leave the story here as I am close to tear,s and just share photos of the pieces with you.  I have service for 6 with additional dinner plates that I found in Portabello Rd, London and in small street market in Amsterdam.  One day I would like to add to the set and have service for 12.

The soup tureen is my favourite and features the Boston Tea Party on the lid.

The side of the soup tureen.  Many pieces feature Paul Revere like the salt shaker.

Here is a close up of the lid.

There is a full tea/coffee set.  The sugar bowl shows Betsy Ross sewing the flag.

This poor sugar bowl was in constant use by my Grandma and we broke the lid at some point.

Here are some of the platters and bowls.  I love the large platter with Washington crossing the Delaware.

These are the plates and the bottom right is a soup bowl.

Well done if you made it this far :-)  See you next month for Storytelling Sunday and please do pop over to the other stories.  I will endevour to read them over the next week.



  1. How very precious and how very lovely. I'm sure I won't be the only one who is delighted that you included all the photos..they complete the story perfectly. And I bet someone who knows their Photoshop well would be able to remove that red cast on the top photo for you. She sounds like an amazing woman..who wouldn't love an adventuress like that in the family?!

    Thanks Chipper. I think I like Storytelling Sunday on a wet Friday afternoon :)

  2. And I like it on a very wet Saturday evening! Thank you for your visit, I am so please I called by to learn about your beautiful china, it really is very precious indeed.

  3. I was so interested in your china (I have a thing about dinner services) that I've just spent a happy half hour reading all about it and all about American history as a result! Thanks for sharing and I hope you found a lot of good memories as well as sad ones.

  4. What a treasure! And a lovely story as well. Thanks for sharing it.

    Do you have a scanner? I've been able to color correct some old photos by scanning them and then correcting the color in Photoshop Elements. If you can't get the color just the way you want it, changing it to black and white almost always improves it.

  5. Your Grandma sounds like one in a million - I'm sure that she's sadly missed.

  6. Oh she does indeed sound precious. And I could look at pretty dishes all day long - lovely to know their story too.

  7. I love your dishes!! So American! I just love the blue---I've never seen them before. What a treasure for you and a great way to honor and remember your grandmother. I don't have much from mine, but what I do have, (Rosary, tablecloths) I cherish too. I'm going to have to keep an eye out on my antiquing for your dinnerware. It's just so special!

  8. I was so taken with your dinnerware that I just had to have some!!! Isn't Ebay a great place? Can't wait to tell the story on my blog of how you lead me to this beautiful discovery!!

  9. What a beautiful story about you Grandma and I love blue and white tableware too.


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