Saturday, April 16, 2011

Table for Ten

There is something wonderful about a department store... at least the way they supposedly were in the olden days, in Nancy Drew mysteries and black and white movies where a lady would measure you for a silk slip and put your purchase in a thick box tied with ribbon, and you could linger to have tea and a sandwich with your great aunt.  And you went there to buy just a couple things, of high quality, that you would expect to use for a long time.  I guess a few modern upscale department stores try to sustain this with grand piano players and attentive employees.  But despite the facade, department stores are mostly cluttered with flashy, disposable clothes and handbags and shoes and home wares made by people paid unfair wages in factories in far away places, and if we thought about where the goods were coming from, or experienced the process of making them, we wouldn't be able to stomach buying them.  Not to mention the terrible flimsy plastic bags that do nothing to make you feel what you bought means something and should be taken care of and made to last a long time.

I remember being in the fine china section of a department store with my mom when I was in elementary school.  Because she hadn't registered for China when she got married, my mom had been slowly buying pieces of her chosen china pattern over the years.  In the section with us was a young woman customer, her mother, and a department store woman following them with a clipboard.  The young woman was working on her bridal registry, trying to choose a china pattern.  She seemed tentative and pensive, while her mother was loud and full of directives, and the department store lady tried to remain cheerfully neutral.  When we were out of earshot, my mom told me to make sure to register for nice china like that bride when my time came, because if not, I would regret it, and be like my poor mom, without much disposable income, trying to piece a set together over the years.  I'm not married yet, and I suppose I could change my mind, but for now I have so much fun collecting a variety of plates at the thrift store.  Most of the plates I've found are made in the USA and many have delicate 22 K gold on their rims.  All of them cost about a dollar each. Two of the plates pictured (the mushrooms and the butterflies &strawberries) were not thrifty at all.... they are Nathalie Lete plates I splurged on because I liked them so much!  They are made in China :(

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