The holidays tend to be the only time when the “fancy” plates and “good dishes” come out. I think that’s a shame! Beautiful things should be enjoyed more often. While I haven’t had many occasions to use my silver tea set, I have used it a few times, and not just for holidays.
Silver tea sets were used for afternoon tea, a tradition that began in the 17th century. A basic set, like mine, included a tea pot, creamer, and sugar bowl. More elaborate sets might also include sugar tongs, plates, and tea cups.
They are certainly less popular than they used to be. Silver and silver-plated dishes tarnish terribly, and require careful cleaning on a regular basis. I don’t do so well remembering to clean and polish on a regular basis, but I do it because my set is special. It was a gift from my paternal Grandmother at my bridal shower. If I got the story right, she won the tea pot, creamer and sugar bowl in a raffle from the store where my grandfather purchased their wedding rings. The silver tray was a new addition just for me.
My grandmother was one of 6 daughters. Her father was apparently quite a woodsman, and I wonder what he thought about 6 daughters! When one of her younger sisters was born, she was sent to an older, childless couple while her mother recovered. It was a long recovery, involving a move to a nearby large town. When they brought Nana to live with her family, she was so distraught at being separated from this older couple, who had cared for her for so long, that she was returned to them. She kept in touch with her family, but was happier in a quiet setting. She cared for this couple as they grew older, leaving school to take a job in the local store.
There she met a quiet guy who lived with his parents on a farm in a nearby village. His parents were not ecstatic about the match and tried to dissuade him from marrying her, but he was smitten!
Years ago, I gave my grandmother a journal and asked her to write about her life. She didn’t begin to write as much as I had hoped, but she wrote this entry in April, 2003:
Today would be our 65th wedding anniversary. Much like today, cold, damp, slight rain. Met at A. [Anglican} Church in E. at nine AM. In attendance, Roy’s parents, brother Ray and wife from T, Mr. & Mrs. Fenwick. Rev. Posture officiated.
Since the soap the villagers put on the windows froze, and by the time we got to C., decided to return home by D. and clean the soap and remove the tin cans.
We stopped in N. and had our pictures taken, a custom in that day. We drove to T. to Ray’s, and stayed 2 nights. Returned home and I baked for the wood sawyers the next day.
We saw one movie on the way “Ebb Tide”. Doesn’t sound very exciting, that was usually the style then, we didn’t have money for a lavish wedding, and we didn’t borrow in those days.
Roy had a tip top taylor suit which cost $24.00. I had bought a deep blue dress, bought material to add sleeves to it. You didn’t get married without sleeves and a hat.
Nana and Papa were married 38 years. Life on the farm was difficult, with aging in-laws, extra relatives during holidays, 2 children, and all the duties of household and livestock.
This year we celebrated our Silver Anniversary – #25!
I asked her once if she ever thought about getting married again and she chuckled. “No,” she said, “once was enough”. I’m inclined to agree.
Why do we save the good stuff for the guests? Why are we not important enough to use the good dishes? And the white towels? So, I have decided that we are using the good dishes.aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com