I've been trying to write a poem about my Farmor's (Swedish Grandmother, father's mother) green plates for two days now. And it's all just crap. Sewage. Compost. Bleck. There is no way I can capture what they mean to me in that form. You get a rambling post instead.
Farmor had one child who lived, my Dad. She had five miscarriages, two stillborn boys, and one precious daughter who didn't live long enough to come home from the hospital. I'm crying as I write this, the mother of two living miracles, and three waiting for me in heaven. She was a totally amazing person. I've given you some glimpses of her in The Curse of the Chicken Pox, Baking with Farmor, and Oranges Like a Boy , but they barely scratch the surface. She was a generous, loving force in my life, and her entire focus was on her child and grandchildren.
Visiting her home was always special. She made us feel like we were making her day oh so much more exciting by coming over. She had a very positive outlook on life, despite fibromyalgia. Not that she got that diagnosis until she'd suffered for over ten years...but that's another story. One of my fond memories is of her china. She really, really loved entertaining. And setting a perfect table. (If she'd been a blogger, she would be one of you amazing folks who show us how wonderfully you've combined vintage, new, whimsical, and treasured all in one very inviting table.) I don't think we have an exact count of how many sets of china she owned, but from an early age we all knew which of them were meant for us eventually. She was very specific about this, and would collect things and tell us about them and who she had in mind when choosing them. It makes me smile to think of how many items she bought in triplicate for this purpose...
Ok, I may finally be getting to the point. We belatedly celebrated my birthday this past Sunday. When I served dessert, I used this set.
I remember The Swede telling me about how Farmor would have ladies over, and these were the plates specifically for cheese and fruit. But sometimes, she would serve him a snack using these plates. He told me how special that made him feel. And that's such a good picture of who she was. She didn't save things for someday. She used her treasures, taught us about them, letting us touch them and wash them and help her set the table with them. Yes, they were valuable, most of them. But when inevitably one of us broke a piece (we were 2, 6, and 9 when we moved to the US so this is not surprising) she would just shrug it away. “Don't worry about it. It's only a plate. As long as YOU didn't hurt yourself, it's all going to be fine.
So it was with a melancholy heart that I served my birthday cake on the green plates. Green plates that used to serve ladies at coffee, but were also used to make a child feel special. And that now live in my house far from Sweden, making me recall precious moments from my childhood, and treasure them all the more for the heart that gave them to me.
P.S Here's what's on the bottom. If any of you tablescape bloggers out there know anything about them, I'd love to hear about it. All I know is that they're European...