My grandmother Olive was a formidable woman. She was a first generation German immigrant, a public school teacher in downtown Pittsburgh, and a complete spit-fire who stood a whopping 4’11” tall. She was proud of her sons, and when my dad married my mother, she gave my mother her beloved collection of china.
Olive loved fine china so much she could not choose just one pattern. Rather than settling on one, my grandfather bought her place setting every year. Growing up, my mother lovingly pulled out all the mismatched sets to place on our holiday table. Everyone had their own pattern, and I remember feeling so grown up when I was finally allowed to help set the table.
A few weeks ago, the sets came home with me, and I carefully unpacked them to place in the china cabinet where they will be safely kept until our next holiday. This Thanksgiving, I will pull out these plates, and let Grace help me set the table, and I will eat from my mother’s pattern for the first time. But for now, they are safely stored, ready to be loved by third generation of family.