Grandma’s China

When the New Year arrives, I’m ready for it. No holding onto the past. No looking back. When the sun dawns on January one, I greet it with eyes wide open, staring down the clean slate delivered by twelve months of fresh Monday’s. Indeed, it’s a rather peppy meeting—me extending a hearty handshake to ring in The New.

I was, therefore, surprised to find myself on Saturday, slowly unpacking the brown boxes that saintly sister, Natalie, had salvaged and stored for me these last months. A few random relics set aside when Grandma moved from house to nursing home.

“Do you want Grandma’s china?” she had asked.

“Sure.” I’d replied. To not take it would be ungrateful. Unthoughtful. Undutiful. Right?

Three big boxes entrusted to me, leaving their only known home, journeying across the Rocky Mountains to mine.

I’d had no intention to unpack them. We didn’t need dishes. I was sure they wouldn’t match. But curiosity crept momentarily into my memory, and I tugged at the top of one box and unwrapped a single, smooth yellow teacup, golden wheat and a friendly flower smiling from its painted face. The cup was sturdier than I’d remembered. Shinier than I’d thought. I pressed it’s cold porcelain sides between my warm hands. There. Right there were the memories.

Kneeling on the vinyl chairs to glimpse through the glass of Grandma’s kitchen her yellow china. Gleaming stacks of fragile plates and bowl and cups. And a stout gravy boat displayed safely until special occasions called for their use.

Picking cherries from the cherry tree in the back yard.

Swinging. Swinging. Swinging on Grandpa’s red swing.

The cozy smell of oil and gas in Grandpa’s shed when you’d go to fetch the pogo stick.

The mesmerizing collection of mermaids hanging on the bathroom wall.

Chicken soup with pepper. Grilled cheese with mayo.



Kisses and tears whenever a good bye was said.

Standing there in my kitchen. Holding those memories in my hand, I realized they were sturdier than I’d remembered. Shinier than I thought.

And I was so glad. So glad to welcome them home.

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12 Responses to “Grandma’s China”

  1. 1

    The Blonde Duck on January 5, 2009 at 5:25 am Reply

    That’s such a sweet post. It’s amazing where our memories are hidden.

  2. 2

    Cindy on January 5, 2009 at 6:18 am Reply

    That makes me think of my Grandparents and all the memories, thank you!
    Visiting from SITS

  3. 3

    Leah on January 5, 2009 at 8:35 am Reply

    visiting from SITS. what a sweet tribute to your grandparents.

  4. 4

    Jerrie on January 5, 2009 at 9:31 am Reply

    Lovely. Sometimes you don’t know what you want until something falls into your lap. Wonderful memories and I love those dishes (my friend has her grandmother’s and uses them frequently). Another SITs visitor! :)

  5. 5

    Sarah on January 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm Reply

    It’s so crazy how so many memories can be attatched to one thing, or even smell.

    You write beautifully.

    It made me want to go through some of my old things and remember childhood memories. =]

    Glad that your first Monday of the year, started out so well.

  6. 6

    Gaspegirl on January 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm Reply

    What a beautiful blog entry … thanks for sharing that!

  7. 7

    Jennifer on January 5, 2009 at 7:57 pm Reply

    What a precious treasure…my grandmother died two years ago, and I cherish the few small things of hers that I have. I still cannot get it through my head that she’s gone. I can close my eyes and feel her when I last hugged her goodbye and hear her voice still.
    All those memories sound wonderful…thanks for sharing.
    Happy New Year!

  8. 8

    Mikki Black on January 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm Reply


    So glad I stopped by from SITS to say hi. That was beautiful.

    I had to come see you after I saw the name. Oh, the conversations we can have…


  9. 9

    Jenny on January 5, 2009 at 8:39 pm Reply

    I love how you write Brooke! Have I ever told you how much talent you hold in just your tiny pinkie finger alone? Well, if not…you ARE SO TALENTED, and kind, and loving, and thoughtful, and….well, I could go on and on! Hope you guys had a great Christmas and New Year. Thanks again for the gifts…I can’t wait to go get some GOOOOOOOOD bread! Oh, and can I have that Mermaid plaque for my b-room…so stupendous!

  10. 10

    Brindi on January 5, 2009 at 9:17 pm Reply

    That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of my grandma.

  11. 11

    The Cake Lady on January 7, 2009 at 7:34 am Reply

    Brooke, That was so amazing and thoughtful it put me right there with you…or even back to some memories of my own! Thanks!

  12. 12

    moseyalong on January 7, 2009 at 9:18 pm Reply

    oh, you got me.

    The serving dishes I use were my grandmothers’, and I have a wealth of memories well up every time I use them. I’m not a collector, and not even particularly sentimental (or so I thought), but I have a small selection of teacups from both my grandmothers, and they feel close whenever I pull them out of the cupboard.

    Thanks for sharing. And I love the dishes.

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