This may look like a photo of a rather inept tablescape, snapped by a rather incompetent photographer, but its not. What it is, is a modern day fairy tale. And like all fairy tales, it begins with....
"Once Upon a Time," a long, long time ago, a penniless princess met an equally penniless prince. As you might expect they fell hopelessly and totally in love. Even though they were practically paupers, they decided to marry and live on love. They had a small wedding with only their most favorite subjects in attendance. Because they had literally nothing in the way of possessions, their loyal (and loving) subjects presented the happy couple mostly with the coin of the realm. This was a blessing for they needed many, many basic things for their rented castle. With the generosity of the gifts the couple was able to set up housekeeping, but agreed not to furnish the castle with luxury items but rather with things that would be usable everyday and provide for their needs. The prince and princess dreamed of one day bringing great wealth to their kingdom and then, possibly they would consider adding luxurious accoutrements to their household.
Many years went by and although they were no longer penniless, their's was never the richest kingdom. There was always some expense necessary for the kingdom. So rather than getting wonderful crystal stemware, they replaced the transmission in their carriage. Rather than investing in beautiful silver flatware, they sent the prince back to college to get a Bachelor's degree, then a Master's. And instead of warm glowing fine china to grace their table when they entertained in their kingdom, they found they had a new little princess to clothe, and feed, and educate and so on and so on.
Over time, life went on and they didn't suffer because they never got around to getting their own luxurious things with which to set their table. Even the princess stopped wishing for a "someday" when she could choose her own special china and silver. They made do with some inherited pieces and gifts, and even with things called "stoneware" and "stainless", and ....(gulp)....."glass"! They never felt deprived. They were happy with their work, their family and especially their very own junior princess (granddaughter) who decreed that they would be Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa for evermore! Yes, they made a good life and lived happily ever after, even lasting together all the way to retirement age.
Whoa, Nellie!! Hold the phone!! What?? The end??? The end?????? That's not much of a fairy tale, you're probably saying. Where's the fairy godmother? Where's the three wishes?? Where's the magic?? You call that a happy ending??? What happened next? Were the princess and prince sentenced to a life of parties with paper plates? To cocktail parties with plastic cups?? To holiday dinners served on (shudder) everyday dishes?? Surely there must be more to the story!
(Oh, all right, all right! Sheesh,everybody's a critic! Okay, back to the kingdom.....)
One day Princess Grammy was making a royal visit to a local shop. It was a shop filled with many gently used, but serviceable items. All kinds of goods displayed on rack after rack by the proprietors of the shop. The proprietors were very nice people filled with GOODWILL (ahem....hint, hint!) and sold most of the items for very little money. Princess Grammy was looking specifically for a particular item needed for an upcoming theatrical presentation in the kingdom and the Shop of Goodwill was always a good place to look for such items. As she was about to leave the shop, something caught her eye. Her heart began to pitter-pat as she went to examine what appeared to be a stack of dishes. She asked about it and was told the following story:
It was a complete Service for 12 (!) of Mikasa fine china in the Amherst pattern (which is no longer made.) In addition to the 12 place settings (dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, cup and saucer) there were 12 soup bowls, 11 small dessert bowls, sugar and creamer, two serving bowls, a medium-sized round platter, a large oval platter, and a gravy boat (not all shown below.)
[Although a thoroughly delightful, beautiful, and especially charming princess (hey, its a fairy tale!), Princess Grammy is a terrible photographer! As there is no royal photographer in the kingdom, she tried her best to photograph some of the pieces. She apologizes for the crumminess of the pictures!!]
The china was beautiful. The colors of the design were red, gold, and black on white. The pattern was colorful, classic, and striking. Princess Grammy fell in love. She really, really loved it, but she knew she probably couldn't afford it (as usual, the castle needed a new fence and Prince Poppa needed new brakes for his carriage.) She suddenly realized that the set would be AUCTIONED on the following Saturday. Auctioned??!! Really?? Perhaps there was hope! This was, of course, the Shop of Goodwill!
Home she ran just as fast as her not so tiny glass slippers would carry her. She went to tell Prince Poppa of her discovery and he could see how much she wanted that china. Together they agreed they would attend the auction (they went incognito, of course.) They also agreed that they might even bid if the bids were in an affordable range but they would bid no higher than $300 (surprisingly, the coin of the realm was U.S. Dollars) If the bidding went above that, they would give up.
The day of the auction arrived, Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa planted themselves right up front. Prince Poppa agreed that the china was as beautiful as he had been told! At the appropriate time he began to bid. Princess Grammy crossed all of her fingers. (She would have crossed all of her toes too but she was afraid she would fall down!) There were two other bidders but before long one dropped out, the bidding continued until finally Prince Poppa made their top bid....."$300.00!" he said. Princess Grammy held her breath!
Going, going, gone! Princess Grammy yelled "Yay!" and Prince Poppa grinned and all the other people clapped their hands. It was theirs!! A full service for 12....91 separate pieces!! And they got it for a mere $3.30 per piece!! That didn't even put a strain on the royal coffers!! Princess Grammy finally had beautiful china of her very own! After all those years. What a joy! They took it all home, used it for their Easter State Dinner, and now it sits in 5 separate boxes until Prince Poppa gets to work on the new/old china cabinet to make a place for their new/old china!
And so, now Princess Grammy and Prince Poppa are really living happily ever after!
The E.....oh wait!!
One more tiny, little thing.....did I happen to mention that when the Shop of Goodwill first received the china, it was in a large box labeled, "Grammy's China"! (Prickles at the back of my neck!!) Now is that magic, or what?!!
Like I said, a modern fairy tale! Maybe the best one since "The Princess Bride".....but that's a whole 'nother "Once Upon a Time".....
I'm participating in Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.
I've also joined up with: