January 8, 2007

Tea Time: New Year, New Additions

O.K. Christmas was good. In fact I got a surprise when I went to visit my grandmother. For my pending birthday (Jan. 22) she gave me five tea cups and saucers to add to my collection.

I asked her about her collection and she said that she started collecting them when she was my age. She had no preferences or requirements, just choosing those she was drawn too. She has given some away over the years, but I think secretly she was happy that I was starting my own collection and she could pass her's along to me (I am the only granddaughter, thus the favorite). I guess with life's every changing ways, she eventually stopped collecting, although she couldn't tell me of a defining moment.

I told her about how when I was a little girl I would sit at the coffee table in the den and pretend I was a Spanish Queen pouring tea for her visitors. I don't think she ever really knew I did that. Anyway, here are the pieces that have now been passed on to me.

They each remind me of childhood, but I like each one of them for different reasons. Depending on the day, my favorite is likely to change.

I think I like this one becasue purple was my great-grandmother's favorite color. Althought my mother's parents (Grandpa Gil and Granny) divorced when my mom was still a teen, they never let their anger at their failed marriage get in the way of the relationships they had created. I remember as a child thinking how unique it was that my Ganny still visited and spend time with my grandfather's parents. In fact I was a bit confused as to whose parents they actually were since she often went with my mom when she brought us there to visit them and Grandpa Gil. As a young adult I thought about how we could learn from the relationship my grandparents maintained long after their divorce. They could have eaily turned their back on each other, but I think Granny knew how important my great-grandparents were to my mom and her siblings and that naturally passed to my brother and I. She was a constant presence in their lives up to thier passing about three years ago.

This one is kind of a classic cup and saucer but still maintains an understated elegance, like my Granny. She can be tough as nails when needed (and when my brother and I were young we needed it a lot I'm sure), but she is also the most poised, well-mannered and elegant lady. Even when she is elbow deep in her garden after a rain storm, she still seems to have the elegance of a grand lady. I must say she has probably been the largest influence on my life even though as a child we saw her only twice a year when my mother had visitation.

This one reminds me of playing princess as a child. I imagine this is what they grand lords and ladies of my imagination would have drank from as they sat in their marble parlors and libraries with conversations of latest fashion keeping the ladies occupied while the lords shared their lastest adventures of aquired land and taming wild steeds. My favorite part is the lace-like sutting on the plate.

This cup I just like because of the boldness of it. Yellow and gold might be a bit of a risk for some, but you never know what you'll get if you don't try. The simplicity of the yellow mixes with the elegance of the gold to create something unique and beautiful. Imagine what the world would be like if we were all so bold as to risk new things. Life uninhibited by the confines of society could be quite a rainbow, if we let it.

This is my favorite cup of the day. It is smaller than the others by no less as beautiful. It is not quite small enough to be a miniature. I love the rose peeking over the rim from inside the cup, in a bold "there's more to me than you think" kind of way. Kind of like the way my grandmother always told my brother and I that we could do whatever we dreamed, no matter what others thought. I guess growing up in a world where you are only limited by you imagination has led me to where I am today. I am only fueled further in my ambitions by people who tell me I can't do something becasue I am a girl, or officer's wife or contract employee. I like to step outside of the lines and draw my own box sometimes, and other times I like to comfort of the old box.

I guess life could be like a box of chocolates, but I like to see it through my grandmother's china.

She also gave me a beautiful plate that has the same lace-like cutouts of one of the above cup and saucer sets. She was worried about giving me incomplete sets, but half the fun is finding the beauty in what you have. There are two other additions to my collection, one from our trip to Mexico and the other with a funny story. Come back later for more. Until then, relax and have a cup of tea ...

1 Tea Party Guest:

lime said...

how special. and how wonderful for yoru grandmother to know you'll cherish them as youclearly do. i think i like the purple on ethe best. that little handle on it is so pretty.