This beautiful couple is Betty Jean and Thomas Homer, my maternal grandparents. They were married on June 12, 1946 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. My grandmother, Betty, was born on January 25, 1927 and passed away on December 13, 2003 after suffering a stroke. She attended three funerals in the space of two weeks; that of her oldest daughter's boyfriend who passed away from cancer, that of my paternal grandfather, and then her own. My grandfather, Homer, was born on December 28, 1927 and celebrated his 82nd birthday last December.
Grandma's death was very unexpected. She was healthy and active, busy with church service and family and taking care of Grandpa. As he's gotten older, his health has declined and it has been difficult to see him struggle with losing his independence. Due to a condition called macular degeneration, he started to lose his sight at about age 18 (I know Wiki says that it happens later in life, but his is an inherited condition that begins in early adulthood). Nevertheless, he remained independent and found ways to work around his vision loss. The only thing he gave up because of it was his driver's license. But due to recent difficulties in his health, he has finally given up his home and moved to an assisted living center.
I was so blessed to live near to my grandparents growing up. My grandparents made all of their grandchildren feel like they were the favorite, but I know that I was the true favorite. I'm the oldest grandchild, after all. I have so many special memories of these grandparents. I grew up with five brothers and sisters and when the noise and confusion grew to be too much, I could always go and stay at my grandparents'. I loved to go and sleep over on Friday nights. My grandma would let me have what she called 'a bowl of mush' (cold cereal) for dinner and I could spend time all by myself in the quiet of their house watching TV or reading or playing. It was such a treat to spend time at their house.
Now that Grandpa has moved to an assisted living center, his house needs cleaning out and things need distributing. My grandparents really kept an orderly home. They didn't hoard and there wasn't junk all over the place. Grandma was an excellent housekeeper and the rooms and living spaces were not just neat and tidy, but clean. She would routinely wash walls, and there was never a speck of dust or a fingerprint anywhere. Not only that, the storage spaces and cabinets and closets were also neat and tidy. But there are still many possessions to distribute.
The pattern is Pasedena 6311 by Noritake. I reckon that this set is about 45 years old. It is so beautiful and simply elegant, not to mention in excellent condition. There are eight of each of the plates (dinner, breakfast/salad and bread and butter), eight of the small fruit/dessert bowls, seven of the lugged cereal bowls (left-hand side), an oval serving platter and an oval serving dish. Aside from the missing cereal bowl, there is only one little chip on one of the breakfast/salad plates. The white gold plating on the rims is completely in tact on every piece, as is the beautiful rosebud. What an amazing and precious inheritance.
The Little Bugs wanted to know if we were going to eat off these dishes. Most definitely! What is the point of having something so beautiful, if we're not going to use them? I think Sunday dinners will be served on the new china from now on. Mr. Bug was surprised to find that the china is from the late 1960's. He said it looks like new and might be something you could find today. I agree; the pattern is very timeless.
Over the past few weeks, I've been so excited about sharing this new treasure with you. Some of the blogs I follow have owners who collect vintage items and post about them on Mondays or Thursdays. I wondered, though, what does vintage really mean? Do I have some vintage china and could I be part of the cool kids who post about their vintage treasures? I looked it up.
The correct usage of the word vintage is to identify the year when a wine was made. Since the term has been hijacked and abused for the sole purpose of describing and hocking other non-wine related items, it is rather meaningless and can pretty much be used the way anyone wishes. The use of the word vintage most often says the owner doesn't know anything about an item.
To use the word correctly, as with wine, it must be used with a year. As in:
My car is vintage 1996.
My computer is vintage 2010.
This WWII uniform item is vintage 1943.
Since I don't know the exact year the china was produced (sometime between 1965 and 1970, I'd wager), I can't correctly identify this as 'vintage 1965 china.'
In common use the undated term describes something that is old enough to be in fashion again. Thus since 1970's styles are in fashion again, they are 'vintage.' 1980's styles haven't yet been resuscitated; all they are is 'out of date.' At this point they haven't made it to the 'vintage' category. Put simply, a vintage item is defined as having an enduring appeal.
So, if I were to apply the term in common use, I could say I've got some pretty amazing vintage china.
I also wondered what the difference is between vintage and antique? From Wikipedia: An antique is an old collectible item. It is collected or desirable because of its age, rarity, condition, utility, or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era in human society.
Antiques are usually objects which show some degree of craftsmanship, or a certain attention to design such as a desk or the early automobile. They are bought at antique shops, or passed down as an estate. Some valuable antiques can be bought from antique dealers and auction services or purchased online through websites and online auctions.
The definition of antique varies from source to source, product to product, and year to year. However, some time-tested definitions of antique deserve consideration, such as the following:
1. An item which is at least 50 to 100 years old and is collected or desirable due to rarity, condition, utility, or some other unique feature. Motor vehicles, power tools and other items subject to vigorous use in contrast, may be considered antiques in the U.S. if older than 25 years, and some electronic gadgets of more recent vintage may be considered antiques.
2. Any piece of furniture or decorative object or the like produced in a former period and valuable because of its beauty or rarity.
The definition of antique is rather broad. Based upon the second part of the definition, valuable because of its beauty definitely applies here. If nothing else, in a few more years, my china will definitely be antique.
Though vintage or antique leave room for question, the term heirloom is a perfect fit. Indeed, my china is a valued possession passed down in a family through succeeding generations.
I'm not much of a fan of vintage or antique because so often pieces are missing and irreplaceable. I love to have a complete and matching set. I've been Googling and found Replacements, Ltd., whose motto is, We replace the irreplaceable!® I'm excited to report that they have lots of pieces for my china set. At the very least, I can get one more cereal bowl to complete my eight-piece set. I'm considering expanding the set to twelve settings and there are a few serving pieces I'd like to add, like the gravy boat with attached underplate, one or two more oval serving platters and the round covered serving dish. I've also admired the coffee pot with lid and the creamer and sugar bowl, although we don't drink coffee. Perhaps I can find a salt and pepper shaker as well. There are some pretty amazing possibilities here. This is definitely vintage I can do!