The Good China

When I was a girl, young ladies still filled hope chests. Cedar closets were filled with embroidered pillowcases, hemmed table runners, sheets, linens and china enough to lay places for a large family.china in cabinet

My hopes were filled early—I married young.  My parents gifted us with china – service for twelve—beautiful Noritake china.  The first few holidays of our married life we traveled to our parents’ homes – there wasn’t much chance to use the lovely china.  Occasionally, I set a table for two, and we dined in style, but honestly, our life then was busy and unsettled, our interests ran to jobs and career, and our meals were simple.

After a few years, we had added children to the mix.  Holidays were more often spent at home, with the simplicity of disposable tableware, or the heft of everyday earthenware.  The good china was put on a top shelf, away from small fingers and accidents.The Good China -- GCG

And more time passed.  The children grew up and occasionally, the wedding china was used for holiday meals.  The family Thanksgiving meal was cooked and served at our house—but there were so many people that, once again, disposable plates were used.  It was easier. It seems there were lots of excuses.

And now.  I have used the china cups and saucers for a benefit tea at our library.  I used the cake plates to serve dessert to my Book Club.  The entire set of good china has not graced our dining room table in many, many years.  More excuses—the grandchildren are too little; there will just be the two of us; it’s too much trouble.

I have been thinking about traditions lately.  I have remembered family Sunday dinners served on delicate china plates that rested on white linen tablecloths.  What else I remember from those days is the sense of family respect.  Grandfather might expound on the politics of the day—we children listened.  When Aunt Eda stood to clear the table, we smaller girls helped.  We waited to begin eating until everyone was seated; we asked to be excused before leaving the table.  There were helpings of “thank you”, second helpings of “you’re welcome”, and “please pass…”. And the bowls we passed, carefully, were china bowls. It almost seems that using the delicate dishes caused us to slow down and be a bit more thoughtful.

closeup china-GCG Easter Sunday is nearly here.  I’m not sure how many family members will descend upon our homestead for dinner, but there will be some.  They will be greeted by the fragrant scents wafting from the kitchen, and in the dining room—the table will be covered with a linen cloth, and the plates and serving pieces will be china.  The good china. The Good China--GreenCircleGrove

No matter the age or number of people at the table, my family is worth the trouble.  I believe, this year when I do the spring cleaning, I will move the dishes to the bottom shelf.


This post is shared with The HomeAcre Hop.


  1. Good for you Meredith! My grandmother used her good china everyday and she asked me just once about my “good” china and why I never used it. I told her I saved it for special occasions and for when we had guests. She then looked at me and said, “Who is a more special guest than your own family?” Needless to say, I changed my way of thinking and we use and enjoy our good china on a daily basis 🙂

  2. Use that china Meredith! Enjoy it and if I piece chips or breaks, you can make something from the broken pieces. After all, you can’t enjoy what is packed away in a safe spot. I hope you enjoy your family and a splendid Easter dinner on Sunday. ps. I don’t use my china mostly because my taste has changed and I don’t love it. I hope to give it to one of my children one day, IF they love it.

    • Meredith/GreenCircleGrove says:

      Thank you, Janet–I hope your holiday is full of joy, too. Tastes do change, for sure. My sister in law bought, at a yard sale, a complete set of Spode china that didn’t fit in with the life of the seller anymore. She uses it everyday and loves, loves, loves it. If your children don’t feel that way–maybe a grandbaby –or maybe someone entirely different will enjoy it.

  3. I’ve always liked to see a table set with formal china. I feel bad that I don’t use mine more often. I have a set of Lennox Eternal that my mother started for me before I got married. Hope you all have a happy Easter dinner.

    • Meredith/GreenCircleGrove says:

      Thank you, Jenny. Maybe next time your family visits, you can set the table with the china! Hope your holiday is happy.

  4. Reading this was like a gift! I have an old quit on my bed – it is past its prime, but still serves as a heavy top for my bed clothes. My china came from my great aunt on my mother’s side. It is missing several pieces and is not a complete set, but I LOVE it! I use it as often as I can.

    I can so relate to the top shelf/bottom shelf aspect.

    And Janet is right, if you break something, it is well worth it! Also, there are companies like Replacements, Ltd. that find pieces for you – they are here in NC.

    Love, love, love this post!!

    Happy Easter to a dear friend and her entire family, who is very blessed to have her!

    • Meredith/GreenCircleGrove says:

      What a special response! Thank you for sharing–and did you know that I, too, have a heavy old quilt on top of my bed clothes! It’s seen better days, for sure, but it’s just so warm and “homey”.
      Thank you, my friend–blessings to you and yours.

  5. The Imperfect Homemaker decided that she was going to use her china (she has at least a half dozen children), and she said that while some pieces were cracked or missing, that they joy of using her china was far greater than the angst that it might be imperfect 🙂

    • Meredith/GreenCircleGrove says:

      That’s lovely! I think it’s the fear of chips or cracks that’s kept me from the joy of use. No more! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  6. Meredith thank you for linking this post up to our hop.

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