Blue plates and olives now just memories
Published 8:09 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Most young people wouldn't know what you meant if you said Wedgwood dishes.
To me they recall blue plates with a cream design on the scalloped edge.
It wasn't at my house where we ate off of Wedgwood plates, it was my girl friend's who lived around the block.
This was back in the days when mealtime meant coming home and getting cleaned up to sit down at the dinner table with your family - at the same time each night.
My friend's father made his two girls change into dresses.
Real linen tablecloths were used and usually fresh flowers from their garden brightened the center.
Eating there was a special treat. There were tastes I wasn't familiar with like real mayonnaise, instead of Miracle Whip.
The Sullivans always used real butter too. Every dinner was a special occasion of sharing not only food, but also conservation.
Kathy's grandmother who was in her 90s, who lived with them, to the older brother in college and the youngest son, would all contribute. They would tell what they had done in school or the grandmother would offer suggestions on their term papers, which she proofread.
Holidays there were also marked with special foods. For Christmas there was always the ice cream slices which each had a holiday design on the inside, like a tree or Santa.
I was too young to realize what a great cook the mother was. I just know I would trade my packed lunch any day for Kathy's.
Often we would play in the basement, near their fully stocked pantry.
Our raiding of jars of cherries and olives wasn't found out until the time came when they were needed in a recipe. Then we were in trouble.
Years later, when she was in her 70s, Kay, it is still hard for me to call her Kay instead of Mrs. Sullivan, would start a business.
Taken from her love of cooking, not to be intimidated by the computer age, she began to seek out and find vintage and hard to find cookbooks for customers online.
Kay's Kookbooks brought her new friends around the world.
Kay and her husband George used to come to Michigan from near Chicago when berries were in season - any kind of berry. Their car filled with fruit, they would go home to put up their bounty.
We buried Kay last week. She died just a few days after they had celebrated their 64th anniversary.
My friend Kathy, their youngest daughter, had died seven years before.
We get different things from different people. From the Sullivans I learned the pleasure of setting a nice table.
I remember my rehearsal dinner which they hosted at their house with the beautiful Wedgwood plates and delicious beef stroganoff.
I learned I could always count on being remembered each Christmas, when they hung a large round sugar cookie on a tree with ribbon and my name in frosting. From them I learned I was special to a family other than my own.
From this couple, I learned that age has no barriers. George even learned to do cross stitch, recovering their dining room chairs and making stockings for each of their grandchildren.
I learned the importance of devotion to your church and community, as they were givers of their time and talents, to my high school and college.
I also have an example of lasting love. I have a new memory now, that of George, almost 90, singing to his bride with his hand on her casket, her favorite song from Showboat, as we left the church.