Behold my tarnished teapot, and then scroll down for the rest of the story.
Those of you who follow my Facebook know that I woke up grumpy on Tuesday, but decided I would have an amazing day, and then was practically given this tea set:
I asked the guy if the 6.99 cup and the 6.99 saucer meant the 2 pieces together were 6.99 and he said yes. I told him I wanted one and he walked over to the “precious” cabinet to get it for me. He looked at the shelf and he looked at me. And he said, “This is a whole set. I can’t break it. It’s 49.99.” “For all of it?” I squeaked. “Yes.” “I’ll take it.” And then I might have jumped up and down a few times. It’s Johnson Brothers Strawberry Fair, and the server alone was marked 49.99. The charger 24.99, and each little piece 6.99. All told, that’s about 250 bucks worth of Salvation Army-priced merchandise. I’ll let you go to eBay like I did to determine the real market value. P.S. No, I am not going to pay 400+ dollars for the matching tea pot.
Oh, and I had looked at this set when I went with all the kids last Thursday, but did a rapid calculation and didn’t even ask about it. Clearly, this set was meant to be mine. Amazing, no?
Then, we went on the Goodwill as planned. We found a lovely china teapot and checked out. As I was paying, I looked across the store and saw some breakable things on a set of shelves hidden behind a rack of clothes. I told Jasmine to finish up and walked over to look. One of the things on that shelf was the set you see to the left in the picture above. No maker’s mark, just Made in Japan, but it’s fine enough that if you look through the cup from the inside, you can see the painting on the outside. Twelve cups, twelve saucers, marked 12 bucks for the lot.
So then, I have been thinking that I need a pot that vaguely matches these two tea sets. But then, I was thinking “but I haven’t paid full price for anything so far, why start now?” And then I decided to get off the internet and clean the living room. And as I was clearing the candy wrappers off the end table where Mother’s Silver Tea Service was sitting, I said, “Oh.” And then I took it into the kitchen to wash it up. This set belonged to my once-Mother-in-Law. When she and Dad downsized to an apartment, I was asked if there was anything I wanted from her house. I asked for a ceramic kewpie doll, and this tea service. I’ve had it for….many years. More than 15, maybe as long as 20.
And you know, I know it has a patina. It had one when it was given to me, and it is beautiful to me just like it is. I could polish it up and it would be shiny. But that verdigris has character. That oxidation has taken this teapot from something I have to take care of to something I can use to bring me, my children, and my guests joy. And it is worthy to be used with my best tea things.
Now, I need a china cabinet. They had those at Goodwill, too, and really cheap, but I currently lack the man-power to get one up the stairs. Currently.