Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Worn and Loved

Isn't this beautiful.  It’s a vintage green and gold, Imperial Crown China tea set.  I thought it was gorgeous the minute I set eyes on it!

What really drew me to it was the fact that the gilding around the saucers is worn - this set has been well used and loved.


I wondered about who might have owned it. 
Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin my wee story …

Jean and Jimmy married right after the end of the war.  The tea set was a present from Jean's Aunt Maggie who had married well and thought herself a bit above the rest of the family.  Jean loved the tea set and kept it for "Sunday best".  Each Sunday evening, Jimmy would make Jean a wee cuppa as they sat listening to the wireless, she knitting while he completed his crossword.  Before bed, Jimmy would carefully rinse out the china cups and replace them in the cupboard.  Occasionally they talked about the little matinee jackets Jean knit for her nephews and nieces and hoped that one day they, too, would be blessed with a family. 

Fifteen years later, their first and only child, a son they named David, was born.  Their quiet Sunday night ritual was replaced with the usual rush surrounding David's bedtime and getting organised for the week ahead.  The wedding china was replaced with something a bit more robust.

David was a clever boy, and all too soon, he left for university down south.  On their first Sunday night without him, Jimmy quietly made Jean a wee cup of tea in her favourite china to try to comfort her - she missed the bustle of family life so much.  Slowly they settled into their new routine - Jimmy still did his Sunday crossword and Jean sat knitting - they joked that one day, perhaps they would have grandchildren.  And they did - David married Christine, a girl he met at university and once they had graduated, they emigrated abroad.  They had four children, three boys and a girl - Jimmy and Jean doted on them and visited as often as they could afford to.  David rarely returned to Scotland.

But every Sunday night, year after year, they had their cup of tea from the wedding china and they reminisced about the old days and their hopes for their grandchildren.  They died as they had lived, quietly and without fuss, within a month of each other.  David returned for the funerals and took back with him some family photos and a few bits and pieces that he thought might be valuable.  He sent the "old fashioned tat" to the charity shop.

One day, a woman named Liz was rummaging around the charity shop when she spotted a gorgeous vintage tea set and it cost only a few pounds.  Her heart melted a bit when she saw that it was worn - each cup and saucer had been used and loved.  This little tea set had not just been placed in a china cabinet to be looked at - it had been lovingly cared for.  She bought it.

On Sunday night, Liz made herself a cup of tea and used a cup and saucer from the set.  As she sat with her crochet, sipping her tea, she wondered about the people who had cherished it before her.


Do you ever wonder?

Love, Liz

29 comments:

Alix said...

A sweet tea set - I have a similar one tucked away! I'm a bit damp eyed having read the story...God bless all the Jeans and Jimmys of this world.
x

Tylsä Mörökölli said...

Very beautiful set and stillife :)Nice story.

delia hornbook said...

aahhh my pesky hormones what a beautiful story im sat here its 8am in the morning and the tears are rolling down my face its a good job the boys are still asleep in bed they would think something was wrong. I feel just the same as you do when i buy something i love the fact that someone before me treasured and loved it that is the beauty and the charm and if its worn even better each peice tells a story. I loved your story enjoy your beautiful china you have created you own memory with it now, dee xx

VintageVicki said...

Lovely :)

Liz said...

Aw - thanks for your comments. Glad you like my wee story. Its sometimes sad to think how well loved items must have one been, but at least we're keeping them from being thrown away as rubbish!
Liz

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Lovely story, Liz.

Isobel said...

Lovely tea set and what a sweet story!! :)
xx

Bee happy said...

Great post sweetie, just love the tea set it has a gorgeous pattern and colours :)

Bee happy x
Have a delicious day!

Hello Vintage said...

I often wonder where things I find came from. These are gorgeous.

Protector of Vintage said...

Charming story...pretty china!!

Kylie said...

Lovely story and tea set to match Liz. I love your new header. Are you going to keep writing little stories like this one? I always ponder over the previous owners of treaures I've found...

My Vintage Mending said...

The color and the scroll work are stunning...and yes I always wonder. I think your story is spot on...smiles...Renee

Rachael said...

I love the new header! I too have a thing for the worn out ones in my compact collection. While I love getting the ones that look brand new, I can look at the ones with a little wear and tear and know they were well loved and used like they should have being. They might not be in the best conditions, or be the most collectible but I like to think i'm giving them a second chance and a new home were they will be much loved.

Vintage Jane said...

Oh Liz, what a lovely story ... could easily be true ... Every time another 'treasure' passes through my hands I wonder who owned it and what life it has seen. M x

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Liz, I adore your story..how sweet. the tea set is gorgeous.

Laura said...

Love the tea set and love story too!

Laura
http://lauraisthriftingthroughlife.blogspot.com/

Mum said...

Whoa - thank you for a lovely story. If only our treasures could talk!
Love from Mum
xx
PS You are the perfect host for our tea room at the VSF. See you there!
xx

Maria Andrade said...

Hi Liz,
I loved your imaginative story!
This set is really beautiful in that acqua green!
I also find used things full of interest and sometimes wonder about their previous owners...
I hadn´t heard of you for some time so now I decided to be your newest follower.
And,you know, next week I'll be in Scotland on a trip with students of a senior university where I teach English. :)
Greetings from Portugal

Jo said...

What a stunning little set. I love the colour, pattern and gilding. I think we need to get together and have a china party!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

A Sweet set, and a very sweet story. The pattern really is beautiful. I'm so glad you rescued it.

ted and bunny said...

oh I wonder all the time, its what makes you love the pieces all the more!
Enjoy!
xx

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

It's beautiful, and I love your story. It could very easily be true.

vintage grey said...

Hi Liz! What a beautiful tea set! I love the story behind it! :) The history of vintage treasures makes it always worth buying and having it in my home to cherish and bring it back to life! I have a pair of vintage cat eye glasses thatt I wear everyday, and I always wonder what beautiful lady wore these, and who she was! :) Thanks for sharing, and I am your newest follower! xo Heather

Fading Grace said...

That was such a lovely story,,thank you :-) I never stop wondering either x

bellaboo said...

Thank you for your good wishes...I'm much better now thanks.
That is what I love about all my vintage items,thinking about the people who have owned them before and the stories they could tell.
Love your sweet story and your beautiful china! :0)

OhSoVintage said...

Oh I loved this, I thought you were going to say that you were one of the grandchildren. I always wonder about the history of things I come across and am thrilled when I do know and can pass this provenance on to a buyer.

miz-bag said...

every thing in my house is vintage and i often think of the people before me who have loved and cherished the items x x

Mrs. Sutton said...

What a wonderful story - brought a tear to my eye, and what delightful teacups - absolutely beautiful.

blackenpot said...

The tea set is beautiful as is the story.

Thank you for sharing