Monday, January 11, 2010

The Broken Cup

When we were married in 1986, I received formal Mikasa china service for 12 plus serving dishes and coordinating flatware. Do brides even register for formal china any more? My set was provided by my grandmothers.
On December 31, 1986 we had a New Year's Eve party mostly for a reason to use our Mikasa china. Certainly it wasn't because I wanted a bunch of people to hang around until after midnight. I was all of 19 years 8 months old. That's my excuse.
After the guests had left I was hand washing my formal ware being that I did not have a dishwasher. There lined up on my counter shining and beautiful were 12 crystal goblets, 12 dinner dishes, 12 dessert plates, 12 saucers, 11 coffee cups...
11 coffee cups?
I poked around looking for the missing cup. What in the world? Then I looked in the trash can. There, under some wadded up napkins was coffee cup number 12. Broken.
I ran through the list of people who I knew to be coffee drinkers and figured out who I believed the culprit to be. I still believe I fingered the right perp. And I was kind of ticked. Pretty ticked.
Angry enough to stand in my kitchen and cry and cry and cry.
Cry because my wedding set that was only 2 months old was no longer perfect. Cry because I felt betrayed that someone close to me had hidden my broken cup instead of just telling me they'd broken it. And here's the part where I use my tender young age as an excuse; I thought that the coffee cup breaker should buy me a new Mikasa Wedding Band Gold coffee cup. I don't remember how much the cup cost but I remember quite clearly that I couldn't afford it and the Mr. certainly couldn't see the reason for such an expense being that he never understood the need for formal china in the first place.
The other day the Mr. brought our boxes of formal china in from the garage and put them away in the new old kitchen. Service for 12 if only 11 want coffee.
I could afford to buy that 12th china cup now. I just might, in fact, do that. I googled it, $13.99 for cup and saucer.
But I wish I'd hung on to that broken cup. Just for myself. Just so 23 years later I could learn its lesson.
Let me never be someone from whom others fear to ask forgiveness. Let me, in fact, give it without the asking.


Mrs. Mac said...

A nice lesson to be reminded of all these years later ... good story to share.

Constance said...

I think formal china is one of those luxuries that really aren't practical. When my daughters were registering for gifts, I told them to focus on the practical things that they'd be needing, toasters, knives, everyday dishes and so on. None of our friends and family were so rich and so numerous that they'd be getting china place settings as gifts. even if they had, there would've been NO place to put it out given they were living in teeny, tiny apartments!

Dave and I have a full China service and I can not even remember the last time I used it! It has sat neatly displayed in the china cabinet and has become decor. After I packed up all the Christmas China, which actually DOES get used (I don't know why it does and the other doesn't) I decided to redo the china cabinet. I only left out the tea service and a platter, the rest is stored in the buffet. In place of all the other dishes I now have some of my pretty pink depression ware, relish trays, candy dishes and other nice serving pieces. It's easier to get to then being stored in the kitchen cabinets and squirreled away behind stuff just so it will fit. Eventually I will probably give awau the china but not a one of my girls has expressed an interest, I guess I taught them well!

Margie said...

seriously, I wish I had formal china.

And just make sure I'm guest 12, i don't drink coffee.

Jada's Gigi said...

I like would like formal china and even use it occasionally but don't have any at the moment as mine is pretty broken up from many moves...still your point is well taken...things are never as important as people.