For my birthday back in March, when we still lived in PA, Mike said that once we were in California we could buy a china hutch as my gift. And today we finally have a hutch in our dining room (aka breakfast nook).
This is a big deal because I've been "collecting" my china for the last 4 years. My mother decided one afternoon that she would take me to Macy's and I would pick my pattern and she would buy me one place setting to start my collection. Her mother did the same for her and so on, it's a tradition thing. Some people might think it's odd that a single, 23 year old girl would begin a fine bone china collection but a) I like pretty things and b) I wasn't going to stop my mother from buying me something. So, we headed to the Columbia Center Mall in Kennewick, WA to visit the housewares department at Macy's. We browsed the well lit displays of place settings- Vera Wang, Kate Spade, Lenox, Villeroy & Boch, Noritake, Waterford, Wedgewood... all the big names were present. I landed on a setting called Opal Innocence by Lenox. I typicaly go for bold, colorful, ethnic looking pieces and patterns in my home decor. But for my fine china, a potential family heirloom and holiday place setting, it would need to be timeless and seasonless. And because a china collection is such an innately feminine thing, I felt safely compelled to go for a rather girly and frilly patter.
I just loved it and still do!
As I had made my decision a sales lady asked if we needed any help. My mother spoke up "Ah yes please. We'd like one place setting of this Lenox Opal Innocense"
"Of course, no problem, come on over and sit down" we sat at the desk in the middle of the display area which was just across from the bath towels and shower curtains. "And who is the registry under?" said the seasoned and piano teacher-esque sales woman.
"There is no registry. We just want to buy one place setting."
"Oh! So you need to start your registry. Who is the bride?"
"There is no bride, no registry, I just want to buy my daughter this one place setting to get her collection started"
"That's unusual, I've never heard of that. Let me check with my manager"
After a few moments of hushed whispers and confused glances by spinsterly old ladies over by the "every day" china section, our sales woman came back.
"Okay, one place setting for you......So, what are you planning to do with this? Reheat meatloaf on it?"
I think my mother and I just politely laughed at that point.
I walked out of Macy's that day feeling like a young woman of the victorian era fighting for women's sufferage. Really? Was I really bucking the system so much here? It was my mom's idea anyway. Whatever. That lady needs a life.
A year later I was living back in PA where I saw a Macy's Memorial Day Sale ad in the paper. My Opal Innocsense pattern was super mega on sale! I called my mom to let her know "just incase" she was thinking of buying me any more. A day or so later my mom called me back.
"Kels, you're never going to believe this. I went into Macy's to get your china. I asked the sales woman for two place settings. She proceeded to asked me which registry this was under, just like last time. I started explaining to her that I was just buying this for my daughter and there was no bridal registry and she goes...'Oh I remember you, she's still not married?' can you beleive that woman!?"
My mom and I were totally floored.
So needless to say, I'm a bit...whats the word...defensive when it comes to my china. The whole process of me coming to own any at all was a battle so I feel the need to justify why I have it. Now that I am married and have all 10 place settings, it's high time I put it on display proudly. So this gorgeous hutch and all my china in it is sort of my big middle finger to that sales lady. (I mean, between the meat loaf and the still not married comments, she deserves at least that).