Nothing registers the passage of time more than realizing everything one owns is not only no longer au current, but discontinued. This evening it occurred to me that I was drinking wine from a discontinued Royal Brierley York goblet, and eating dinner from a discontinued Spode Chinese Rose salad plate with a discontinued Wallace French Shell fork. I purchased the newest items, the York crystal and Spode, during a period of “spite shopping” in 1992 when my former spouse left me in Hong Kong for a period of time with no money in the bank. I used credit cards to take my friends from the American Womens Club out to lunch or dinner in exchange for cash. I also treated myself to some pretty dishes and crystal thanks to the “generosity” of Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Wow! 1992! Where did the years go?
I’ve been using the same Wallace French Shell stainless flatware daily since 1985. The pattern was classic at the time, more than $60 per place setting, and heavy weight Japanese quality. The French Shell has accompanied me on all of my moves from Indianapolis to Dallas to Taipei to Hong Kong to Lewes, Delaware to Frederick, Maryland and finally Winchester, Virginia. A few years ago I noticed that we were missing a couple of spoons, a dinner fork and a dinner knife. I found that Replacements, Ltd. carried some pieces of the pattern and ordered replacements for the missing items - only to discover upon delivery that this was a different, substandard, larger sized French Shell manufactured in China. The pieces didn’t remotely resemble my set. And the weight was feather weight. When I called I was told that it is impossible to find the Japanese made French Shell. I sent the items back and began to understand that everything I owned was pasts its prime~ not quite antique, but certainly discontinued.
Royal Brierley was established in 1776 during the reign of King George III. As an American, I was intrigued by an English company that was founded the year the American colonies declared Independence from England and started a revolution. Unlike many fine crystal patterns that appear solid and almost squared, Royal Brierley York was all delicate curves. I longed to sip champagne from the elegantly curved, cut glass flute.So, in my spiteful mood, I bought 6 champagne flutes. During visits to the Reject China Shop and the HArrod’s seconds in London, I managed to complete my crystal wardrobe. I still caress the flute when I sip sparkling wine today. While Royal Brierley is still a brand in 2018, the company was absorbed by Darlington. York was long ago discontinued. But occasionally I can find a treasure on eBay from somebody who has no idea. Just today I nabbed 2 champagne flutes for $15.49!
The history of the Spode Chinese Rose dinnerware pattern intrigued me. My Chinese Rose is a reproduction of an 1816 Copeland-Spode pattern. My family named is Copeland. My father’s ancestors arrived from England in 1635. The historical family connection called to me. It is with some regularity that I turn over a piece, looked at the Copeland-Spode 1816 stamp, and feel part of the history. I’ve been fortunate to find pieces on eBay from England, Australia and the USA to replace serving pieces or bits that I’ve broken. But I use it everyday and have done so for at least 20 years. I don’t “save” things I love for special occasions. Life is short and every minute is a special occasion.
Ultimately, I feel a sense of satisfaction that I’ve been able to enjoy, everyday, these things that bring me joy. Why shouldn’t I feel delight eating my morning cereal from a beautiful bowl?