At different points during my childhood, when holidays would roll around, or we would have family gatherings that were more significant than our every-day events, we would have the special occasion to bring out the china. If company were coming, my mother would pull out the Japanese china set that was left to her by my great-grandmother. Easter dinner at my grandparents' house always called for my grandmother's pastel floral Mikasa set. I loved these times, and eating from these dishes always made me feel quite grown up and ladylike. I looked forward with eagerness to the time when I would get married and pick out my formal dinnerware.
I had always assumed that I would go to college, graduate, and get married. Of course, things usually don't go exactly as planned. Towards the end of my college days, with no marriage prospects on the horizon, I began to see that my life's schedule was not going to be as on target as I had planned. No getting married right out of college, no setting up house for my new family unit, no picking out a beautiful china pattern....
Wait a minute...
Who was is that decided that you couldn't begin collecting your china until you got married? Really, it is just the way things are done, it's the traditional way. I didn't have any clue if I'd ever get married, but I decided that didn't need to stand in the way of having a formal china set of my own.
And, of course, it all started with a tea set.
In my quest to choose the perfect pattern, after leafing through tons of glossy sales magazines and scouring the internet, I landed on Royal Doulton's Old Country Roses. I know, I know, not very original, but keep in mind that, in the beginning, my search was for a tea set, and they make anything you could possibly want for a tea set in this pattern. The variety of pieces available, and the fact that I felt pretty confident that the pattern wouldn't be discontinued in the near future, really helped make the decision easy for me.
That Christmas, my grandfather gifted me with my very first china tea pot.
From there, the collection has grown modestly. In the beginning, I had concluded that I would choose a different pattern for my dinnerware and leave the OCR to the tea set, but my aunt convinced me that it made more sense to stick with the same pattern.
The last time I pulled out my china was for a Christmas Tea for a small group of family and friends. Oh, what wonderful memories center around a beautiful place setting, a steaming cup of tea, and warm conversation with those you love.