This is the little Blue Willow teaset which I got from Santa when I was six. I had many a lovely teaparty with the little dishes---Pot, C&S, Tray, four each cups, saucers, little plates.
And every single piece has survived, possibly due to the dishes' long incarceration in a little blue box, wrapped in bits of newspaper from the Sixties. And after I'd left for college, married, and had children of my own, I continued to ask if anyone had any clue what had happened to my dishes, but no one could remember.
Mother said that we'd probably given them to my younger cousin---who signs in as Anonymous, and then signs her sweet messages with "Maggie." So I gave up on ever finding my childhood treasure.
THEN---as I've related in another post back in the past year, I was cleaning out the huge cedar closet in their Master Bedroom, after Daddy had sold our family home. I reached up onto the big deep shelf amongst shoeboxes and albums and hats, felt the heft and weight of my own little stationery box with the hearts and birds on the lid, and there was my teaset. I sat down in the floor, amongst the dangling ties and pants legs, beneath that bright 100-watt bulb, and cried for the finding, for the loss, for the day, for all the feelings and emotions involved in such a momentous undertaking and change.
I gently unwrapped each small piece, thinking that perhaps time and handling might have done some damage, but not a single chip, not a single missing handle or spout.
They sit now on the ledge of the old linen-press from the room in my parents' house that we called "Mammaw's Room" for the Grandmother who lived with us for part of every year. And now that we're here, the furniture inhabits what we continue to call "Daddy's Room," long years after he's passed away.
And see the slightly-taller cup hovering there in the back, just above the knob of the teapot lid? That cup and saucer, child-sized instead of the doll-size originals, was a Christmas gift from Caro before the set was found---she presented it beautifully wrapped, with a little note saying, "You have to start somewhere."
Having never seen the originals, she had no idea what size they really were. And she intended to continue the collection from time to time---but then came the happy reunion with my own dear pieces.
So, they all sit there in the hazy sunlight through the white curtains, keeping company with the furniture from the house which was their home for so many years. And I've never washed the set from that day to this---I give it a nice wipedown with a Windexed paper towel now and then, but not inside. I cannot bear to erase the faint traces of the childhood dolltea still visible in those tiny cups.