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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old Tea Pots and Young Hands

Last Tuesday, I wrote a post about my very casual
teapot collection, housed in a cupboard in our
Parlor.  I mentioned that probably the only tea pot
of any value is the cobalt and gilt Meissen.

That Hummel is the closest I'll ever get to a maid.

A reader left a lovely comment on last Tuesday's post,
about "peeking" into the Parlor cupboard:

". . . I do love peeking into cupboards , especially when filled with such delightful teatime treasures...I spied your Meissen immediately ... but of course one never really uses the expensive ones since it's always a worry that they'll get broken or cracked ..... So, " happy", is the cupboard filled with flea market china that have stories to tell."

Well, Zaa, you are partly right.  Any cupboard filled with
flea market treasures does have loads of stories to share.
But in this case, so does the Meissen tea pot!
The Meissen's in the middle, all snazzy with 19th century bling.
The Meissen tea pot was a gift to me from my in-laws.
They have found some of my favorite treasures, including this one.

 I have never drunk tea out of this pot.
But my daughters, and a number of their friends, have.
'Way back when. . . .
Remember, Moms, those elementary school days, when picking up
your own kids after school often meant someone else's
offspring was in the car and coming home to play?

Girls being girls no matter what the era,
playing often meant a tea party.

At our house, that meant real tea, real cookies, and real china.
In the dining room.
In our living room was a big old open stepback cupboard 
(it's now in our kitchen), and it was chock full of tea pots.

 The girls were allowed to choose their tea pots, with guests
getting first choice, of course, and no tea pot was off limits.
This was often quite a time-consuming process,
especially for newbies to the tea party ritual.
The tea pot had to be just right!

The Meissen was probably the most popular choice, followed by
our tea pot from Windsor Castle, the one with Queen Elizabeth:

And the Armada on the lid! 

Cookies were usually quite plain, because some tea cups
looked like this before the hot tea was poured in:
Ack!  Sugar!

The Meissen pot got a workout in the late 1990s.
Visiting little girls were quite awestruck by its gold-ness, and some
even questioned my wisdom in letting them use it.

"I trust you to be careful," I would tell them.
"What if I break it?  You'll be mad."
"No, I won't be mad.  I'll know it was an accident, and
we all make mistakes sometimes."

It's funny.  I hadn't thought about those tea parties in a long time,
until a reader commented about not using expensive things.

If these snazzy Japanese tea cups had been in my possession
'way back in my girls' school days, they would have been a hot item.
Haha . . . my fingers are reflected in the cup.  Holy moly -- they look like knockwursts!
These cups, a set of 6, came home with me from the Far Hills Visiting Nurses Association
Rummage Sale
, which is the world's best sale ever.  No lie.  And it's this weekend.  Look it up!

Although they, too, would probably have looked like this
at Tea Time!

So the Meissen tea pot rarely had a chance to get dusty,
and served up dozens and dozens of cups of tea,
poured very carefully by chubby little girl hands

I wonder if it misses those days, stuck now on a shelf
where no little girl takes it down, grasps it in a death grip,
and carefully walks into the kitchen with it.

I know I do. -- Cass

Ah, Gretchen is cleaning up.
But do I spy her sweeping the crumbs under the lacy napkins?
Shame, shame.  No extra porridge for you, my girl!

Link Parties!
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage, and Tea Time Tuesday.  Click here!
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life -- it's Tabletop Tuesday.  Click here!
At Linda's Coastal Charm blog, it's Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays Click here!
Terri at Artful Affirmations is hosting Tea Cup Tuesday.  Click here!


  1. Hello Cass,
    I am delighted to visit you and read your lovely post! I am totally in agreement with you....beautiful china was meant to be used and shared every day. I just sent my daughter off to university with two stunning tea I hope they come back whole? Yes! But if they don't, I know it doesn't matter as much as the memories she will have from using them. She has a "tea" friend at school and they get together each week for tea! (loose tea at that!). Amazing!
    All your tea pots are amazing to me. The Meissen tea pot is truly a treasure, but your stories and memories are worth so much more! And I know that a Meissen tea pot in good shape is worth plenty!
    Beautiful tea cups too, the vintage English and the Japanese cups, I am loving them!

  2. What beautiful tea pots! I enjoyed looking at your pictures and reading your post. I have had my share of broken tea cups (unfortunately), but lovely china should be used for creating memories :)

    Blessings to you,

  3. What a delightful post, Cass! I do love that Meissen teapot and the Japanese teacups are gorgeous too! I'm sure the girls appreciated you letting them use the teapot. The Windsor Castle teapot is quite unique.
    I do try to use all of my teapots and perchance you should show up on my doorstep, you can take your pick.
    Your little Gretchen is so cute even if she is sweeping the crumbs under the napkin! I do love hummels too. Thanks for joining me for tea today and I always enjoy a smile or two. Thanks for those as well. Have a wonderful week.


  4. Cass -- I believe in using things too -- good things -- thrift things. Some get used more than others but . . . if you don't use it why have it!!!! I went through too many relatives estates and found so many things that were "saved for good" or "saved for later" -- that alas, NEVER got used (and a lot in the original packaging if it was new!). So my theory is use what you have and if it gets broken . . . then it gets broken.

    You have many good memories because you let your children "play" with your teapots -- the children have many good memories too! I wonder how many of those little girls go to antique shops and look for a teapot such as your Meissen that bring back memories of childhood!

  5. Cass, this could be one of my favorite posts of yours --ever--. It says so much and is filled with humor, and of course I love a good tea party using good things, yes with little girls and big girls. And your last photo with your little maid -- priceless! I hope you print your blog so your progeny can enjoy it! :-)

  6. What a great story! And I checked out the rummage sale....hmmmm...wonder how far away from us that is?

  7. How wonderful to meet you and your wonderful teapots. I keep encouraging folks to use their treasures. Good for you! Sounds like you need to bring your own friends over now.

  8. I loved your post today. Of course, seeing all your tea-pots and cups and saucers was a thrill but I love the story you told. It could have been a Disney movie where the tea-pots would come to life and yearn for the days when they were useful. I hope I can be just as free-spirited about my tea things when my grand-daughter, now 2, wants to have a 'real' tea-party. Right now we play with her own set of miniature tea pots and cups. I'm working on her....another future tea-lover.

  9. Very nice, thanks for the information.

  10. Dear Cass,
    What a great story. You created memories for your children and their friends too. I bet they haven't forgotten how special and grown-up and trustworthy they were to be able to choose and handle their own teapot. Very smart and generous of you. The experiences they had were more important and lasting than worry about something breaking.
    Feathers in your cap!
    Come and visit Lady B and me, Ruthie

  11. Cass, I love this post. What a lovely idea to share your beautiful teapots and cups with little girls for after school tea. I sure they have great memories of those moments. The Meissen is gorgeous as are the blue and white teacups. Gretchen is doing a great job and deserves an extra lump of sugar in her tea don't you think? Pamela

  12. This was a lovely post...I don't believe in "not using" treasures either...My Mother felt that way, and when we "broke up" their household things, we found her gifts from their 50th wedding anniversary party, still with the tags of gifters on them and put away, never used and this was 10+ years later. I vow never to do that...I'm going to enjoy my "stuff".
    Mama Bear

  13. Mom, thanks for the wonderful reminder of the tea parties we had as kids. You were definitely the best, coolest Mom around, letting us have REAL tea parties with the REAL china!

    Would you like to have some tea with me from the Meissen pot (or the Queen Elizabeth!) next time I am home?

    Love, daughter Alida

  14. Beautiful. Just BEAUTIFUL! It's become a forgotten art. sighhhh

  15. One word; Grandchildren.

    More words; Heaven!

    The tea pot knows to rest for now.

  16. Hi Cass, what a sweet post! I know those memories are so precious for you. Those little girls were very lucky to have tea in such a hospitable home and to be able to use that Meissen teapot! It is very beautiful and to have such a sweet story to go along with it makes it even more beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Gina

  17. I couldn't have said it half so well myself!! All of my china was fair game when the kidlets were home, and now that I have a quintet of little girl grandies, we back to tea parties again...and choosing which dishes to use, even for ordinary meals. Ahhhh it's wonderful and they are so adorably careful.
    Thank you for a big smile this afternoon!!


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