My Grandma Schaub was what we called an “everyday” grandma. She was part of her grandchildren’s near-daily lives—card game player, Jiffy muffin mix overseer, Bugle snack supplier, S&H stamp collector, raspberry/blueberry/strawberry picker...and tea party planner. That’s me in the photo above with cousins Kelly and Tina, and three lucky barn cats.
Grandma loved to have just the right dish for every occasion, which is probably where I inherited my dish obsession. She collected all kinds of glassware during winter garage sales in Florida. She never met a large vase she couldn’t fill from her own gardens. And if eBay had been a thing during her lifetime, she would have cleaned up.
She wasn’t precious about her nice things. When the extended family gathered each Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, we ate on bone china—multiple sets of it with matching serving pieces. She never said, “Now be careful with that…it’s expensive.” She just expected us to respect her things. And we did.
So I suppose that’s why I so enjoy using and loaning out my vast stockpile of beautiful tableware.
Years ago, a local middle school wanted to put on a High Tea, so I packed up every fancy cup, saucer and plate in my cabinets. The moms were nervous, but I assured them, “These kids will elevate their behavior to the beauty of the occasion.” And they did.
My wedding reception went old-school with cake, olives, nuts and a wine buffet. We used every glass luncheon plate I owned. The guests loved it! Not one piece was damaged.
Recently, friends decided to throw a bridal tea for their sister. I volunteered my entire glass, china and linen collection. The ladies stopped by, thoughtfully selected every item they might need, and left with a carload of beauties. Every piece came back in pristine condition.
Now, raise your hand if you were ever the guest or host of a childhood tea party. I see those hands! Weren’t they fun? Didn’t you feel special? Maybe even elegant?
Your delicate lovelies are meant to be enjoyed. Sure, they look great in the cabinets, but why have them if we’re not gonna use them? Yes, that china belonged to your beloved grandmother. I assure you, she wants you to actively enjoy it. I believe that tea set cost a fortune on eBay. Why did you pay that if no one gets to party with it?
Steep the tea! Fill the creamer! Set out the plates! Then call up some people who might need a little dose of loveliness in their lives. They’ll never forget your thoughtfulness and generosity.
A Michigan farm girl transplanted to the South offering hospitality hacks.