Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Love Affair with Stangl....and letting go

I'm not really certain when it happened. My obsession with dishes, that is.
The best I can remember is this: I grew up in a "throw away" house. We moved 4 times between my 11th and 18th year. Things got discarded, quickly. My mother never saved anything from my childhood. This always made me sad.
I remember her buying a set of dishes that were to be used for my communion. Simple white porcelain stored in our NEW Colonial style (bleck) Pine hutch.
It was the only thing I ever remember that was purchased "only for me". My sister (5 years younger) and I shared a bedroom, wore matching clothes etc.(very NOT fun for me)
I asked my mom one day, "what ever happened to those dishes?" she explained that she sold them after she divorced my father.
End of that story....and so it began
When I was 20 or so my interest in "vintage" started. I loved wearing vintage clothes and started hitting flea markets and garage sales for anything "cool".
A couple of years later I moved into my CO OP and had a home. I obsessed over my first set of dishes and searched and searched for the right set.
The pattern I chose was Mikasa Anthurium.
(the one and only time I bought NON American dinnerware.) It was love at first sight.
While I had been baking since I was 10, I had only begun to teach myself to cook. I had dreams of dinner parties (reeeeally in 500 square feet?) and friends packed in my little space.
So it was a dream come true when I found this beautiful set. I bought every matching piece and filled my apt with fresh exotic flowers. Anthuriums included. I loved my home but never did get around to dinner parties.(sigh)
(by now you all know I go on and on and get off topic, often... sorry)
Eh hemm.
As my collecting bug merged with my dinnerware obsession, my desire to support my own country grew. I began researching American dinnerware companies of the early 1900s through the 60s.
Being creative and "artsy" I became interested in the companies that created hand painted dinnerware lines. I found that there was actually a company in NJ that produced dinnerware right up into the 70s.
Stangl. Hand carved brightly colored dinnerware....Being The "Jersey Girl" that I am I searched and hunted for as much as I could. I began collecting Thistle, Wild Rose, Magnolia and the elusive Carnival. It was my goal to have 4 complete place setting of each along with all the extras.
This collection has been at least 20 years in the making.
(I never completed it)
When I moved to Boonton over 2 years ago my collection (all 6 crates of it) got stored away.
I have not ever used any of it, not ever. Pre Boonton my kitchen was decorated in Pink and Green and My Stangl was displayed on shelves....and everywhere.
But I needed to put the past behind me and start fresh.
(those of you who really know me, know why)
Well yesterday I pulled it all out. I unwrapped each piece like it was Christmas.

 As I type this my reservations grow and I do have a sick feeling in my stomach. You see, I guess growing up in the "throw away" home really had an affect on me.
I crave grounding and stability.....and all the things your own home symbolizes.
I save everything (NO I am not a horder) everyyyyything that has meaning. Savannahs report cards, hand made ornaments and dance trophies and costumes.
Oh yes...and my dishes.....
But I feel change coming and I need to clean out and organize.
So this summer as business on Main St is at a stand still, I vowed to list all of my vintage....and my stash....and my "creating supplies", and fill my Etsy shop with all of these wonderful things that have meant so much to me all these years.
I've needed them for security. I've needed them because for so long I never felt at home. But here in this falling down Victorian I have made a home for Savannah and I. It fees so good to walk in to my space. MY home.
And I know deep down in my heart that where ever life takes us now.......where she and I are, no matter how large or small the space is.....we will be home. truth....I don't need all of this stuff anymore. Yes I am queasy, but I know it will pass because I and the home I have created is enough for me. I feel safe and grounded.

And this is the happiest I have been for a very verrry long time.

oh yes.....I still have 5 sets of dishes that I actually DO use! (wink)