Thursday, August 4, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Grandmother's Dishes

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan, died in 1972. I had been close to both my maternal grandparents all my life. They moved to Florida from Indianapolis to be with their daughter and her family, so I got to spend lots of time with them growing up. 

Years later, after my grandfather also passed away, my mother asked me if I wanted the box of Grandmother's dishes, if not, she was going to donate them. Of course I wanted them! Mom told me she was pretty sure my grandmother had collected the dishes, one piece at a time, from boxes of laundry soap back in the 1950s or earlier. I remembered those days! Glassware, dishes, and towels often came hidden inside each big box of powdered detergent. 

Later, I carefully unpacked and washed the dishes and placed them in my china cabinet. There were many pieces missing and no serving pieces at all, just plates, cups, and saucers. I had my husband paint our dining room an earthy, dusky pink to complement the large roses on each piece. 

A few years later I discovered and I found I could pick up other pieces of this set. Before I knew it I had nearly every serving piece, including the musical teapot! But I still didn't have a full set of the dishes so I continued to wait and watch eBay auctions. 

One day, a friend that I often went antiquing with called to tell me that she was at a yard sale and a lady had a very large box of those very same dishes for $35! "You don't really need this many", she said excitedly, "but it's a great price and none of them are cracked or chipped!", to which I replied just as excitedly, "buy them!". 

Oh my! It was a huge box, just like she said. What a deal. Now I have nearly two full sets of these dishes and probably no one to hand them down to. So what? I'll love them for the rest of my years and enjoy fond memories of my grandmother with every glance at my china cabinet!

China cabinet full of my maternal grandmother's dishes
"Green Arbor" by Continental Kilns
...and other favorite things.



  1. Wow - beautiful dishes, and what a special display in your china cabinet! Some things are just meant to be, and ending up with full sets of these dishes is one of them (and a great price, too!). What a special story.

  2. I remember that cookie jar..We had one just like that...

  3. Yvette, I think that cookie jar must have been very popular! I see it on old TV shows and in magazines all the time!

  4. OOO, they sure are pretty! I would love to have something like that too!

  5. Thank you for sharing . . . I am lucky enough to have my Great Grandmother's wedding china which I have also added to via ebay and estate sales. And I also have my dining room painted especially to match the china!

  6. That's right ~ so what! Enjoy them for the rest of your days. I have so much glassware and pottery and many times someone in the family will say why don't you sell some of that NOW so the kids won't have to deal with it later. I think it would kill me. I love your post and your beautiful dishes!