This Christmas my dad showed up with two plastic storage bins from my Aunt Ann with whom I had a conversation some years ago about some family china that I didn't feel I had any right to as the only girl once removed and that surely one of her boys would have gotten married and taken it with him.
Apparently not. Anyway, I think this because my paternal grandmother once compelled me to return an heirloom Christmas ornament to my father because 'our things pass down through the family name' and it didn't much impress her that I'd kept the family name. And that doesn't make a bucket of sense because my Aunt sure didn't keep the family name but I never could keep this stuff straight.
Now the truth of the matter is that I don't think my aunt got her hands on this stuff until her mother was past ninety but I could be wrong about that too (I find myself wrong about many things these days). It is also possible that Grandma Bess finally relented given the circumstances. In any event, here it is.
My mother once had possession of he soup tureen which is a grand affair with a slot for a very ornate ladle which I returned to my father some twenty odd years ago at somebody's request. He's said I can have that as well.
The thing about the china is it's absolutely not my style in the least. It's fussy, ornate, very old and quite breakable. It cannot go anywhere near a dishwasher, microwave or child under the age of 41. And yet here it is in my household, used immediately to serve Christmas dinner and I am smitten and awed. I wanted it the way I want all things old and family because I'm wired that way. I like to hold the ghosts of my ancestors in my hands and feel what's left they might have to say to me. I just wasn't prepared to instantly love them in a whole other way the moment they came out of their wrappings and into my hands.
They belonged to my Great, Great Grandmother Beyer who came with her husband from Germany penniless sometime before the turn of the century, I believe. My Great Great Grandfather Beyer was a barber with a space at the Waldorf Astoria and my Great Great Grandmother Beyer was a dressmaker. They had one child who was my Grandmother Bess's mother and her name was Lilly and that's about all I've got to say at this writing other than I'm stunned the china made it past Lilly and into Bess's hands in the first place.
So Great Great Grandfather Beyer the Barber had some wealthy clients with some tasty little insider tips and the Beyers lives changed just a bit. And if you think about the probable timing, that would have been a miracle in and of itself. This china would have been purchased after the fact and given the markings on the bottom - Theodore Haviland Limoges France in red with no underscore - these pieces are circa 1903 - 1925. Just before the market crashed.
And here it sits today on my dining room table. A thing to be cherished not for it's inherent value (although apparently I can still buy and sell it and I lean toward the buy, not the sell for heaven's sake) but for the fact of it's continuity. A piece of beauty and grace that is meaningful only in talisman of it's being.
Like I said, I am in awe of it's very presence in my home.
Now all I have to do is manage not to break it which brings us to the segue.
Covered vegetable dish sits on a massive glass table reflecting the dish itself and the contents of the room. Something broke this weekend or broke a year or two years ago or who the hell knows but it broke and I found out for sure last night and I don't know quite how bad but there's a reflection of it in the table. Lucia slept with me last night and I had the good fortune to have a friend, a real honest to god friend to call at six in the morning and say I need you, please come now. OK, I was better than that. I sent the text at 6 and the Facebook message at a more reasonable hour of 9ish and she came right over, adjusted my meds a bit, gave me half a pack of cigs (don't worry, this is absolutely medicinal and no more addictive than the Klonopin I seem to require at the moment and its working which is the good news).
I'm debating sleeping with the dogs tonight. I don't know if that will help or make it worse. I guess I'm just going to deal with it one small moment at a time.