Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Parallel lives

One of the things I have discovered through blogging is that we are all more alike than we are different, it seems. Sometimes I begin to believe in that old idea of two people living parallel lives. People who will never meet, separated by thousands of miles, yet their lives are identical. Well, no two lives are identical of course, but I am often startled to read something that someone writes that I, myself, could have written, often about some obscure detail of their life.

Last night I was blog-reading, in that way that we all (I think) do—following links from one blog to the next until I find myself reading about someone with whom I have no connection and can't quite remember how I even got there. Suddenly I was reading the blog entry of a woman, about my age, who lives on the opposite side of the continent from me. Posted at the top of the entry was a place setting of Dansk stoneware, in the same pattern, but different color, as the Dansk stoneware I have owned for nearly 40 years. She talked about a recent article in the Washington Post about how today's couples are much less likely to choose formal china and silver when they marry. She said she, herself, had made the choice not to choose china when she married many years ago. She called it her "early rebellion". She chose, instead, the Dansk stoneware pictured, and Dansk stainless flatware.

I remember that some of my relatives and mother's friends were confused and puzzled by my choice of stoneware and stainless instead of china and silver when I was married in 1970. I was not interested in china. Most of what I was familiar with was far too fussy for my tastes, but I was interested in good design and for me the Dansk Generation Mist Brown stoneware was the ultimate. To go with it we selected a stainless pattern called Bedford from Lauffer, a Dutch company. It had won many design awards and I loved, and still love, its elegant shape and perfect balance.

Most of my wedding gifts are long gone. Most of what I loved in 1970 are things I have moved on from, but I still love these dishes and flatware and smile at my beautiful table when I use them. I am a bit more careful than I used to be because both are now discontinued and replacements are incredibly expensive. For many years I saw my dishes in movies, on TV shows, in advertisements. For a long time a plate just like one of mine displayed a mound of Rice a Roni (the San Francisco treat!) on the package front.

Somewhere near Washington D.C. there is a woman who loves her old dishes and flatware, as I love my nearly identical ones. We chose them for the same reasons and both believed, in our youthful confidence that we were the exception to the rule. I guess we were, and I kind of love that.

10 comments:

  1. Very cool to know there is someone else out there in my generation who made the same choice for the same reason. If you lived a little closer, we could throw a 70's dinner party and put our blue and brown Dansk stoneware together!

    I'm adding you to my link list because we seem kindred spirits!

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  2. It is a shame that Dansk company is falling apart. They had such great classic designs.
    Another business fiasco as the result of a company acquisition.
    Even though they have become more expensive we are fortunate to have places like eBay, etc to acquire extra ieces in timeless patterns.

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  3. It's a beautiful set.

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  4. Mine are the blue-rimmed Dansk Bistro; similar to yours but without the speckles. I think they're of a slightly later vintage, because my first-marriage dishes, dating from around the time you and Ray got married, were solid dark blue Waechtersbach, also very cool and modern in their way. Then-husband got custody of the china when we split up, and I got the flatware -- Dansk Variation V, which I still own and love and use every day.

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  5. It's just classic! I love the cutlery, too. I think we were right to break away from the trodden paths. I collected blue chinese cups and plates and wanted them to be all different, but still matching.

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  6. my first wedding was 1974 and my Mom was really upset when I said "no china, no silver"...but most of her friends held true and I got bed linens, towels, and 3 silver trays (which I still have and use). The last of the linens when to Salvation Army this past summer - lasting 20 years longer than the marriage! I think we were just a practical generation!

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  7. Janet5:27 AM

    I too, married in 1975, chose stoneware over china. I still love and use my Denby "Potter's Wheel". The jewelry store in my little town of Atchison, KS had to special order it.

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  8. I think my mother was put off by having to pick 'china' back in the early 1940's. She picked a really simple white with gold trim set, but probably wanted something like you have. She didn't like having to do the dishes by hand!

    I suppose being artists, both parents, living in Berkeley, CA, and loving chairs by Eames, probably had a lot to do with the choice.

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  9. I got married in 1970 also and chose stoneware over china...even picked the same pattern of cutlery...Bedford by Lauffer. I loved that pattern for years. But my dishes were a Denby "Langley" pattern which I added to from garage sales. I also picked glassware to match, but I never liked it.

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  10. Terry, thanks so much for sharing your post about your Dansk. I don't know if you saw on my blog, but my mom offered to give me her set. I never expected that, but I'm thrilled! I'm assuming you found my blog through my mom, Connie Akers, who is also a fiber artist. If not, it would be even more of a coincidence.

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