Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nana moment

My Nana is ... Well, how to explain her? She's my Mom's Mom, and the matriarch of a whole lot of wacky people. My family, on my Mother's side, cultivates eccentricity like an heirloom tomato patch. We love the uniqueness of little kids enthralled with heating and cooling systems and adults who are slightly off step with the rest of the known universe. My Great Aunt Lois is has been gone for many, many years yet my kids holler her famous: "Don't raise the bridge, lower the water!" when we come to draw bridge. Some things we do and say without even remembering who the original nut was who coined the phrase. Sometimes we don't even realize that no one else has any idea what we're talking about.

My favorite Nana memory is from when I was about 7 or 8. We had pulled off the highway at a very windy viewpoint, admired the view for a while and then Nana wondered allowed "I wonder how far we could spit?". Turns out you can spit a long way with the wind at your back. Nana introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock movies, took us to Six Flags and patiently waited until we got our fill of rides and junk food. She bought us fancy dolls from Macy's or Rich's every summer which we lovingly named "Georgia dolls" but which never survived long once they returned to Washington State with us. Nana ran over my sister's fire engine red American Tourister suitcase with her Buick. Nana had a house crammed so full of knicknacks and doo-dads that you couldn't turn around without knocking something over ("oh, so-and-so gave me that when we went to...") they probably had to open a new Goodwill to hold them all when she moved into a retirement home.

I had some folks over the other day and as I was stuffing the breakfast dishes frantically out of sight in the dishwasher, I was overcome with the need to unearth my 1/2 (my sister, Jen, got the other 1/2) of one of Nana's sets of dishes. She had regular "everyday" dishes and 3 or 4 sets of fine china. (The South, you know requires multiple types of dishes to be on hand at all times for DAR and Junior League emergencies.) They've been packed up for years first in a storage shed in Tryon, NC. Then in my garage, first in Seattle, then in the first rental house we had here. They were ready to come out. So here's my little bit of Nana-ness. Nana's Blue Willow china. I just added it to the stacks of my china, a Villeroy and Boch pattern if you were wondering, which makes the cupboard fairly crowded but solves the problem of weekend sleepovers when we run out of bowls or plates.

Check out my groovy, original 1960's counter tops! Jen, you must have the cream pitcher - I just have the sugar bowl. (My Mom had a boyfriend her siblings refered to as "Sugar Bowl" due to the unfortunate size of his ears. Just saying "Sugar Bowl" makes me giggle.) Right now I'm eating crackers and cheese on a Blue Willow plate. A little bit of Whiteoak (that's the name of my Grandparents' house) makes every day a little nicer.


  1. Awww, I love my half of the Blue Willow!

    Yes, I do have the cream pitcher. Janice had it before, but she sent it to me this past summer as a wedding present.

    Notice my wedding registry didn't have fine china on it at all. I just wanted solid blue everyday dishes that would coordinate with the BW, if need be. Actually, the Blue Willow IS my special occasion stuff to set out for nice dinners. (But okay, sometimes I just get it out because I feel ike it!)

  2. PS: Remember how Nana and Lois used to call doo-dads "spap-oops" because that is what the box said when you held it upside down?

    I was just Googling for that box the other day and apparently it is really hard to find now! I found this, but it looks like they had a different font in 1968. This one upside down says "spep-oop."