I woke up to a FB alert…60s Franciscan Earthenware in the Starburst pattern…was I dreaming? The bursts, the dots, the memories of these dishes in my Aunt Jean’s kitchen cabinets. Swoon.
Quickly asking if they were still available I waited for a reply, was I too late? Private message again, reply on the FB post…me! me! me!…I am so very interested. I hate waiting. Watching others write interested. Ugh, they are not as interested as me, can I have them please? I so want those dishes.
My Aunt Jean just passed away. Over ninety years on this earth, she lived a good life. She was a woman of culture and class, Mid-Century Danish Modern everything, Rouault Jesus hanging in the living room, and gorgeous funky Franciscan Starburst dishes…teal and chartreuse, bursts galore…she had it all. My Uncle Bill, featured many times in this blog, was just as much if not more responsible for the styling of their home, but to me, the dishes were all her. She would whisper her little oh oh oh if a dish was put back on the shelf with a bit of a bang. Oh oh oh, Katharine, oh. I can hear her praying for the safe return of the dish to the shelf.
Ding, this is it, a response…come and get it…and into the car with my boxes and towels I flew. They were mine, well, 40 minutes away from being mine. Doing my diligent social media stalk, I had confirmed I was not walking into the Mid-Century Modern Murder Den. You can never be too careful with cash transactions with older women who own vintage dishware. My death would not become a limited run TV series.
I was greeted by Barbara, all smiles, no mask (she had been vaccinated and also recently tested). She was moving into an independent living home, thrilled it was independent and not assisted. Barbara needs no assistance, Barbara is a rockstar. She and I chatted as I packed up the dishes. She had so many because her sister had the same set on her registry, but cancelled the wedding (a badass move for the time) so Barbara took her dishes making a double set. Win win for me.
Barbara is nobody’s fool, she had an itemized list of what each piece was worth, she knew she was giving me a gift. I told her Ohhhhhh I know, I know, I so appreciate it, I am not selling these, I will use them, I will cherish them. The smile on her face was electric, we did a double high five, she was as happy as I was. As I carried out the first batch she noted that little women are very strong…we were the same size. She decided to stay outside and chat with my mom while I went back to pack another box. Maybe she checked my background before letting me in, maybe she just trusted people. I returned with the last box and approached her to give my thanks and let her know she should call if she ever needed anything. Dishware buddies, we needed to stick together. Barbara agreed, she invited us to visit with her, maybe even go for a swim. Like old friends.
As we said goodbye she had one ask…when you are eating off of these dishes, maybe raise your glass and give a toast to Barbara. I promised we would…she did not even need to ask.
Wishing my new friend an easy move tomorrow…and a beautiful new chapter.