But, their wedding china has made up for it.
They were married in the Spring of 1940. They eloped to Virginia, so there was not a big wedding with registries for china and the like. Yet, somehow they ended up with a complete set of a pattern by the Japanese "made-for-export" company "Renwick". It looked sort of Bavarian, but with that Japanese Satsuma-like red color that made it lively and friendly.
We lived with it throughout our childhoods and beyond. In fact, it is the only "good china" that Alice and Bill ever had. Over the years, pieces died and went to heaven, so it was harder and harder to set a good table with them. But the bulk of the set stayed nice and stationary in New Jersey.
When the parents passed away, we had to decide what to do with the remains of the set. Nobody wanted the whole thing. We kept it in various garages for a few years, and finally, as one of us was about to downsize and leave NJ, she convinced me to store it in my basement. So, about 70 years after its arrival in NJ from Japan, the China set found its way to the state of Maryland.
But it was abused in Maryland: kept in the dark inside a cardboard box, except for one serving piece (shown here) that I still have as a memento.
About 3 years ago it was my turn to clean out my basement. As I was preparing to load the box into the car for its final trip to Goodwill, our friend Felicite took a look and admired it. Felicite IS a world traveler, having begun life in Burundi, received her higher education in Montreal, and landed in Washington in 2008 with husband and kids. Because she liked it, I offered it. She took it, and I felt good. She told me she uses it for entertaining and that it looks great on her table.
The lucky transfer to the home of world travelers has given a new life to this now almost antique set. For, early this year Felicite's husband was transferred to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he is responsible for a World Bank program on electrification. They took it along with them.
So, our Japanese Renwick china is now experiencing life in Africa, with African cuisine piled on to keep Graciella and Noah well fed and happy. The family's house is close to the Congo River.so Our little Japanese china set is having an adventure!
Here it is on their table, all ready for an African feast. And there is Noah, contemplating the Congo River from a spot near their home in Kinshasa, the capital city.
I hope Felicite and the family comes home soon -- there are still years to go --because that serving dish is feeling deprived of adventure.