The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 11, 2012

A box of old dishes finds a new home

NORMAN — The year was 1945 and the war that would end all wars was finally over. My mother’s father was leaving the military after stateside service in World War I and World War II. His sons were coming home from the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific. From his final “mustering out” pay, he handed his wife $100 cash to buy something for herself.

Finally, a tangible reward for her service holding down the homefront, raising the children and praying the Rosary every night for her husband and two sons who were in some of the war’s heaviest fighting.

With part of her cash, she splurged and bought a set of Fiesta dishes. Eight place settings at John A. Brown Co. in downtown Oklahoma City. They were the art deco rage in the late 1930s and 1940s. It beamed “middle class,” the way a Lincoln Continental said upper crust. The dishes were made in solid colors and fired in the kilns of the Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, W.V.

Fiesta dish production continued from 1936 until 1972. In 1986, the dishes became popular as collector’s items and the plant started making them again on the 50th anniversary of the first set. Grandmother used her set every day, sometimes with family, but usually alone. She lost her husband of more than 40 years in 1963.

n n n

That box of dishes that my grandmother bought herself in 1945 made one more move this past month. She had wrapped them in newsprint and hauled them many times from Oklahoma City to homes and apartments in Norman. She finally entrusted them to her daughter in Santa Fe.

Grandmother didn’t need them when she went to an assisted living center and then a nursing home. Before she died at age 100 and six months in 2001, she let it be known that the first great-granddaughter of hers to get married would be getting the dishes as a wedding present long after she was gone.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Help for rural America

    A drive through rural parts of the Southwest can be depressing. For sale and for rent signs are prevalent. Businesses along main streets have closed. Unless they are close to a major interstate highway, many communities are in decline....

    April 23, 2014

  • Embarrassment to Oklahoma, again

    The standardized testing that was halted in local schools Monday is another embarrassment to the state. The same thing happened a year ago and Oklahoma gave them another chance....

    April 23, 2014

  • Time to move on; exit of Sebelius is right choice

    From the moment it became obvious that healthcare.gov wasn’t working, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became damaged goods for the White House....

    April 23, 2014

  • Happy birthday to us

    We don’t expect any cake and that many candles might be dangerous but today is the unofficial 125th birthday of Norman....

    April 22, 2014

  • Hero of Haarlem … for common good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the 8-year-old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Hate without end

    The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like ...

    April 21, 2014

  • Reform is necessary

    Editor, The Transcript: Last year, the legislature passed laws reforming the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which was a good start, but more is needed. Recent media reports have revealed that the ODVA employs M.D. and D.O. ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Keep your brain cells

    Editor, The Transcript: Hey kids. Four centuries ago, Shakespeare wrote about life’s seven great adventures. I forget his exact words, but they were something like this: 1. Our birth; none of us can remember it, but never the less, it is ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Don’t let moderation confuse you

    Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party....

    April 20, 2014

  • Priest’s execution should spur action

    In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me....

    April 20, 2014