My parents, Margaret Edith Kells and John Marshall Peterson, were married in Seattle on 30 Jan 1943. The U.S. had just entered the War in December. My Dad had joined the Army and was married in his uniform. I think they were already planning to marry and just sped up the ceremony's date so that they could be married before he left. Margaret followed him to his training at Harvard (Officers training for the Quartermasters' Corps), Stanford (more of same), a supply truck company in training in Augusta, Georgia and one in Mississippi. Finally Jack left for overseas in December 1944. After the war, they lived in Boston where Jack completed his MBA at Harvard, then moved to Chicago where he went to the University of Chicago for a Ph.D program in Economics. I was born there in 1948. In 1951, they moved to Washington, D.C. where Rhonda was born. In 1953, furthering his career, Jack moved the family to Alcoa, Tennessee. Then in 1955 the family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. Here they were more settled and did some looking for a house but never bought one. In 1959, Jack fell in love with his personal secretary and, for that reason and many other longer term ones, he and Margaret got divorced. Thus the move back home to Seattle. And thus the fact that the wedding presents still sat in my Grandmother's basement, 17 years later.
As my mother unwrapped the items she told us the stories of who had given them to her and so on. Of course, I don't recall most of them. I remember the beautiful blue glass pitcher which was a gift from my Dad's favorite history professor at the University of Washington. And the dishes. She had a full eight place setting set of hand made china with several serving dishes. They were very beautiful, blue flowers on white with gold trim. These were made by a woman she knew named Mrs. Lilly (this is the only name I ever heard her called.) She made china for a living and was well known to the family and in Seattle generally. My mother's family and friends had contributed to the china and each plate or bowl is inscribed on the bottom with well wishes and the names of the people who gave it. There also was a lovely vase in a different pattern but also by Mrs. Lilly and inscribed on the bottom.
It was bittersweet for my mother to unwrap these presents, given with good wishes for a marriage which had died. And she never had gotten to use them! So, we moved them into the house we moved into and used them over the years at every dinner party, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday dinner. We used them, admired them and enjoyed them.
Years later in the 1980's, Mama decided to give my sister and I her good china. She wanted to do it now while she could enjoy our enjoyment of it, not wait until she was dead to distribute it. So Rhonda and I chose pieces and we split the china, each taking a four place setting and splitting the serving pieces. And I have used it for family dinners at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and so on. And my daughter plans on using it when it is her turn to receive it. So, I would tell Mama that her china, her pitcher and her vase have been used and enjoyed by a loving family (which is a product of her marriage)
Vase May 2016, for many years now and to come.