Monday, May 17, 2010

MAGPIE/ Prompt #14

                                      photo/ willow/ magpie tales


Another weekly challenge from Willow at Magpie TalesLots of fun, do look up all of the participants!

BONUS

When I was a little girl, before I even started kindergarten, my Mom began collecting Blue Willow china from a very unlikely source.  Every Wednesday we would go to a matinee movie at the RKO Pelham, in The Bronx, NYC.   A bonus was given away, free with the the purchase of a ticket: a Blue Willow plate, or bowl, or cup or whatever would finally make up a place setting.  The goal was to reach a complete set, so that you could feed a group of 8 hungry folks and have them eating off a matching set of china.

Time flew by, and I grew past kindergarten age as my Mom continued to watch bad B movies and collect Blue Willow.  I was happy to be going to school, to escape all those seedy romances and boring westerns, usually the second feature of a bill that might feature Bette Davis or Clark Gable or some super glamorous star, who meant nothing to me anyway.  No one ever walked out of movies in those days.  If you paid, you stayed.

A lot of family secrets are tawdry.  Here's one.  The last giveaway, the very last chance to get the last treasured piece of Blue Willow, my Mom couldn't go!  But I had to go to school!!  What to do?  Well, we all have to make sacrifices from time to time, and even though I was sent to school when I complained of what Mom called imaginary illnesses, my Mom justified my skipping school that afternoon by pointing out that I would be contributing to the completion of what was sure to become a collectors item.  She bribed me with a dinner out at the Golden Dragon, the local Chinese restaurant, where I could feast on my favorite, fried noodles and wantons.  Enough said.

Mom bought my ticket, (adult price), spoke to the matron, (remember them?), who seemed always to be waving her flashlight, asked a special favor for her to keep an eye on me, keep me safe and sound, make sure that no pervert chose me to abduct.  And to absolutely see to it that I receive the Blue Willow final plate when they were given out.

All went as planned, and the set of china had a big debut on Thanksgiving.  And was put into semi-retirement, since the Blue Willow reached antique status rather quickly at our house, too precious for everyday use.

I now possess the last soup bowl.  It has a tiny chip on the edge, and doesn't interfere with Milo, my cat, drinking water from it each day.  He sometimes lingers, probably wondering how he can engage the attention of the two lovebirds flying above the idyllic scene.  I too, as a child, was mesmerized by the intricate, very different story, that the Blue Willow had to tell.


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46 comments:

joanny said...

Oh so interesting Lyn a great story you area great story teller always interesting read.--I must say it stopped me in my right in the middle of your post when you said on Wednesday you went to "RKO Pelham, in The Bronx, NYC" I use to go to that one some times and to the one on Fordham Road In the Bronx.. many a moon ago and when the Loews Paradise was still the grand movie theater.
Joanny

Studio Sylvia said...

What a wonderful read! I like the Blue Willow pattern and I will remember your story whenever I see the pattern from now on. Thank you.

Katherine said...

I like this story & what a lucky cat to be drinking from such a beautiful bowl! Your Mums thanksgiving table must have looked just wonderful! Nice Magpie

Lyn said...

Hi joanny-
Well what a pleasant surprise! I did think that the Loew's Paradise was the most gorgeous place on earth..and my brother's Bronx HS of Science class held their graduation there!! Thank you...

Lyn said...

Hi Sylvia-
What a nice thing to say..thank you so much!!

Lyn said...

Hi Katherine-
Thank you..I do enjoy doing the Magpie Prompts so much!

Paul C said...

This is a delightful story. Skipping school to get the last treasured plate of the set...

little hat said...

I enjoyed this Lyn. such simple stories of ordinary things can be so mesmerising. Great

willow said...

Lyn, this is brilliant. I love how you weave old tales of NY into Magpie. I especially liked her watching bad B movies and collecting Blue Willow!

Suz said...

a tale of days gone by
free anything!
lovely

Snooty Primadona said...

What a wonderful story! I've always been fascinated by Willow patterns too. As a matter of fact I decided that my family was out to break all of my good everyday dishes so I sold them on eBay for top dollar. Then, I turned around & bought a ton of willow dishes in all 3 colors on eBay, some already chipped. Now, I don't worry about chippage...

Did you ever read the story of Blue Willow? I read it as a child & have never forgotten it.

Lyn said...

Hi Paul C-
Yes, we have to keep our priorities straight! thank you...

Helen said...

A most delightful Magpie ... I sat and reflected on the many pieces of china I have stared into as I consumed meals during childhood .... stories in so many of them. Ah, imagination is wonderful!

R. Burnett Baker said...

It's these stories (some of them true, I assume) that bring life to what many would think of as mundane. Wonderful story of an enchanting time, even if we didn't think of it was enchanting back then.

Rick

Lyn said...

Hi Willow-
Thanks so much for the opportunity..mostly true tale..but the pattern wasn't as lyrical..

sheri... said...

what a wonderful romp through childhood and the remembrances of being a partner in crime! i don't remember any dish giveaway in the theaters but how many boxes of laundry detergent did my mom buy, in fierce competition with her neighbors, to say that she owned the latest piece of...whatever it was.
your story was splendid, bringing back to life some rather wonderful days of my own!

Lyn said...

Hi little hat-
Thank you..I love how our memories (and imagination) can be stirred by the simplest prompt!

Lyn said...

Hi Suz-
Yes, those were the days..probably cost 75 cents to get into the movies..and look at what we got!! Thanks...

Lyn said...

Hi Snooty Primadona-
Well, aren't you the smarty pants!! I suppose we can go to you when we run out..good price, I hope! thanks...

Lyn said...

Hi Helen-
Thank you so much..yes, I think kids can make a great story of anything, and sometimes we can carry that imagination with us!

Lyn said...

Hi R.Burnett Baker-
All we need is a jog to our memory, and true or not, it's a story..anyway, a lot of it is so!! Thanks so much for stopping by...

Lyn said...

Hi sheri-
I don't remember the detergent thing, but I'm glad that you too had an obsessed mother...this was fun!! Thanks...

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

We (my sister and I) grew up with movie house china...only mom and dad never completed the set.
Your story was wonderful, capturing a time of great anticipation...free bowl, cup etc...! Loved it!

Lyn said...

Hi Blue Sky/Mary Ann-
It was such fun remembering this..and having a full set was a real bargain..leave it to Mom!

Tumblewords: said...

A delightful story! I love skipping school for the valuable prize. A matter of priorities - what fun!

Lyn said...

Hi Tumblewords-
Thank you..yes, it's good to have the right priorities! This was a special prompt!

Jingle said...

powerful perspective,
beautiful magpie!

Lyn said...

Hi Jingle-
I enjoyed telling this...thank you..

Brian Miller said...

oh a wonderful take on the theme...i like that the cat wonders at her magnificent plate. smiles. nice magpie!

Lyn said...

Hi Brian-
Thank you! I do believe that cats deserve the best!!

chiccoreal said...

The history of the Blue Willow story being closely woven into everyday 20th century life! How rich in your retelling and recounting the NY NY of of this pivotal and memorable time.How lucky to have those embellished memories! I recollect my collecting of the B.W. plates too, the kind made in Texas from the grocery store a few years ago. Something about yesterday's nostalgia...magic! Love your excellent story!

Lyn said...

Hi chiccoreal-
We are lucky to have such memories from this unique Blue Willow. Thank you for your kind words...

Jim Swindle said...

It's an interesting story. Thanks. I liked the idea of the cat using the last piece.

We didn't go to movies (well, I went to about 5 by the time I was 15), but the gasoline station sometimes gave away a drinking glass with a 10-gallon-or-more fill-up. Those glasses are all gone now. My mother was given a beautiful set of dishes about 50 years ago. My wife and I have them now; use them only for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Lyn said...

Hi Jim-
I think I became the movie fanatic I am because of my Mom, of course. I believe they gave out Disney glasses to kids on Saturdays. It is fun to remember..
Thank you..

Tammy said...

Wonderful story!

Lyn said...

Hi Tammy-
Thanks for visiting and for your comment! It was fun...

Derrick said...

Hi Lyn,

That sounds like a posh cinema to me, giving out free chinaware - and all for the price of a movie ticket?! I'm glad Milo still gets the benefit!

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
I'm laughing at this..so far from posh..didn't know the meaning of the word...the small movie houses had to bribe us to keep us from going "downtown"..and Radio City!!
Yes, Milo's a lucky guy..thanks...

Everyday Goddess said...

I love that story! And I love that Milo has an heirloom water dish too.

Lyn said...

Hi Everyday Goddess-
Milo, the cat with everything! Thanks for your kind words...

Angie Muresan said...

Very fascinating read, Lyn. I love the fact that you and your mom were accomplices of a sort in collecting the set.

Lyn said...

Hi Angie-
Thank you..we definitely were in it together..but she liked the films more than I did..unless they were musicals!

rel said...

Lyn,
After only a few weeks of visiting your blog and reading your magpies I'm reminded of the Jimmy Durante quote: "I got a million of 'em, a million of 'em."
I'm always drawn into your stories and I always believe they are truer than true! ;)
rel

Lyn said...

Hi rel-
Wonderful thing to say! Thank you..
By the time I've finished my stories, I believe them too, but there always is a thread of truth!!

Alan Burnett said...

Wonderful story. I wonder what that last film was.

Lyn said...

Hi Alan-
Thanks for visiting..movie..probably something like Mildred Pierce, which would have put me under my seat!

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