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Stories in Teacups SOLSC 26

26 Mar

Most days, I drink my tea in a mug. But every once in a while, I pull out a china teacup. Sometimes I do it to raise my spirits. Sometimes I do it because I am feeling so content. I have never purchased any of my teacups; they’ve all been gifts. And a few have some stories to tell.


This is the Centennial Rose teacup by Royal Albert, created especially for Canada’s Centennial in 1967.I was three at the time of the Centennial but remember this cup, though I was not allowed to use it. I was however, dressed up like a little girl from 1867. I am certain my mother made the dresses she, my sister and I are wearing in this photo.

Scan 13

As a child, I took my tea with a  lot of milk and sugar. On the rare days we had sugar cubes, I loved dipping the cube into the tea and sucking out the sweet liquid. My mother let me take this teacup as my parents were beginning to downsize in anticipation of a move into an apartment. She also let me take this cup.


It was always my favorite. Sometimes, just for fun, we’d get out the china teacups. Some family members always chose the someone, some people chose a different one each time. This was always the one I chose. I think I was initially  attracted to the gold along the edges. Over time, I grew to love its feel and shape as I drank. It is a pattern called Golden Rose, made by Royal Chelsea.

In the first home I bought in Portland, I had an elderly neighbor named Kay who lived directly across the street. She was in her 90’s, and still lived alone, although her son, Thomas, came by every day. Thomas had a black Scottie named Chad who loved my female basset Clara. Chad was Thomas’ dog, but lived with Kay. He was a stubborn fellow who would not come when called. However, if Thomas called “Chad, Clara!” Chad would come running knowing he would get to see his friend. Kay was nearly blind and did not get out of her house much. One time, Kay let Chad out of the house to go potty and he didn’t come home. She stood in the doorway and called, but he remained outside. I could hear Kay calling and I could see where Chad was, so I put Clara on a leash and brought Chad home. Kay was back in the house by then and I sent Chad in through the door that had been propped open for him. A few minutes later I heard Kay’s voice calling out, “Thank you whoever brought Chad home!”

Kay was a porcelain painter in her youth. When she passed away, I got some teacups she painted.


Whenever I drink from them, I think of Kay. She signed the underside of the cup and saucer simply “K. Thomas”.\

Finally, I have a set that I got when another good friend passed away.


 This is an Arthur Wood and Sons teapot with matching cups. The pattern,  # 6432, is Purple Violets. This belonged to my friend Alemash, who was born and lived most of her life in Ethiopia. During a coup in the 70’s her husband was killed and she spent 7 years in prison. I don’t know that about her when I first met her at church. She had recently moved near me and I was asked to give her a drive to church. What started out as a courtesy bloomed into a friendship. Slowly she told me the story of her life. In spite of the hardships she endured, she was the most loving and centered person I have ever met. She would often invite me home for Ethiopian food after church and would send me home with a gigantic doggy bag. And after each meal we would have tea. She loved me like a daughter and sometimes called me her American daughter. She passed away in December 2010, but I still think of her often, especially when I use this tea set.

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