August 28, 2014

Of Melmac, Corelle and Other Fine China

Our niece Jill and I get into some really fun conversations that can last for hours and hours. Today was no exception, and one of our topics was family china.  We discussed the various patterns we’ve had, and the ones we remember from childhood, as well as ones we’d like to have!

I wasn’t taking notes so I can’t remember all of Jill’s ‘china history’, so for now I’ll just list my own from memory.  Have you ever noticed that dinnerware kind of ‘evolves’ over time? When I was a young girl my mom had her wedding china that we used quite often.  For the life of me though, I can’t remember the name of the pattern, and I’m not even sure any more what it looked like.  I know that seems silly to some people, but the china was so connected to my memories of my mom and all I can remember is either the china or the silver had the word “spring” in it.

You know, when you think about it (and Jill and I think women are more into this than men) our lives are really tied to the dishes we ate from all through our lives.  It’s something we all have in common, and with so many designs to choose from, it happened that even during certain periods of time we had the same types of dishes, i.e. Corelle.

Brown Serving Bowl Texas Ware Dinnerware - Vintage Plastic Dinnerware

Take for instance when we were first married. We had very little money and so our ‘china’ of choice was Melmac or Melamine.  We probably bought a whole set (plates, cups, saucers, sauce dishes, etc.) for $20 at K-Mart.  That was around 1972, and at the time my favorite colors were yellow and orange so the color I chose for dishes was an orange and yellow floral with brown side dishes.  My guess is it was Texasware. We had those plates and dishes until around 1980 when we sold them at a yard sale to someone who wanted them for their travel trailer.  The image of the brown bowl above is from Grannie’s Attic and I have included a link to the site if you click on the picture.

Not long after, the ubiquitous Corelle came on the market and people loved it because it could go in those new microwaves everyone was getting.  They were tough, pretty in their own way and there were enough open stock serving pieces that each household could have everything matching, right down to the salt shakers.  I’m not sure what year it was, but sometime in the 1970′s we bought our set of the white with green flowers Corelle (spring blossom green).  Guess what! We still have it. It may eventually go away, but one of my biggest quirks is that I hate getting rid of things just because they’re out of style.  (I have gotten rid of the platform shoes and leisure suits! ;) ). The photo above is from The Pyrex Files and on that site you will find a fascinating explanation of the difference between the spring blossom green pattern and the crazy daisy one.

A few years ago I bought some new dishes that look just like Depression glass, but they’re actually ::::drumroll please:::: Corelle.  We recently had some guests here for dinner and when I told them the dinner plates were Corelle they were amazed.  I have two sets of this green color with a slight swirl design on the edges. I’m starting to get arthritis in my hands and these seem like a safe bet for the future.

What’s your special dinnerware memory? I hope other people do posts like this in the future.  I’d like to see your memory-connected china too.  If you don’t know me by now, the title for this article was meant to be some subtle humor. :)  I suppose now because I wrote about Melmac I’ll get lots of people visiting thinking I’m writing about the planet that Alf came from.

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