I have loved plates since I was a young teenager. I worked at Goldsmith's department store in Memphis during summers and Christmas breaks when I was a young woman, and I purchased my first set of dishes, which was Johnson Brothers "Regency White," from the this store with some of my meager wages. I kept the set in my closet until I married. However, my everyday dishes are Johnson Brothers Blue Willow. My love of this design began when I was in fourth grade after I ordered the book Blue Willow from a Weekly Reader offer. The book's cover depicts a blond-headed girl and a Blue Willow platter. I thought I resembled the cover photo of the fair-skinned girl, who's slightly smiling. I still have that book.
I also knew Blue Willow dishes well because Aunt Bea on "The Andy Griffith Show" served many a Sunday chicken dinner on plates with this famous design. Over the years, I have picked up older and newer plates with various designs and colors, and my finds hang everywhere throughout my home. My kids always knew when I'd tapped a mother lode at an early Friday yard sale because they'd hear my hammer banging a nail into a ever-disappearing blank space on a wall.
Here are just a few of my many collectible plates:
This is an old blue-and-white platter I picked up at local antique mall. It was in pieces in a box when I happened upon it. I asked the vendor if the platter was for sale, and she told me that she'd dropped it and had placed it out in case a regular customer who specialized in mosaics happened by. I bought the platter for $2.50, and then I glued the pieces back together. It had been repaired before, and there are large metal staples in the back of the plate from repairs made long, long ago. I love this platter, and it hangs in my living room. I am glad the mosaic lady didn't find this platter before I snapped it up! What a shame it would be for this treasure to be plastered together haphazardly as a tabletop! I shudder at the very thought!
These plates depict Paris fashions through the years, and they hang above my sewing machine in my sewing room. My sister gave me one as a Christmas gift, and I purchased the rest of the collection on eBay. My daughter, who's into fashion design as a department-store buyer, also has a set of these plates, but they're in boxes under her bed. She'll soon be moving to a place of her own, so her collection might soon see the light of day.
These are some of my Spode blue plates. A Blue Willow platter is surrounded by plates I picked up at a discount store at a Missouri outlet store.
These are my red Spode plates. The center red willow platter came from the same antique mall as my old pieced-together platter, but I bought it about 20 years ago for $25. I used my birthday money to buy the platter, and I loved it then, and I greatly treasure it now. The other plates were purchased at en estate sale for $10 each.
I bought the brown Spode plates at a store called Fifth Season in Little Rock. It was my birthday, and my sweet husband took me shopping and bought these plates for me on a whim. The other plates came from estate sales.
That's a few of my treasured collections. I told my kids that if there were an earthquake, I'd have to create mosaic tabletops! I shudder at the very thought!