Col­lec­tors

From cups and spoons to plates and teapots, this col­lec­tor’s ta­ble is mem­o­rably set

Our Canada - - News - by Miriam Roberts, Dray­ton Val­ley, Alta.

On a re­cent birth­day, I re­ceived a bou­quet of flow­ers from my son that epit­o­mizes who I am. The flower con­tainer was il­lus­trated with sev­eral rows of colour­ful cups piled on top of one an­other—a re­flec­tion of my pen­chant for col­lect­ing.

My col­lec­tion of cups in­cludes dainty, black teacups from Ja­pan that once be­longed to my moth­erin-law. I also have a set of six beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated, very fine bone china cups from my mother, who was for­tu­nate enough to re­ceive the set as a wed­ding gift in 1939.

Be­ing (very!) Bri­tish, sev­eral of my mugs dis­play pho­to­graphs of the royal fam­ily, celebrating dif­fer­ent events. The old­est one is of the corona­tion of King Ge­orge VI in 1937; an­other is of the corona­tion of Queen El­iz­a­beth II in 1953, which I re­ceived while at­tend­ing school.

A col­lec­tion of cups wouldn’t be truly com­plete with­out ac­com­pa­ny­ing plates, for pie and other good­ies. One bread-and-but­ter plate, given to me by Aun­tie Becca, is of the Royal Al­bert Heather Bell pat­tern. A stoneware din­ner plate with the Wil­low pat­tern was given to me by Aun­tie Nancy, who also gave me four china plates bear­ing the Al­berta rose, af­ter I men­tioned to her its sta­tus as the pro­vin­cial flower of Al­berta.

Com­ple­ment­ing the above are my many teapots, of which I per­son­ally pur­chased only two. One is a small clay teapot I bought af­ter at­tend­ing a Chi­nese tea cer­e­mony in China. The other I bought while in Ar­gentina; it’s ac­tu­ally used for mak­ing maté or yerba,which is tra­di­tion­ally drunk through a sil­ver straw in a so­cial, com­mu­nal set­ting.

Of the many teapots given to me, one in par­tic­u­lar brings back mem­o­ries, as it was passed down from my sis­ter An­nie when I vis­ited her two years ago in Eng­land. An­nie asked if I re­mem­bered where it came from, and of course I did. It is a very small teapot, made in Bo­hemia, now part of the Czech Repub­lic. It evokes mem­o­ries of An­nie and I vis­it­ing Aun­tie Elin at Bont­ddu, North Wales.

Then, of course, there are my spoons, a col­lec­tion that now num­bers more than 100. It all be­gan with a farewell gift from my col­leagues in the in­ten­sive care unit of Foothills Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Calgary, where I worked as a nurse for 1 ½ years. Since then, I have re­ceived spoons from friends and fam­ily; two very spe­cial ones were given to me by my sons af­ter they at­tended the Cana­dian Scout Jam­boree in Guelph, Ont., in 1985.

Love spoons are also part of my col­lec­tion. His­tor­i­cally, these were wooden spoons carved lov­ingly by a suitor and given to the girl he loved, hence the term “spoon­ing.” Most of mine were given to me by com­pany vis­it­ing from Wales; how­ever, two were hand carved with pre­ci­sion by Adam Eck­ert of our home­town of Dray­ton Val­ley, at the re­quest of my hus­band. One was a gift for my 65th birth­day; the other was given to me for our 40th an­niver­sary. As well as spe­cial em­blems de­not­ing the spe­cific oc­ca­sion, both of these cus­tom-made love spoons have fish on them, rep­re­sent­ing our af­fil­i­a­tion with the Angli­can Church, as well as daf­fodils, the flo­ral em­blem of Wales, and the wild rose, rep­re­sent­ing Al­berta.

As you might imagine, there is a lot more to my many col­lec­tions, par­tic­u­larly from my trav­els—a story for an­other day, per­haps.

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