Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Soundtrack of my childhood

Around Christmastime I decided I wanted new dinnerware. The Pfaltzgraf set I had was fine, but it's very heavy, several pieces are chipped, and the pattern was not particularly attractive. I got them on sale at Tuesday Morning while in grad school, so they have definitely served their purpose and been worth whatever I spent on them.

I decided my new set would be Corelle. It's very plain-Jane, lightweight, cheap, everything a growing family needs. I picked a pattern of plain white with a royal blue edge. I wanted it to stand the test of time.

The order sat in my Amazon cart for weeks and I finally pulled the trigger and ordered last weekend. I got four 4-piece sets. Yes, 16 place settings. No, I'm not planning on competing with Michelle Duggar. We have a large extended family and I liked the idea of having enough for everyone. As is, with everyone coming in this weekend for the baptism, I'm not sure I have enough!

This huge box was sitting on my front step this morning. (And the FedEx guy thinks the diapers are bad?) Inside this large box were individual boxes for each place setting. Inside THAT box was another box, and inside THAT box was an abundance of cardboard to protect from breakage. Well, it worked. I unloaded everything, threw what didn't fit in the dishwasher in a tub of soapy water, and loaded my old dishes into the boxes. (Who wants them?!?)

As I was hand-washing the sink full of dishes, the clanking of the plates brought a wave of nostalgia. We had Corelle growing up (olive green flower pattern anyone?) and the sound is exactly the same! I remember many, many nights fighting with my older brother over who got to dry. (Mom would make us rewash dirty dishes, but no one ever had to re-dry a wet one.) We enjoyed the smug vindication of throwing a dirty dish back into the sink to make the other do it over. Sometimes I'd throw a clean one back in there just because I could.

We would put a dry towel or paper towel in a cup and marvel at how the air trapped inside the upside down cup would keep it dry. We learned the hard way not to throw knives in the soapy water. If you showed up at the ER these days needing stitches, DHR would probably show up at your door investigating you for child labor.

One of my students recently watched me, perplexed, as I hand-washed a coffee mug in the sink in my room.
"Does that clean it?" she asked.
"What, hot water and soap? Yes, that clean it," I replied skeptically. "Haven't you ever hand-washed dishes?"
"Once," she nodded, "and let me tell you- it was an EXPERIENCE."

Yes, hand-washing dishes is an experience. Too bad most kids will only ever use a dishwasher.

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