Today I went to the Houston Area Antique dealers show. It didn't take long to figure out this show was for serious collectors with lots of money.
Isn't that gorgeous? I can imagine it in a beautiful English manor house, as a centerpiece for an "Age of Innocence" dinner.
Edwardian clothing on everyone.
One booth had nothing but sterling silver, and service pieces. Every silver pattern ever created, I think, was represented in full, and always seemed to include an asparagus server. A very cool looking item, that.
Alas, seeing all those lovely silver patterns reminded me of a personal injustice that was dealt to me thirty four years ago.
A slight from which I doubt I shall ever recover.
You see, at La Jolla high school there was always a prize given each year to the top home economic student. A very elegant La Jolla store always donated a place setting in silverware of the winning student's choice.
I was that student in 1972. I was both the Bank of America departmental award winner for Home Economics, and the top home economics student as well.
I worked hard to get that honor. I took Advanced Cooking, which included catering and complex meal service, AND Advanced Clothing Construction, including tailoring, in addition to the Honors college prep curriculum.
In my junior year of high school I determined I would be the one to win the prize in my class.
I went to the elegant silver/crystal/china store and decided I wanted to have Wallace "Romance of the Sea" for my silver pattern.
It was not an easy decision to make. I really liked Sir Christopher as well, but decided it might be a bit too fancy.
Imagine my chagrin, my heartbreak, my dismay, my disgust and my anger upon learning from Mrs. Mittermiller's (my home economics instructor), in late May of my senior year, that while I had won the Department Award, AND the Bank of America award, that the store, (for the first time in the more than half century of the school's history), WAS NOT GOING TO GIVE A PLACE SETTING THAT YEAR!
The price of silver had soared that year. Perhaps they decided that giving the student one setting was not resulting in a guaranteed desire to further collect at least five additional place settings via bridal registry or parental largess.
Formerly it had been a clever business ploy, don't you think?
But...wouldn't you think that maybe, since silver had gotten so expensive, that maybe I could have been offered a place setting of china? or crystal?
Nope. For me, in 1972, nada. Nothing. Zilch.
1973? Oh, well, back to the usual. A lovely place setting of silver was presented to that year's winner, and I presume to each winner until who knows when.
Four years later I did register for flatware. Only by then silver was "out", and stainless was "in".
Incidentally, my stainless cost in 1976 the same as my mom's silver cost her when she married in 1946.
Bernie picked the pattern. Dansk Classique. A plain curved edged and top design. My dad commented it looked like what they used in the mess hall in the navy.
There's a compliment for ya!
The upside is that Dansk makes quite a product. Nothing will bend or scratch Dansk stainless. In thirty years I have yet to have any damage to any of the pieces. So I have never needed to get a different set. It did look great with our Dansk Blue mist, a plain white glazed pottery with two navy rings on the edge that we used for our first 25 years of marriage.
It all looks just so.... 70's.
Well, here's the kicker.
A few years back Bernie and I were in a store that had all the classic silver patterns displayed. So, just for fun I asked him what pattern he would pick if we were to get some real silverware.
He glanced at all the patterns.
Honed in on one.
Pointed at "Romance of the Sea."
He shook his head, and firmly declared:
"Definitely, not that one."
I still like "Romance of the Sea".
But now I like the gold and silver version.