Crystal, Porcelain, China, Oh My!

Living in an age with soon to be driverless cars, Judy and George Jetson are even closer to living in our new world. With the horse and buggy gone by the wayside, and as technology continues to race forward, some things have no place to go – like all my mother’s doilies, crystal, delicate china cups, and saucers to mention just a few. I inherited a variety of Royal Doulton dancers, patterned floral bone China place settings, and an array of porcelain figurines. I can’t throw them out; I can’t recycle them. I can’t even take them to Goodwill. This collection doesn’t even begin to include the religious iconology I grew up around. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I say their names each time I open up one of the boxes in storage because they’re right on top wondering what I’m going to do with them. The second-hand store’s response is thanks but no thanks because it’s going to sit on their shelves, in the same way, it’s sitting on mine. As lovely as it all may have been at one time it’s not me, and it never was. It was a currency for my mother, and apparently, she had a goldmine invested in the stuff. Glorified dust collectors that she religiously tended to with a damp rag every Saturday morning. Add to that the collection of cumbersome toxic lead crystal she received from what was then, Czechoslovakia, and it’s a dark abyss for anyone hoping to subscribe to a minimalist lifestyle. I often wondered while growing up, why our fresh flowers had such an incredibly short lifespan in those vases. Substantially etched lead crystal vases, with beautiful and intricate bohemian patterns. Their dust collection ability was as stellar as their toxicity. Dozens of delicate English cups and saucers lined my mother’s French Provincial styled dining cabinet. A visually over stimulating site for someone who subscribes to simplicity. I sometimes imagine a crystal ashtray showing up at some hipster party. After being passed around with a joint in it, the weed kicks in and one of the free-spirited guests becomes fascinated in how the light is fractured by the cut glass and voila it’s cool again. That’s all it takes. One young trendsetter to see the beauty in it with a new pair of eyes. Suddenly postmodern stores are welcoming crystal and porcelain dancers in ballgowns. A tangible reminder of what once was. Like two centuries ago. What I fabricate sadly hasn’t happened, but it could. I just can’t wait until then. I’m running out of space. I open yet another box on the occasional visit to storage and Jesus, Mary and Joseph have turned into WTF there’s more?! Add to that the doilies, lace tablecloths and I wonder what my mother was on at the time. Her collection was accelerating as she went through menopause. Lace, crocheted tablecloths, porcelain figurines coming out of the yin-yang. It’s a Twilight Zone episode, and I’m living a porcelain/crystal nightmare. I need to eat, and all I have as currency is this stuff, and no one wants it, like shoulder pads and bell bottoms. Who knew these things would devalue as greatly as they have. I’d happily gift it all to Liberace or Zsa Zsa Gabor, but they have since left the building. With women taking the reigns of power the femme fatale archetypes manufactured out of porcelain is left in the dust with the dancers in ballgowns whose waistlines would make even Barbie jealous. The delicate figurines serve as a testament to an old female energy. Simply stated, the demographic that supported these decorative items are gone. The fantasy around these conversation pieces dissipated as a new reality not hinged on being saved or waiting to be courted replaced it. Today’s sensibility and lack of formality has a modern elegance to it replacing my mothers day of unrequited yearning. My girlfriends whose mothers have passed are in the same place as I am. Saddled with expensive tchotchkes and no place to go. A tangible reminder of what was then and isn’t now. The horse and buggy that no longer exists are now hauling a bunch of bone China, crystal and porcelain dancers right behind it.