When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.
is for milk glass.
Growing up, I always thought we were semi-rich. Not really rich-rich. Not Hollywood rich. But pretty darn well-off. I thought for sure my grandaunts Violetta Davis Ryan and Velma Davis Woodring were rich. Violetta owned multiple apartment buildings. Velma was a world traveler, taught in Korea, and routinely brought us amazing gifts of jewelry, kimonos, and rice dishes.
They HAD to be rich, right?
My sister and I have had many good laughs over some of the heirlooms and not-so-heirloom-worthy items we have inherited from our “rich aunts.” Case in point: milk glass plates.
|My plates on the dining room wall|
|My sister's collection|
A stack of these things! Recognizing they are Depression glass, we anticipated back in 2009 that they would be selling at a good price, but eBay put our greed in check. Plates exactly like ours were advertised at $4 and $5. Today they are still selling in that price range with an occasional one for $10. A square one like my sister’s is $20.
Our little collection is a microcosm of milk glass history representing patterns sold by the main manufacturers Westmoreland, Hazel-Atlas, and Anchor-Hocking.
The size of the plates made me think they were used for dessert, but I have learned that milk glass was never used for dinnerware. Milk glass was used mainly in vases, jars, pitchers, cake stands, cruets, salt and pepper shakers, and sugar bowls and creamers. Milk glass plates were purely decorative.
|My dining room wall of plates|
Our plates might not represent the most desirable objects from the past, but grouped together, they fulfill their intended mission to delight the eye. The lacy edge of each plate is interesting on its own.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.