Blue Willow

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Blue Willow is a China pattern that has been a common thread throughout my life. Both my mother and my paternal grandmother were collectors. The pattern is a beautiful one with a poignant story of eternal love represented in it artwork.

The story represent two young lovers – the daughter of a wealthy man and a man of whom the father did not approve. He forbid the lovers from seeing each other and locked his daughter behind the garden fence. The young lovers eloped, even though she was betrothed to the man her father chose for her. Her father chased after them. As they crossed the bridge, the gods, enamored with their dedication to each other, turned them into doves, so they could be together for eternity.

We ate on blue willow dinner plates almost every night for dinner. My grandmother’s was decorated almost enitirely in blue willow (including a plastic covered blue willow patterned couch and table lamps). Many times during my childhood, I read and re-read Doris Gates’ juvenile book Blue Willow.

I currently have only one piece of blue willow in my home. It’s a teapot that my father bought my mother while they were on their honeymoon. I plan to find the right place for it in the house, and keep my mother’s ashes in it.

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