Storytelling Sunday: The Stuff of Life

You know how it is.
You have too much stuff.
Don’t deny it, you do.
Stuff you might consider a family heirloom.

What do you plan to do with it?
Where does it live right now?

What will happen to it when you’re gone?

I’m asking these questions because The Brainy One and his sister have begun the emotional task of clearing out their dad’s personal belongings.  It’s never easy and always upsetting.
And it got me thinking.
This beautiful tea service came from Japan in the 1930s.  That adventurous great uncle of mine actually brought home two complete tea services, one for his older sister and one for a brother.  I believe that they were wedding presents.  The tea set in my possession belonged to my great aunt, who left it to my mum.  But as mum knew I’d always liked it, she passed it straight on to me.
It lives in a box under the stairs.
Because I have nowhere to display it.
My great uncle didn’t bring two tea services half way across the world to live under the stairs, did he?
What will happen to it when I am no longer here?  I like to think that The Boy Child will give it to his future wife, but who knows?
Maybe they’ll drink tea from it.
May be they won’t.
What will they do with it?
And so we come full circle.

**This post is brought to you in association with Sian’s Storytelling Sunday.**

30 thoughts on “Storytelling Sunday: The Stuff of Life

  1. It's a lovely tea set and what an adventurous man. My Mum has a tea set which was given to her parents as a wedding present. It's sat in the loft for the last 16 years. They've just had insulation put in their loft and the tea set is now in the garg. They also have nowhere to display it and neither do I. Seems such a pity.


  2. Look at it as rainy day money. There will be a rainy day and when it happens you can sell all the stuff and use the money to stop it raining. The only really precious things, apart from people – but we are talking of things right. The only really precious things are those that cannot be replaced, photographs and negatives. all the rest is just rainy day money.


  3. What a fantastic tea service, it really does need to see the light of day. I used to hide things away to keep them safe, and hoarded many boxes of my parents' things for a couple of years but then I realised that actually using them would bring me happy memories and much pleasure so they came out, went into the unit in the dining room and are used. I'm always super-careful with them so hopefully they will still be safe for years to come.


  4. It is absolutely beautiful. When I was a little girl we had some old Sunday school Prize books from the 1930's, about missionaries in China rather than Japan; but that is what it made me think of immediately. Very evocative. And very thought provoking – definitely not an easy task you are all faced with x


  5. It's a beautiful tea set – perhaps you should start of traditional of having afternoon tea on special days. My mum has a teaset which we got out for my 40th Birthday to have tea – my girls loved it!


  6. What a beautiful tea set. I love the inside of the cups. My Grandma always believed that we were all special enough to use the 'good' stuff every day. My brother and I broke so many bowls that there are now only two breakfast bowls in the set. I have the set now and although my Grandma would probably be horrified I use it only for special occasions. Maybe when the kids are a little bigger I will bring it back out for everyday use … or maybe not 🙂


  7. I am very much a believer in using my 'best' on a regular basis and then if it doesn't fit my 'have nothing in your house that you know is not useful or you think is beautiful' mantra. Hope you can start having some tea parties – perhaps on special occasions or when friends come to visit. We like throwing tea parties with scones and cakes and special dishes make such a simple thing a treat.

    Grandma & Grandpa are starting that sorting to downsize – having helped three previous sets of elderly relatives do that is where my use it mantra came from – one great aunt had her favourite wedding presents still in the original packaging 'for a special day' :sigh:


  8. Oh thanks for sharing your tea set with us. Items are all the more special when we have a memory of a loved one to go alongside it. And who could resist that set with the surprise inside the cup.


  9. twice my parents downsized and each time it was difficult as my dad was a collector of many things (decorative plates, comic books etc). They both claim to be quite happy now without all their “stuff”. Whatever you decide to do with this beautiful tea set, you have some pictures that tell it's story 🙂


  10. What a beautiful tea set – we have one from Japan in the 40s. We also discovered three complete sets of china in the attic when cleaning out my in-laws home. We decided it was ok to use them anytime . . . and we do! I'll be using the large set for Easter dinner this coming weekend, and maybe I'll pull out a few of the others & use during dinner this week, too.


  11. I have never seen a face in the cup bottom, it is a beautiful set. I love the idea of you bringing it out and having special teas. I am one for picking a non special day and decided to make it special just because 🙂 Funny as we are purging and reorganizing the Chosen One and I have many of these conversations.


  12. oooh I do love your tea set. Its funny reading your story this evening as my mum hooked out her tea set and special plates on Sunday to remind me not to get rid of them when she's gone!! Sadly i don't own any tea sets but if i did i know that i would have to use them. there's nothing nicer than tea in a china cup. I enjoyed your story.


  13. It's a lovely tea set, Ruth! I've never seen one with an image in the bottom of the cup before. Shame that you can't display and/or enjoy using them! Maybe someday you'll have a china cabinet where they can be on display!


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