For all the teacups in China.
St. Joseph's Monastery
While home, we didn't really do much. I collected some of my old toys from my grandmother's house, and sorted through (more old) stuff left behind at my parent's (although most of it was my sister, Leah's). We visited my step-dad, baby sister, the two remaining grandparents, and a few friends. I also finally had the time to sort through Grammy's old photos, and scan as many as I wanted.
Despite how little we did, it seemed as though we were constantly on the go. But isn't that just the way family vacations go?
One thing I decided I wanted to do while we were in town was to visit the Convent Gift Shop.
Many years ago, I'd walk through the convent on my way to a friend's house, or if I was just out to kill time (small town, we had to make our own fun).
It's a beautiful place, lovingly maintained by the Sisters. St. Joseph's Convent was founded in 1852, the first Benedictine convent in the US.
Pond behind the Convent
I'm no longer a Catholic (despite my grandmother's protestations), but I still have a soft spot for the nuns. Heck, one of Matt's best stories revolves around a trip to my hometown, where he saw a nun on a backhoe!
So, we pulled into the church/school parking lot, and followed the signs to the gift shop.
A serious case of "d'oh!" hit me the next day, when I realized I should have asked the Sister if I could take her picture...she was dressed in full, and fairly traditional, garb.
The gift shop was made up of about four rooms, with...as expected...much in the way of religious-themed gifts, books, etc.
But in the back room, we found a second-hand section. Toys, old books, Christmas ornaments (I grabbed a box of small glass ones), stuffed animals (Alex has a new friend, who I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of in the future), jewelry (clip-on earrings! Just like Grammy wears), and dishes and servingware.
I picked up a very nice silver cake server, not caring it was inscribed with Merry Christmas...that was one solid piece!
But what really caught my eye was a set of dishes, with a creamer and sugar bowl.
An incomplete setting, with just the two serving pieces and five saucers and six dessert plates, I was smitten, nonetheless. And with the bargain price of four dollars for the entire set? I had to get them.
After we got them home (miraculously, with no casualties), I began wondering about the dishes. Where did they come from? Who made them? And could we find replacement pieces?
I found this mark on the undersides, West End
what's with the inverted swastika's, anyway?
and Matt did some research.
Based in Ohio, founded at some point in the 19th century, merged with a few other pottery companies in the 1920's, and that combined company went bankrupt in the mid-thirties. Apparently, there's just not a lot out there about this company.
So now we're intrigued. Has anyone else come across this company, or this pattern? I'd love to learn more about it.
Even without knowing it's history, I thought the dishes a pretty good find. Now? I'm thrilled to have them.
Of course, I'd love to get my hands on a few teacups!
(odd complaint: almost all the photos I took while home look a bit funny...there was just too much sunshine!)
Just for the fun of it, here's a little quiz about my hometown. I don't expect you to care, or get any of the answers correct. I just thought I'd toss it in.
Tagged with: Food and Drink + China + Travel + Shopping + Pottery