My mother started it. She took a liking to Royal Doulton's Old Country Roses china pattern many years ago and would pick up a piece here and a piece there as we would ramble through antique and junk stores. It was a luxury then - pricey and hard to find.
Then the pattern became more readily available in the United States. David and Karen located a 4-place setting set one year at a garage sale and gave it to Mother for Christmas. Then a Royal Doulton outlet opened up at the outlet mall in San Marcos. I began adding to the set every year at Christmas. It became our set of china. I built up another 2 place settings, added serving pieces and some decorative pieces.
A couple of years ago I caved in and bought a set of the complementary flatware. Then I got the idea of completing a set of glasses from the depression glass period, the first of which we acquired from my grandmother Hodge. I scoured antique stores until I had 8 of the deep red, swirled glasses that look so nice with the china.
Ever since, I have been trying to find the matching pitcher. The odd one would come up on EBAY every so often, but I hesitated to risk having one shipped across the country. I decided I would just keep an eye out in the local area antique malls and hope that one would someday surface.
Today when I met Lana in Elgin for an afternoon of browsing the antique mall there, I told her about the red pitcher I was seeking. I had just visited the Elgin mall the week before, so I knew there was not one to be found there. I had just commented that I would find a picture and forward it to her so she could be on the lookout, too, when I rounded the corner and found myself face to face with the pitcher I had been hunting for so long. And there was a mall-wide sale in progress, so I even got a break on the price. I just knew there had to be something wrong with it, but a careful examination found no chips. It came home to join the collection in the dining room cupboard.
It is always satisfying to fill a vacant place in the puzzle. A small bonus find today can be seen in the upper shelf between the tureen and the bowl. A set of clear glass coasters with a gold edge that I didn't even know I wanted whistled at me as I passed them. They will look just great holding those red, antique glasses.
Lana, too, had some luck today and we left feeling the warm glow of successful antiquing and agreeing that we need more days like today.