A Tea Story: Blue Calico Transferware
A Tea Story~ Blue Calico Transferware
When I was first married, I discovered my favorite color… cobalt blue, and incorporated into my decorating throughout the house. After we moved back to Minnesota, I was going to school and taking care of my parents. Life was very hectic, and then our daughter came along. For us, going for rides in the Minnesota or Wisconsin countryside was our way of escaping the confines of the city and busy schedules. We would pack a lunch, get in the car and go for a drive. One day, on a day trip to Red Wing, Minnesota we discovered a wonderful china shop, and that’s when I spied it…cobalt blue and white dinnerware. The English pattern was ‘Blue Calico’ and I fell in love with it. There was one drawback, it was more than what we could afford on our budget, and I dreamed of having a lovely set to serve company during dinners and special occasions.
Years passed by, and we were approaching our 30th anniversary. I can say that after 30 years of buying gifts, we were both at a loss what to get each other. Our custom was to go out for a lovely dinner, or I made a special meal for us to enjoy at home. After dinner, we exchanged cards and gifts.
The weekend before our anniversary, we were shopping at Marshall’s where we each went our separate ways. John headed over to the shoe department and I went to look for sheets and towels. A few minutes later, I spied John in the housewares section of the store and rather curious, began making my way over in his direction. Just as I turned into the aisle, he spun around with a large dinner plate in his hand, along with a huge grin on his face. In his hands was a plate, not just any ordinary plate, but a plate I had always wished for….Blue Calico! My face must have registered surprise, delight, and awe…he began laughing. “Where did you find it?”, I signed in huge sweeping gestures. John stepped aside and I could see he had filled the cart with all manner of dishes and the sale price was incredible, compared to the retail price. That’s when he asked me, “How many sets do you want…8, 10, 12? We’ll have to see if we can find more pieces at other stores.”
For rest of that Saturday, we drove around the Twin Cities buying every piece of Blue Calico we could find. I recall being concerned we might get into an accident and all of the lovely dishes packed into our car would be smashed. When we reached the Roseville store, we were close to completing a service for eight. Imagine our relief when we discovered the store had a huge inventory of Blue Calico. We filled up our cart to complete a service for eight, along with additional serving pieces. I made my way to the checkout, and John lagged behind. The girl at the register remarked how pretty the dishes were, and I told her how many years I had been waiting to buy the set. She double wrapped each dish in paper, and carefully stacked them in my cart. Heading out to the car I noted…not only did I have my dream china, we could easily afford a service for eight!!
The backseat was overflowing with bags of Blue Calico, and as I stood next to the car contemplating where to put more dishes, John appeared from around the front of the car…pushing another cart!
“Surprise! I got you another set for eight! Happy Anniversary!”
The next weekend was our 30th anniversary and I made a very special dinner for us. The table was resplendent with blue and white calico dishes, lovely roses, antique linens, glassware and candles. In fact, candles were burning throughout the entire house that evening, bathing the rooms in a soft, romantic glow. The highlight of the evening was dessert. Every year I make my favorite wedding cake recipe~ a white cake covered with white, butter-cream frosting. In candlelight, it looked more beautiful than ever before, served on plates with deep cobalt blue and white…my anniversary china.