My parents married in October 1954 after meeting for the first time in July of 1954. They never talked much about their courtship and exactly when in that time period they became engaged. Daddy was already active duty Air Force and home on leave. Mama was working at and taking classes as the University of Mississippi when a cousin introduced them. My siblings and I never thought to ask any other details either. But it was a short engagement before they sped away in their Dreamboat (a 1954 Mercury) to Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska.
They had a small, but nice wedding in my maternal grandparents home; it was all they could afford. My mother used every penny she had saved for tuition payments on her wedding. One thing she did do was to visit the local jewelry store and select china, flatware, and stemware patterns. Her town was small and, as in many small towns, the jeweler maybe had a few samples to display, but used catalogs and brochures for brides to select their wedding patterns. After the wedding and all gifts had been purchased then the shop would order the merchandise for the bride.
Just a few days before the wedding the little town of Eupora turned out in number to honor the bride with a wedding shower. My mother was well loved by her community and all were thrilled that she had found her handsome Lieutenant and was going off to live a life of adventure with him!
She received mostly practical things as that was the custom of the day, but a few people did give her pieces of her patterns. Looking through her wedding book (given by one of the local drug stores) it seems that most of the pattern gifts were for her pottery pattern, California Ivy by Poppy Trail. She received a few plates of the china, some of the stemware (which she referred to as crystal), and a few pieces of the flatware.
In time, she would order a few pieces of the china through the Base Exchange, probably when they had a little extra money, but never completed the set. She always said it was because it was discontinued, but I now know it was still being manufactured. I suspect that it was the 12 place setting of Noritake Blue Bell purchased while they were in the Philippines (ordered through the Base Exchange directly from the factory) that stopped the acquisition of the Lenox. Just to note, I have both the pieces of Kingsley and the entire set of Blue Bell!!
I don’t ever recall Mama using this china and she rarely used the Blue Bell – for heavens sake it was for “special occasions” and had to be hand washed! Most of the years I was growing up, the pieces of Kingsley were packed away. I only saw them a few times, but I loved them and love them even more now. I have a place setting in my china cabinet and the other pieces are packed away, but I have plans to use them (like I do my other pieces) from time.
While the pattern and colors may seem 1950-ish, they appeal to me and seem timeless. Strangley, I do not care for the teapot, coffee pot, and creamer and sugar pieces of the pattern, but perhaps in time I will come across some affordable pieces that complement the Kingsley and add them to my collection.