This Family Has a Special Attachment to Their Fine China Dishes, and the Reason Will Warm Your Heart

The thoughtful 'Ladies Home Journal' photographer gave this family a gift they'll cherish forever.

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In 1948, Ladies Home Journal selected our family for its “How America Lives” feature. The reporter and photographer arrived at the end of May and followed all of us (Mom, Dad, my brother, sister and me) for a week, recording our every move. Everyone was pretty excited about it, especially in our town of 6,000, where things like this just didn’t happen.

Since the article would be published in late October, we had to pretend it was already autumn. The reporter asked our mom to cook and serve a complete Thanksgiving meal. She told Mom to “go all out” and use her best holiday dishes for the feast.

Mom’s face fell. She didn’t want to admit that our best dishes weren’t exactly the best, let alone suitable for a national magazine. While the reporter continued with her interview, the photographer quietly excused himself and slipped away for over an hour. When he came back, he had a large box, which he placed on the floor, telling Mom to open it.

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Her face lit up as if it was Christmas. Inside was a beautiful set of dishes, a service for 12 trimmed in gold, made by the Homer Laughlin China Co. There was even a soup tureen, something we kids had never seen before. Mom was near tears as she lovingly handled each piece.

When it came time to serve dinner, Mom walked slowly from the kitchen with the lovely new platter, which contained a small “turkey” (in reality, a large chicken).

Mom cherished those dishes and made sure they never saw the light of day unless it was a major event, though they were a must at every Thanksgiving.

I carry on the tradition, using the dishes for our Thanksgiving feast. But I serve a real turkey, and I serve it on the real Thanksgiving Day.

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Originally Published in Reminisce