Grandma’s Depression Glass Dishes Brighten My Seder

2 Apr
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Depression Glass Dishes

Each year as I set my seder table, I cannot help but think about my Grandma Thelma, who died in 1981. Grandma had a collection of amber depression glass in the Patrician Spoke pattern.  It was not a complete set, but there were about 30 pieces: luncheon plates, serving dishes, a few cups and saucers and a creamer and bottom of a sugar bowl.The dishes were in our bungalow in the Catskills. After I married, in 1980, I claimed them.   I knew that they would be perfect for Passover.  Over the years I have purchased many pieces.  I now have a complete service for 18: dinner plates, soup bowls, small bowls, small dishes (bread and butter I think), luncheon plates, five serving pieces; two sets of creamer and sugar bowls; and the original cups and saucers from Grandma.

Depression glass was manufactured in the 1920s and 1930s.  It was often given away for free as part of a food promotion or to bring customers into a store.  I wonder if my Grandma had so much of it because my grandparents owned a bakery in West New York, New Jersey, that also sold some groceries.  This might have made it easy for her to collect the pieces she liked.

In fact, a cousin of my husband’s also has a collection of depression glass from her grandmother (my husband’s aunt).  Aunt Jean and Uncle Dave owned a grocery store in St. Joseph, Missouri. In my mind, I believe this clear glass set also came as giveaways that Aunt Jean was able to select and keep. Now her granddaughter is enjoying her dishes, as I enjoy my grandmother’s set.

Their patterns are very different. But that makes sense.  Over 100 different patterns were made in many colors, mainly clear, green, pale blue, amber and pink.  Although other colors like red and white were also manufactured.  Wikipedia states that most manufacturers were located in the Ohio River Valley. The website lists all of them and which patterns they produced.  My dishes were made by the Federal Glass Company

I have a few other pieces of depression glass.  In my years of searching for my patterns, I sometimes found a piece that just delighted me.  I have a cake plate in Madrid, pink, as well as a creamer.  It’s matching sugar bowl was destroyed years ago in a conflict with one of my cats.  That is the biggest problem with depression glass, it does break.  I do use them for my seder as well.

For my seder I use the dishes in my way.  The creamer and sugar bowls are filled with charoset.  The cereal bowls have become my soup bowls.  The bread and butter plates become small seder plates for each guest.  I use the small dessert bowls for an egg dish that starts my seder.

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My Rueven Glass pitcher, glasses and my parent’s seder plate.

But it is not only Depression glass that I place on my seder table.  I also have several pieces in the style of Rueven glass that were my parents. Some are originals, as he works in New Jersey, where my parents lived.   My art glass wine glasses, matzah plate and  water pitcher brighten my table.

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Miriam glass and Elijah’s glass

From my husband’s parents we have Murano glass kiddish cups that we use for Elijah’s glass and Miriam’s glass.  My in-laws purchased these when they were in Italy over 40 years ago.  I ended up with three in different sizes.

My Lenox seder plate was my parents.  They presented it to me over 30 years ago, as they came to me for Pesach, always arriving in time for the second seder.  They purchased an identical one for my sister, because they spent first seder with her.

Seeing these glass items on my table reminds me of our parents, my grandparents and the many wonderful seder memories from years ago.

Adorning my table with items from my grandparents, parents and in-laws brings me joy.  It promises me that traditions can continue.

6 Responses to “Grandma’s Depression Glass Dishes Brighten My Seder”

  1. Amy April 2, 2018 at 5:03 pm #

    When we were married in 1976, one of my parents’ friends gave us a Lenox seder plate as a wedding gift. We loved it but never had a chance to use it because our seders were either at my parents’ house or my in-laws. Then seven years ago I finally got to host a seder in our home and was excited to finally use our Lenox seder plate. It was made even more special because when my mother-in-law died in 2009, we had taken the many Lenox serving pieces she had received over the years—a platter, a few small bowls, a gravy boat, and a large chalice-type thing. So we use them all only on Passover. The small bowls for charoset and moror, the “chalice” for Miriam’s Cup, and so on. And, of course, the seder plate takes center stage on the table! So we also feel surrounded by Harvey’s parents at the table. (Fortunately my parents are still able to join us in person.)

    Thanks for a special blog!

    • zicharon April 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm #

      You are so lucky to have your parents with you! I truly believe that when we use items from our families we are keeping them alive.

      • Amy April 2, 2018 at 5:27 pm #

        Yes, and also when you tell their stories, as you do with your blog.

      • zicharon April 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

        Exactly. I keep them alive for their descendants to know. In any case I hope I do.

  2. atticsister May 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    Loved your post and thank you for the prompt. It reminded me of a set of amber Madrid I once sold which gave me a prompt to write this blog post. Enjoy! https://atticsister.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/depression-glass-amber-madrid-pattern/

    • zicharon May 3, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

      Loved this. I have one piece of Madrid. In pink.

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