Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rosenthal “Maria Weiss” dishes and memories of my mother

I miss my mother every day but today, nearly eight years after her death, I miss her a lot.


Omiandme72Omi and Carol Xmas 01Abrighter

Today was the day when I finally fully inherited Mom’s Rosenthal Maria Weiss dishes.  I rarely saw these dishes on a table when I was growing up because they were used for only the very fanciest of occasions.  But I often admired them as they sat on the shelf in the built-in hutch of the dining room in our turn-of-the-century Berkeley home.  I wish I had a photo of Mom’s Rosenthal dishes in use during my childhood.  It would almost certainly have been taken during a Bavarian Christmas Eve dinner (a tradition I still continue with my family today), weisswurst and kartoffelsalat on the beautiful white hexagonal plates, and eager children, ready to eat quickly because we knew that presents would be next. 

After Mom’s death, Dad packed up all the Rosenthal and called to let me know that Mom had wanted me to have the set. I was thrilled, but knew that there was no way they would fit into our small, already-stuffed kitchen.  But we have a new, larger kitchen now, and today I finally brought Mom’s Rosenthal from the wardrobe in the garage where they’d been stored for so many years…


…into the new kitchen, where I carefully unwrapped each delicately wrapped dish…


…and laid it on the dining room table. 


In the box with the dishes was a brochure written in German, which I had picked up in a Rosenthal store in Munchen when Mom and I went to Germany together in 2001.


I couldn’t help thinking how much Mom would have liked helping me – and how much I would have loved for her to be be there.  (Which is silly because if she were still alive the dishes wouldn’t be at my house!)

Some pieces brought back such powerful memories of my mother – her voice, her touch, her smell.  Maybe she was with me after all… somehow. 

What is this piece?


It’s the stunningly beautiful coffee pot!  I absolutely love this piece!


I remember when a coffee cup chipped and Dad painstakingly fixed it, so careful to glue each tiny piece back onto the cup.  It never looked quite right again, but it had become the “special” cup.


Every so often, stores like TK Maxx would sell Rosenthal knock-offs and both Mom and I would grab them up, almost as if they were as much a treasure as the originals.  But really, no way!


This is the insignia of the true treasure:


I’m not even sure what this is:


Something to use at afternoon tea, perhaps?

Look at these itty-bitty espresso cups, just an inch or two high:


Eventually, all the pieces had been unwrapped and placed on the table.


This is by no means a full set.  There are missing dinner plates, extra cups, and partial sets.

This lid, for example…


…belongs to a butter dish that was broken by an un-named grandchild not so very long ago.  Maybe I can find just the missing piece somewhere on the internet.

butter dish circled

When we were designing our kitchen, I specified glass-doored cabinets specifically with Mom’s Rosenthal in mind.  And look!


I’m not sure how much we’ll use these dishes, but I feel better just finally having them out of the box and in our home.  I think Mom would have preferred this, too. 

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jennifer said...

I love this story! I have been carrying around my mom's bone china for years and just a couple years ago I finally unpacked it out of boxes and packing paper. I don't have a beautiful kitchen cupboard to display it in, but it's now in a nice serving hutch so I can get it out right away.

And check, I believe they have that pattern and lots of available miscellaneous pieces (if "Maria White" is the same as "Weiss" :)

Carol said...

Oooohhh! Thanks for the suggestion, Jennifer! And so glad you're using your mom's china, too!

Rositta said...

I too have a set of Rosenthal, the Romance pattern and I adore it. Now I use it more frequently than when I was younger. My son is waiting to inherit them but I think I will give them to him soon... ciao

Kathrin said...

I have inherited my Omi's original "Maria Weiss" and my Mutti gave me a set as a wedding gift. I believe you do have the Tea pot and the Tea cups. The coffee pot is leaner and taller. The tinny "dish" with the holes is used, when you pour the tea out of the tea pot into the cups to catch the tea leaves. Tea drinkers, like myself, prefer loose tea over tea bags. It just taste different...
I do believe you have some Rosenthal retailers in your area.

There are quiete a few web sites that sell Maria Weiss. I have to check them out myself :))

You always make me cry when you write about you Mom. Love the cabinet.. perfect fit for the dishes.
Sorry for the long comment.

jennifer said...

Hey, me again, and China Finders also has your pattern. Search on "Maria White" and a bunch of pieces come up.

Yay for the Internet (and local retailers like Kathrin found); you ought to be able to add the pieces you need. I have found pieces of my mom's bone china as well (Castleton/Devon pattern). Nice there's a source for this discontinued stuff.

Carol said...

Thanks so much, Jennifer and Kathrin! The butter dish is (gasp) $92, so I'll hold off, but I might buy some dinner plates (2 for $20 on eBay!).

I know -- this internet thingy kinda rocks!

vailian said...

You can get those patterns quite often here in junk shops (it is a pretty popular design).
We just started clearing out my mother's house (we moved her into assisted living last month) and there are some lovely old china things. But you know what I miss? the plastic dishes we had as kids. They were "Melmac" and were guaranteed unbreakable: as a family of 8 we tested that guarantee very thoroughly. They were indeed well-neigh indestructable.
All lost though in the flood that took my mother's house 15 years ago...

vailian said...

I found a picture here:

Goofball said...


Heidi said...

My mom has been collecting Meissen china for sometime now and has quite an extensive collection. I know she wants me to have it when she passes so I'm in no hurry to inherit. I think it's lovely though to have and USE the things you got from your mom/grandmother. What a wonderful way to remember them. One thing my Oma and now my mom always taught me though, is to USE your good dishes. Even on a day that isn't any special occasion because you should use and get pleasure from the things you love. My Oma lost everything she owned when they fled from the Russians during WWII. She said there were things she never used because they were too nice and that now she'd never be able to use them and what a waste that was. My mom always jokes that if a piece gets broken that means it's one less piece that has to be washed!! :) My husband and I live by that rule and use our good china, even with the children, sometimes simply for Sunday morning breakfast. So my advise is to use it, love it and enjoy it. Oh, and my mom always says that the food tastes better on beautiful dishes too! :) I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your beautiful family!

Carol said...

Thanks Heidi! I love this advice! And I will follow it. We did use the Rosenthal on Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

The coffee pot you show is actually a tea pot and the large opening cups are tea cups while the smaller higher cups are coffee cups...

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