Colors behind glass in a small corner cabinet. Orange, and yellow and green and salmon and two shades of blue, one as soft as a cloudless sky, another as electric as an approaching storm. My favorite has always been the orange, though. It is red by definition, but orange to my eyes, round and smooth; such a happy color. I have been collecting these dishes since before Fiesta’s comeback. Flea markets, yard sales, my mother’s cupboards. When facsimiles started showing up in magazines and at Target, my heart sank. The colors weren’t right. Too pastel. Not as real. Forever to be popping up and mixing in and polluting collections of authentic Fiesta.
More than twenty years ago, I paid fifty dollars for a bright orange tea pot a friend had found at a flea market. I will never forget his excitement when he ran to tell me of the treasure he had found just two tables over. It was perfect. Continues to be the centerpiece of my collection. I’ve seen similar teapots in collectables and antique shops. Still priced at or about fifty dollars. Everything has increased in value except Fiesta ware. It’s too common now. Too hard to tell the originals from the copies. And copies are everywhere. I think you can still buy full place settings on line.
Not that I would ever part with a single piece. Those plates and cups and bowls mean too much to me. They are prizes from treasure hunts long ago, when a cobalt blue saucer or bright orange teapot still made my eyes wide with wonder. I carried those pieces home as precious heirlooms. Wrapped and packaged them with great care through every move and transition of my life. Discoveries have since become fewer and so much farther between. I don’t think I’ve come across an authentic piece for years, at least not since arranging my colors in their current cabinet.
Fiesta ware was, I’ve been told, dinnerware manufactured for and sold to working class folk. I have tried to imagine unknown sisters long ago bringing home full sets piece by piece. Purchasing a plate out of this paycheck, a cup out of the next. I close my eyes, concentrate, see families gathered around tables of color, children changed out of their school clothes, casseroles steaming atop trivets. I over hear conversations about factories and upcoming Fire House dinners and meetings of the PTA. The sun is always still shining; it is summer. It is always summer in my imagination, always summer behind the glass in my corner cabinet.
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Today’s free-write will be my final response to the prompts for Writing 101. I’ve enjoyed them, but it’s time for me to get back to the journey …