my Fourth of July goal. The bonus was that there were three additional pieces to add to my new Southern Potteries collection when I returned to the antique shop on the day it finally was open.
If strike one was forgetting to check the shop on the evening when we were first in town and strike two came when I drove back on the Fourth of July—a twenty minute drive to the north of my home—then I’m certainly glad that my third trip was a charm and not my chance to strike out.
The prize was the platter and serving bowl I had spied while in town on another errand last week—two pieces of Blue Ridge china made at the company where my grand aunt Chevis Davis Chitwood Kyte once worked as a decorator in Erwin, Tennessee.
The unexpected bonus was the discovery of a serving piece and salt and pepper shakers in an entirely different pattern, also a design of Southern Potteries, Inc.
While collecting pieces of Blue Ridge China may be all the rage in some circles, that is not why I succumbed to the notion of becoming a collector. My purpose is not to learn everything there is to know about the many unique patterns which sprang from this creative enclave—and believe me, there are some who are well versed in every permutation—but simply to have and to hold a piece of my own family’s heritage. When I look at these faded pieces with their crackled glaze, I see not the product lines of a commercial entity, but the handiwork of someone just like my aunt, working where she used to work, doing what she used to do, day in and day out in her own hometown.
If genealogy as a concept could ever become converted to something tangible, this is it. Getting my hands on those pieces of china is like reaching out to touch someone in my family whom I never had the chance to know.