Fort Myers Florida Weekly

My cup runneth over with – you guessed it – memories



I’ve never told my mother this, but it bothered me when she insisted on drinking coffee out of a mug at supper.

I mean, my grandparents were happy to sip theirs from the cups and saucers that matched Grandma’s Noritake dinnerware — Grandpa took his coffee black, thank you very much. Grandma preferred hers with a spoonful of sugar from the matching sugar bowl. And my mom? Sugar from the aforementioned sugar bowl and a splash from the can of Carnation milk.

Oh, well. I’d have at least poured it into the cream pitcher.

She insisted that her coffee stayed warmer in the mug, and she didn’t have to get up as often to refill it, either. After all, that kitchen was hot, especially in the days before central air conditioning.

For some reason, a properly set table, with matching accessories, no less, was important to me. After all, a chubby 8-year-old boy needed something over which he had some control, something that made life in early 1970s Florida appear to be at least somewhat refined.


And that need probably is part of what led to my love of china, silver and glassware, and, by extension, antiques.

But it goes beyond patterns and labels and degrees of quality.

It’s all about the memories.

I close my eyes and look back at the tables of yore. Grandpa sat at the north of the table. Grandma was to his right, at the west, in the seat nearest the kitchen. I generally sat next to her. If he was in town, my dad sat at the south end, and my mom sat on the east. My baby brother sat in his high chair between them, and my sister sat to my mom’s right.

Perhaps that’s why I kept the Noritake china — maybe even that mismatched mug. After all, with one clink of a dish, I’m seated in that Fort Myers dining room again.

All may not have been right with the world, but very nearly everyone who mattered was there. And those who are gone are missed.


A set of artist-signed Lenox demitasse cups and saucers.

These Lenox demitasse cups stand about 2½ high. There were six different fruits depicted in the set of 12. SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

These Lenox demitasse cups stand about 2½ high. There were six different fruits depicted in the set of 12. SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

Bought: Tag sale by Kofski Antiques, 5501 Georgia Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-585-1976 or

Paid: $30

The Skinny: We’ve all seen Lenox china, sold everywhere from TJ Maxx and Marshall’s to Bloomingdale’s and beyond.

Most of what we see bears a templated design created from a decal. There might be a bit of hand-embellishment, but one plate, or cup, or saucer is nearly identical to every other of that particular pattern.

This set of diminutive cups and saucers was painted by the artist Jan Nosek, who worked for Lenox in two key periods — 1903-1908 and 1939-1954. During his early years, Lenox was noted for its hand-painted, one-of-a-kind wares.

These cups and saucers date from Nosek’s second stint at Lenox, and you can see each dainty brushstroke on the pears, apples, oranges, cherries, peaches and plums that grace them.

These will be perfect for serving espresso, once I finally get around to hosting a dinner party. Or, even better, a palate-cleansing sorbet.

Whatever — they whet my appetite for more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *