Not until I got married did I really understand the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I am always interested to know what kinds of things are passed down from family member to family member. Some kids get furniture, some get jewelry, some get money…what is my inheritance? Dishes! Not really, however, considering that I am an only child, there will be many many things that I inherit from my parents that I will always cherish. That said, there are a few things that will always be my favorites one of which is our collection of Villeroy & Boch Acapulco dishes. All my life I have loved these dishes and I have no good reason why other than because my grandmother and mother had them. Like I’ve said before, I am a sucker for anything old or vintage. I’m not really sure what the story is behind these dishes but they’re old and you cannot find them anymore so that makes them perfect in my book!
My maternal grandmother, Polly Perry Marsh Brabham was the first to begin the collection. She has impeccable taste, and would be the only 70 year old woman that I would completely trust to pick out just about anything for me! She has a love for art, photography, and sculpture unrivaled by most and her home is practically an art gallery. For those reasons, we give her all of the credit for picking out these fantastic dishes that we all love. My precious mother, Lucy Marsh Sarrett whose taste is also perfect, was the second lover of these dishes. When she was about my age, they began her collection of the Acapulco dishes as they were becoming more and more difficult to find. As the search went on, my mom and my Mimi picked up what pieces they could find here and there and years later they have more than 20 full place settings between the two of them! Growing up I have memories of one of these two ladies in my life entertaining a group of people, which was a regular occurrence–a love I also inherited, and they would meet halfway in between Texarkana and Longview, TX (where my Mimi lives) to complete their collection of dishes depending on the number of people that would be coming to the party. It was a funny sight to see–like a grown up version of trading cards–they’d haul laundry baskets of dishes all wrapped up in dish towels from one car to the other. They’d attempt to figure out what they were exchanging when all the while they were so mixed up by this point that who knows what they actually began with. “Ok, so you’re taking 8 salad plates and 10 dinner plates and you’re leaving me with 7 mugs and 5 saucers. Is that right?” “No, no. It’s 4 salad plates and 4 dessert plates. And I think the rest is right.” “Oh well, we’ll figure it all out later.”
The summer before Mr. Fancy Pants and I got married I was home for the summer taking a dreaded Chemistry elective to try and get it out of the way before my final semester at college and spent my weekends at our wedding showers and writing thank you notes. My sweet next door neighbor, Mrs. Jill and some other wonderful women, through me a “kitchen shower”. Though I don’t have Marsh anywhere in my name, I am proud to be a Marsh legacy and on this wonderful afternoon, after years of admiring their place settings, I was finally welcomed into one of the Marsh traditions–my own set of Villeroy & Boch Acapulco dishes. My mom found 4 place settings of Acapulco for me on www.replacements.com. I was so surprised when I opened the box. I cried. Over the next week or so, I took them out of the box, set a place setting on the dining room table, took 10 more pictures to add to the 100 I already had, and wrapped them carefully back up and put them back into their box. I was so proud.
A few months after we were married, we went to visit my husband’s wonderful family in Rowlett, TX. His big brother and his wife, Amy, came in from Fort Worth to visit with us. Amy told me when she walked in the door that she had a surprise for me. Stephen, Mr. Fancy Pants’ brother, came walking in behind her with two large hat boxes. She was so excited about the surprise and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what she had found that made her so excited. I opened the box and peaked inside. It was FULL of Acapulco pieces. She had remembered the dishes from my shower the previous summer and found the dishes at a flea market. The woman selling them had 7 dinner plates, 7 salad plates, 6 cups & saucers, and a casserole dish all in perfect condition. Knowing they were expensive, Amy asked how much they were, thinking she’d buy me a cup & saucer or a plate for my collection. “$10”, the woman replied. Amy only had $8 and some change with her and the lady gave her all of it. I later went back to the website where my mom had found the dishes for my shower and tried to figure out what Amy’s gift to me had been worth. Over $2000.
This is why I love family treasures like these so much. What an incredible journey these have been on. Yes, they’re just dishes but they are so special to us Marsh girls. Anyone can give a gift, but how much more special when it has such a memorable story. One for which I am thankful for Amy for taking the time to remember something that was special to me, for my mother for sparking my love and beginning my collection, and for my Mimi, the Marsh matriarch, and her impeccable taste. I hope you all have special heirlooms that are as priceless to you as these are to me. If you ever come visit the Fancy Pants home, I promise we’ll eat dinner on the Acapulco dishes!