I came across this image and it immediately brought back the memory of my Great Aunt Margaret. We called her "Smunk" and don't ask me why. She was in her fifties when I was born, and as I never knew either of my Grandmothers, Smunk was it-and more. I grew up in a time when there was extended family around to help out. There was no such thing as day care centers-we went over to Aunt Margaret's. She lived in a "colorful" neighborhood; Portner Place in northwest DC (wonder if it's still there)? The 14th and "U" Streets corridor was a little rough back then, not at all like it is today and I was fascinated but a bit afraid of the neighborhood. Aunt Margaret didn't blink and therefore, we didn't either. From the time she got up in the morning, she was always impeccably dressed even to sweep off the front stoop. Dress, hose, pumps, hair done, the whole nine.
Anyway, her meals were wonderfully prepared and served on the "Blue Willow" china pattern that I'm sure everyone is familiar with. My first marriage, I registered for a trendy Mikasa casual china pattern that was out at the time. The marriage ended-I gave the china away. Older and wiser the second time around, I bought the Blue Willow. Some things are meant to last forever-like my memories of the only grandmother I've ever known: My Great Aunt Margaret McClurkin.