Friday, May 29, 2009


My grandmother used to have a set of Melmac dishes. They were a muted sea foam green color. Only a few pieces remained in the set by the time I was old enough to remember. Melmac- for those of you who may not know- was popular dinnerware in the 50's and into the 60's. They were made from a substance called melamine that you could mold into any size or shape and dye any color. In the 40's a company called American Cyanamid Corporation harnessed this and began churning out a line of dinnerware. Part of its popularity had to do with its durability. It was touted as indestructible. This was where the joke came in for my family. You see my grandmother broke Melmac. I heard more times than I can count the phrase being uttered..."she even broke the Melmac." when referring to my grandma's latest debacle. And it was true. Even in her younger days she was not a graceful woman. She grew up on a farm in West TN in the 1920's working in the fields with her brothers- not a delicate life. She was a kind, compassionate, loving caregiver to everyone under her roof. Yet if it could be broken- it didnt stand a chance in her home. One didnt dare give her a present of something that could be broken.
In the days following her death and we were cleaning out their home ... I would venture a guess that 99.5% of all the items in her china cabinet were chipped or glued back together. They threw nothing away, if they could reassemble it with super glue- it was placed back together no matter how poorly. A product of the great depression.
I don't know why I've been thinking about them a lot lately. They've been gone two years now. Every now and then I close my eyes and in my mind I walk through their house recalling where everything was. I find myself remembering helping her hang clothes on the line and him in his garden tending the veggies. Sitting on the back steps snapping beans into a bucket. I don't want to forget anything, even the Melmac.

1 comment:

Michele said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory...