Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fun with Dick and Jane

As I stated in an earlier post, my Mom, a longtime, now retired first grade school teacher, stayed up late nights grading papers because "The children needed to know what they needed to learn."  She drank coffee out of an old Blue Willow mug. Whenever I see this pattern, I think of her dedication, passion, and commitment to teaching, and especially to teaching her students to read, and to love reading.  Recently Mom gave me a few pieces of that Blue Willow set prompting me to imagine a table, and Ode to Mom and Reading Teachers everywhere.  Hence, "Fun with Dick and Jane" Remember those readers from the 1950-1960s?
Tablecloth, napkin rings and liners made from fabric remnants (tutorial here).
Johnson Bros Asiatic Pheasant plates and soup bowls sit on top of a simple white with raised dot plate. Repeating the dots intended to offset the formality of the china.
When Mom retired years ago, I found these two old primers in a school trash bin and knew they needed to be retrieved as a part of history. This series is now considered controversial because they didn't teach phonics (Mom did anyway), relying on children recognizing common words like "look" and "up" (a reading philosophy now back in vogue), and because "Father" wore a suit everyday and went to work, while "Mother" wore dresses, hats, and gloves and stayed home cooking, taking care of Dick, Jane, and Spot.  It was a "Father's Knows Best" world, but it never bothered me even if it was my mother who worked everyday to support our single-parent family. As far as I was concerned any book was worth reading, and delightful.  To this day, book, cereal box, comic book, or eReader - bring it for the best entertainment ever.
Mom's mug filled with brand new #2 pencils, and her special dishes written on a slate chalk board (cheese board) - Soup, Chicken (fried), Mashed Potatoes (with homemade gravy), Cole Slaw, Rolls, Apple Pie (with Vanilla ice cream, of course).  I didn't have room to add Deviled Eggs, but they would be there too.
Found the flowers at Ralphs for a bargain price.  TIP: After a big holiday, check for leftover bouquets ($3.49).  Score!

Marks on the dishes.  Love to investigate the history of all my pieces.

Table Credits
Plates and bowls - Johnson Bros Asiatic Pheasant, Rose Bowl Flea Market, two years ago
Charger plate - Solis, Pier One, two years ago
Platter - Blue Willow, England," gifts from Mom
Mug, pitcher, juice glasses, "Japan," gifts from Mom
Water goblets, Dollar Store, two years ago
Flatware, Home Goods
Linens, homemade
Flower pitcher, Goodwill $4.99, two years ago
Books, Fun with Dick and Jane, Paularino Elementary School rubbish

Apples, Michael's 
Flowers, Ralphs Easter leftovers $3.49

I'm linking with these parties!  Join me!

If you can read this, thank a teacher.

Do you remember a special teacher?  Leave a comment and let me know.


  1. It is wonderful!
    Ladybug cottage and grade school librarian

  2. I just love this! Such a wonderful tribute. I so wish I had a copy of Dick and Jane. Kudos to your mother! How wonderful to think of all those little ones who were lucky to have her as a teacher. This is such a pretty, pretty table. I was a teacher too. So was my mother, my brother and for a short time, my daughter.

  3. Sweet table, CJ. What a lovely tribute to your mom! I love the cloth and napkin rings. I have to back and read your post on them!

  4. This speaks to my own childhood so eloquently. I love it. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Minter, also set the tone for my love of reading throughout my life. The night before I started kindergarten, mama came in to find me crying. "What's wrong?" she said. "I don't think that they're going to let me go to kindergarten tomorrow. I can't remember how to make a 'q' ". Thanks for inviting us for a peak. Cherry Kay

  5. I loved reading how this tablescape came about. What a wonderful way to honor your mother with your memories and beautiful tablescape.

  6. Blue willow is so timeless, as well as all the blue and white transferware. I only have a few of the Liberty Blues plates, which I love and would love to add to it. I too am a voracious reader, and I remember Dick and Jane and Spot. We must have a balance in reading don't you think, both phonics and memorization. Joni

  7. I wanted to let you know that I have chosen your wonderful blog for the Liebster Award. You can refer to All the Pretty Dishes for info about the award.

  8. Hi CJ,
    What a unique tribute table to your Mom's career. I love it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am now following you.

    Hope you are having a great weekend.

  9. I am your newest follower..we were both nominated for Liebster Blog so that is how I found you and I like your blog....I look forward to reading your posts..



Thanks for your encouraging messages! No anonymous messages. Thanks!~CJ