The Tradition Comes Full Circle

Over three years ago, I wrote about one of the coolest traditions my parents did for us growing up. Each year, everyone in my family would create a plate. Wait, what do you mean create a plate? On a random night each year, my mom would place circular pieces of paper in front of us. We would then have the freedom to draw whatever we wanted on it. My mom would then ship our artwork to a factory and a few months later they would come back to us in plate form.

We would draw designs on a circular piece of paper and then my mom would send them off and they would come back in plate-form.

As I described in the blog post from April of 2014, this “china” was pretty much exclusively what we ate off of growing up. When us kids left the house, my parents quietly “retired” some of the plates from circulation. My mom was stashing them away for safe keeping so one day she could give our respective plates to each of us when we were settled and had families of our own.

This passing of the torch occurred for me last week. I arrived home from work and waiting on our doorstep was a big brown box. My mom had shipped me my plates.

Last week, this box arrived with the plates I created during my childhood.

I tore open the box and carefully took out the contents and placed them on the kitchen table. In front of me was a stack of plates created by yours truly ranging from the year 1988 all the way through 2000. As I transferred the new cargo from the table to our cupboard, I crossed my fingers that Sid wouldn’t mind these plates, many of them covered in scribbles, mixing with the nice china we received as a wedding gift.

A portion of the plates my mom sent us can already be found in our cupboard here in Myrtle Beach.

Well, to be honest, I actually didn’t think that. You see, Sidney openly endorsed the idea of my mom making good on her long term plan to finally pass on the plates. As I mentioned, my parents put away a good portion of the plates but they also let some “live on” in the cupboards. When we would visit Spokane, Sidney was always tickled when she would “have the honor” of eating off one of them. When we were visiting last month, we expressed to my mom that we were ready to take them off her hands.

When Sloan gets a little older, I wonder what her reaction will be to eating off her dad’s plate from 1991, a full 26 years before she was even born. I hope she finds them as cool as we did and I also hope we let Sloan create her own set of plates as well.

What will Sloan think when she starts eating off her daddy’s plates?

Growing up, we didn’t have the newest Nintendo system or hottest toys in our house but we did have the best dinnerware. I thank my parents for taking the time to do such a loving and lasting activity with us. After thousands of meals served on those plates when they were in Spokane they now have a new shelf life 3,000 miles away in Myrtle Beach. Can’t wait to serve up some country cooking on them! Don’t Blink.

Making Plates to Mark My Childhood

Growing up in my parents’ house I definitely didn’t eat off a silver platter. Rather, I ate off of plastic plates decorated with sloppy drawings and scribbles. I promise the food my mom prepared on a nightly basis still tasted great though.

Throughout my childhood my parents did a cool thing for us kids. Each year they sat us down at the kitchen table, put a piece of paper in the shape of a sphere in front of us, and with markers in hand we got to go crazy drawing whatever we wanted. Although I should point out that we didn’t exactly go about the task with reckless abandonment. We knew very well that a few months down the road that piece of paper would come back in the form of an actual plate that we would get to eat off of. Because we were making something that we would take pride in for years to come we took the advice of our parents and drew on a couple practice sheets before drawing the real thing on the special paper.

This is just a portion of the plates stored at my parents' house that the three of us kids created throughout the years.

This is just a portion of the plates stored at my parents’ house that the three of us kids created throughout the years.

This annual event was always one of the special evenings of the year for my sister, brother, and I. We looked forward to it and bugged my parents constantly on when the night would come to create that year’s plates. Of course after we created them we then bugged our parents obsessively on when they would arrive in final form through the mail. Yep, our fascination with the plate process lasted at least a good six months out of every year.

Me and my mom with some of these special plates.

Me and my mom with some of these special plates.

But while the anticipation always lasted for the better half of a year the use of them has lasted almost three decades. Like I said, we didn’t create these plates just for souvenirs to look at. We created them so we could eat off of them. And eat off of them we did…every single night. Although we didn’t have the newest gaming system or swimming pool to impress our friends with we did have the coolest dining ware! My buddies always got a kick when they would sit down for dinner with us and they would have a plate staring back at them with artwork created by the Resers.

I wouldn’t be completely honest if I said the plates didn’t cause a couple headaches though. You could always depend on a fight or two breaking out on a weekly basis between us kids on what plate we would eat off of. My mom would set the table on a nightly basis. Although she would try her hardest to satisfy us there were the times when certain dishes were in the wash and we were not happy with what we got. I was never too keen about eating off my sister’s gymnastics themed plate from 1997 just in the same way that my sister preferred not to dine off of my 1988 plate decorated with green, purple, and brown scribbles. Fits were sometimes thrown and attempts to quickly trade out plates while my mom was not looking were orchestrated.

Although I hope most people understand that I wasn't even two yet when I created this, I do realize it is not very appetizing to eat off of.

Although I hope most people understand that I wasn’t even two yet when I created this, I do realize it is not very appetizing to eat off of.

(BONUS: The most coveted plates we wanted to eat off of on any given night? The ones my dad created! Yes, my parents also created plates of their own and my dad is a fantastic artist. His plates always turned out great).

Some of the plates yours truly created (at no time have I ever claimed to have even a speck of artistic ability).

Some of the plates yours truly created (at no time have I ever claimed to have even a speck of artistic ability).

With us kids now grown up my parents use actual nice china most of the time but several of the plates we made are still in circulation in their cupboards. The majority of the plates, however, are boxed up in a storage closet. Here comes the cool part…

My mom’s intention was to always give us the plates we made when we left the house to start our own lives. For whatever reason I never received my allotment while living in Montana. With my move to Myrtle Beach now just less than a week away my mom plans to send my plates with me to the east coast. I might try to nicely halt that transaction though. To be completely honest I was as inept at art back then as I am now. I think I rather eat off of a blank canvas each night rather than endure the constant reminder of my artistic short comings. Plus could you imagine what a date would think if she came over for dinner and saw my very primitive drawings…on her plate no less? Oh well, whether I take them or not my parents definitely provided us kids with a unique way to mark our childhoods by. Don’t Blink.