Cleaning a tallit and the Queen

Between having a week and a half of house-guests followed by a killer cold that seem to have stopped up most of my brain cells, I wasn't doing a whole lot of sewing for a couple of weeks. I just didn't trust my ability to sew for clients when my brain was in a complete fog.

I wasn't idle, despite my state of semi-stupor. I washed my son's tallit. My son looks a whole lot like my late father. My son also smells like my father.   The scent was getting a little strong so it was time to wash the tallit.
 I did lots of cooking including making this massive lasagna made with three huge but ever so thin home made noodles.
 After I washed my son's tallit, I did some repairs, retied  the tzitzit on two of the corners and ironed the tallit.

And now for something completely different.

My parents arrived at their pulpit in Halifax, NS just a few weeks after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. One of my parents congregants gave my parents
this plate. For my parents, who did not see themselves as subjects of the queen, this plate was a  charming curiosity. They used to use this plate for matza for dairy meals during Passover.

For me, and for my sisters, unpacking this plate before Passover was something of an event. We had an assembly line of  dishes passed from their shelves from the basement  and put in their place in the cleaned kitchen with all of the shelves and drawers relined and ready for the holiday. The emergence of the queen from the basement was sometimes be accompanied by the singing of Hail Britannia, or God Save the Queen.

My husband and I sort of accidentally ended up with a collection of royal memorabilia. (How we amassed this collection is a long story with many parts that takes place over a couple of decades, but all I won't bore you with that story at this moment.)

My parents viewed our  growing collection of royal memorabilia with that same bemused  feeling they had towards their own coronation plate. My parents used to tell me that the queen plate was my yerusha, my inheritance when they died.

Twenty years ago, as we were putting away the Passover dishes, my father dropped the coronation plate on the cement floor of the basement and it was completely smashed. My father was really upset. He kept saying "It was your yerusha!". Honestly, I wasn't THAT upset. I thought it was kind of funny that the poor queen has been smashed on the basement floor. My father's regret was real and deeply felt. Occasionally over the years he would bring up how badly he felt about smashing the queen. Each time I would assure him that I was really and truly fine with the loss. Despite my reassurances, my father still felt awful "But it was your yerusha!".

My husband and I knew that my parents felt badly about the loss of the queen. So we bought them
this coronation plate. The plate itself is lovely. The image though make the queen look an awful lot like my Aunt Freida. It wasn't really the right plate, but it stood in for the real plate. 

A while later my parents gave us  this coronation plate to make up for the loss of my promised inheritance. We all knew that this coronation plate too was just not the real thing.
The quality of the earthenware was lacking. The plate had none of the charm of the original.  All of the players in this game were aware of a certain amount of silliness in all of these coronation plates.  Yet, as people who knew their china, we were all aware of that substitution of these two lesser quality coronation plates were just stand ins for the real one. the two not quite right plates together did not quite equal the smashed plate.

After my mother died I inherited the replacement coronation plate we had bought for my parents. Now we owned, not one, but two mediocre coronation plates. 

A week or so ago one of my sisters sent an email to me and to my oldest sister noting the sale of the real coronation plate on Ebay  for a really good price. She offered to buy it for me.  I declined because I already had two coronation plates, and why should I have a third, especially because I really don't care a whole lot about the royal family.

My other sister called and told me that she was writing me a check for the plate NOW. I had no choice. I had to get the plate. I caved and bought the plate. My sister's check arrived a couple of days later
 The plate arrived the other day. It really is the best one. I joked to my sister that my yerusha has been replaced.

I am completely aware of the complete dopiness of my parents and sisters and I all getting caught up in the drama of the coronation plate, the right coronation plate. On the other hand, I am deeply, deeply touched that my sisters, both of my sisters, so wanted this broken piece of our past to be set right.


  1. Well, at the very least - beyond the wonderful family story that came from all that - the Queen can still be admired for not giving up! 65 years as Queen and still keeping her promise to fulfil her duty, even though she is 90 years old.
    And so can you use one plate each for a special holiday? Passover for the best one...and so on.


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