From Mickey Mouse to Moonstone (Turning on a Dime)

Life is nothing if not unpredictable. As I type this, a Disney World Magic Band is sitting next to my laptop, along with a lanyard heavy with trading pins and an unused luggage tag. It’s September 11th, the day after Hurricane Irma made her way up Florida’s Gulf Coast from the Keys to south Georgia, and I was to have been on a plane bound for Orlando. It’s time for my annual pilgrimage to Disney World, and I’m still a little stunned that I’m not there.

Orlando International Airport is closed, and Floridians are just now taking their first tentative peeks at what happened to their towns as they sought shelter elsewhere. I feel for them. It was a scary storm, and the long drudgery of cleanup is stretching into their future like a long walk up a steep hill. Like many around the country, I’m sending lots of prayers their way. Had life taken a different turn, I may have been one of them. A few years ago I was interviewing for a job with Walt Disney World and had already been checking out Orlando apartments when they called to let me know that they had decided to go with the other candidate. The path we all travel down is strange and winding indeed.

I just glanced at the national news; the sun has come out in Florida. Tomorrow will be a new and drier day, and I’m glad.  

Meanwhile, today I found myself without a blog topic. My posts this week were going to be about Florida. I had a full itinerary of stuff planned that I was anxious to share. (My next trip to Florida isn’t until March, 2018). But I guess the lesson of this week for all of us is that we have to be agile and prepared to turn on a dime.  So…hooray for Hobnail!

Pieces from my mom’s Moonstone collection. I’ve mixed in a piece of my own; the gold-rimmed dessert plate is one I purchased as a set in an antique store many years ago when I was living in Topeka. Incidentally, that dessert set hung on my dining room wall for many years after I moved to Kansas City.

In the house in which I grew up my mom had a china cabinet full of Hocking Moonstone Hobnail dishes. If you’ve spent any time in antique stores and flea markets, you’ve seen examples of this pattern: it’s clear glass with raised bumps (hobnails) that are a milky, opalescent white. Many of the pieces also have a milky white rim.

Moonstone candlestick holders. I rarely use pillar candles, but the next time I do, I’d like to use these holders. They’re just the right height. Also, I love how girly they are!

This pattern, which dates back to the 1940s, has fascinated me for years. The name of it, for one thing, is perfect: Moonstone. It sounds like something rare and precious, and despite the fact that these pieces are readily available in the antiques marketplace, I thought they were rare when I was a young girl looking at the random stacks of them in the china cabinet. There’s a bit of mystery to its color: Is it white? Yes, but blue, too, in certain light, and pink as well. It’s a shade you can’t pin down, elusive and strange, like the weird lamé fabrics planetary princesses on the old Star Trek television show might have worn. And, perhaps, like something from the Moon.

A moonstone vanity box. Is there anything more feminine than polka-dotted glass?

I think Moonstone is also the most dainty, feminine pattern of glass I’ve come across. In addition to dishes, bowls, several versions of candy and nut trays, tumblers and custard cups, there are beautiful little vanity boxes of various sizes in the collection as well.

A Moonstone place setting. One of the great things about this pattern is that it can be easily matched and combined with other patterns, and it takes a variety of colors well. Imagine this pattern with a blue napkin, for example, or even metallic gold.
A detail shot of a covered dish. This one has a very slight pink-ish tinge to it.
A bud vase and a divided cloverleaf nut dish. I should have taken a better picture of the nut dish; it’s one of my favorite pieces.

That concludes my homage to Moonstone dishes. If you are looking for a pattern of depression or post-depression-era dishes to collect, this is a good one. The pieces are relatively easy to find, so it wouldn’t take long to acquire a full set (I admit, I don’t know how many pieces Hocking Glass actually made in this pattern), and the prices are still pretty reasonable. Well, and, of course, this pattern looks great on a table!

Continued best wishes for Florida. I can’t wait for my next visit. Six months seems like such a long time to wait!

Until next time…

Jennifer Passariello



    • jkpassariello

      Thank you Mary! Yes, it’s too bad about vacation, but it just gives me something to look forward to next year. The poor folks in Florida are having a much harder time of it.

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