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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

here's looking at you kid . . .

~ as photographed through a rounded glass cabinet
- The Hotel Frederick, Huntington, WV ~

when I was a young girl, I would sit and stare with curiosity at the figurines in my grandmother's china cabinet. There was a woman churning butter and a colored man without all his clothes on. They hardly fit in with the nicer dishes and yet there they were, displayed right beside the ornate carving plate and serving bowl. At this particular grandmother's house, children were not allowed to wander around, or for that matter, climb up on a step-stool to get a better look at the mountain woman and colored man. When grandma passed away I found that these had been given to me. A Mountaineer Woman and the legendary John Henry. I had no idea that they once housed liquor, and I have no idea why grandma kept this particular set. What I have figured out is why they were in the china hutch. They are a "Creation of James B. Bean Distilling Company" and are "Genuine Regal China". It is stamped on the bottom of each. Clearly, something I could have never appreciated seated in my chair.


  1. My son did a report on John Henry a few years ago and before that, I had never even heard of him. I wonder if you have these displayed in your china cabinet, or how you feel about them being left to you?

    1. Joscelyne - they are indeed displayed in my china cabinet on a shelf dedicated to my parents - dishes, pictures and whatnots. My grandmother always had a cool exterior, but deep down she loved her family and recognized little things about us. I suspect somewhere she (or perhaps my mom) noticed my fascination. Funny thing is that my brother has acquired quite a collection of these decanters - so apparently he too was intrigued.

  2. It is amazing what we think as kids and come to know and understand as adults!

  3. Wow .... priceless!!!! How wonderful that you now have them!

  4. Love the look of the first photo! How nice for you to have reminders of your time at your grandma's. Treasures for sure!

  5. Love the butter churn, we had an electric one when I was a kid... loved that taste!

  6. How great that you kept them! Beautiful memories come with these figurines!

  7. Such treasures! Memories evoked, and the sense of connection to her parents, grandparents, can give things meaning so far beyond the objects themselves! I love how you write about these things, and give them their own little place in the sun (or flash!)