So, where can you find 3,456,000 square inches of pickers’ paradise? Little Mountain Unlimited in Little Mountain, South Carolina, of course. Just how long does it take to search through the 100+ booths and display cases? I guess that depends on the picker. Not having the luxury of unlimited time, we did the best we could in about 2 hours and found the find of a lifetime, at least for me.
In order to truly understand the significance of this treasure, you need a little background information. In the 1940’s my mother went to St Francis Xavier Hospital School of Nursing, thus beginning her long career as a registered nurse in OB/GYN helping to usher many a newborn into our world. One afternoon, she went home with her friend, Mary. Little did she know that she was going to find the man who would become her husband soaking his feet in the living room that day. Not exactly the most romantic first encounter ever, but, as they say, the rest is history.
Missy and Bubby (as they were later dubbed by their first grandchild) tied the knot on August 28, 1949 and headed to Myrtle Beach for their honeymoon. Unbeknownst to them, there had been quite a storm brewing in the Atlantic, eventually making landfall in Florida as a category 3 hurricane and continuing northward into South Carolina as a tropical storm blowing their honeymoon plans a bit off course.
Among the wedding gifts the happy couple received was a beautiful glass cake plate and matching compote both etched with a delicate grape leaf and floral vine pattern. This beautiful duo graced many a party and holiday table over the years.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the late 1970’s and that beautiful cake plate was once again at the center of a party table. As the evening wore on, the plate found its way into the sink waiting to be washed and dried, when out of the blue a large bag of frozen water (a.k.a. ice), tossed into the sink, collided with this special plate and shattered its peaceful existence.
At that point, the plate was already over 25 years old, so it was no longer “in stock” anywhere. We didn’t know the pattern name or the glassmaker and so a futile search began. Any time one of the Three Sad Blisters (as the Great One refers to my two sisters and me) entered any vintage/antique store, we would search through all the glass plates hoping to find a close match. Even though this tradition continued for decades without success, we wouldn’t give up.
We found a few that were kind of close but just not quite right. That is until my visit to Little Mountain Unlimited. We had already made our way through most of the store and were heading down the homestretch, when I spied a set of shelves holding a vast array of glass plates. Now, what are the chances, after more than 35 years of searching, that I was going to find “the plate” here? I’m sorely lacking in math skills, so let’s just say slim to none. Would you believe that not only was it there, but it was 50% off as well? You would have thought I had won the lottery!
Arriving in Charleston late that afternoon, as Missy unwrapped the plate, the smile on her face was priceless. It proved that we had, indeed, found “the plate.” With a 60+ year-old brain, I expected my recollection of the pattern to be a bit off, but it was a perfect match. The lonely little compote now has a companion once again. We know better than to tempt fate. Neither the plate nor the compote will be left anywhere near a sink ever again.