Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Franciscan Madeira, Secretariat, and a Garage Apartment


For years

I have given a home

to a million pieces


Franciscan Madeira pottery

and Tiffin Madeira crystal in avocado green.


I just added it up.

I have had these dishes for 40 years.

Avocado green may not be on

a 2011 color wheel,

but it certainly was

in the early 70’s.

In fact , if you wanted your

refrigerator, blender ,


or your toxic set of Club aluminum cookware to match,

that was possible too.


I have a million pieces,

but I can’t seem to let it go.

I used it daily in the garage apartment

where my husband and I lived the first year we were married.

Which reminds me… don’t young people

live in garage apartments anymore?

Every night I set the table with Franciscan Madeira,

Tiffin avocado green goblets,

and Reed and Barton Regency stainless.

My menus were color coded too:

something green, ( Del Monte)

something white, (potatoes or rice)

and something brown, (usually beef).

My Madeira was at the first dinner party my husband and I had.

I served

King Ranch Casserole

Ranch Style Bean salad

green salad

hot bread



I called my mother a million times that day for help.

These were all Ranch Recipes.

My Madeira was in that same apartment

when Secretariat won the Triple Crown.

That marked the beginning

of my husband and I watching sports on television


while I jumped up and down in excitement.

We still do that today.


I have made a decision.

These dishes aren’t going anywhere.

In honor of time and family and loyalty

and surviving moves and hearing little girls growing up

and all of us thumping around in the kitchen,

and in honor of all of my avocado green sisters in blogland

who might be reading this,

and in honor of Secretariat,

these dishes are staying right here.

In fact, I am going to start using them again.


Because as my father,

(and Father Time would say),

“We’re burning daylight."


I am linking to






Unknown said...

Do I EVER remember those days! And to think at one time I actually liked that shade of green, sort of. How fortunate you have saved it all for today's memories.

Happy St. Paddy's Day ~
Have a beautiful week ~


Anita Diaz said...

I LOVE avocado green, and in my world it's still in, lol!! I think all those 70s colors are pretty in with the orange shades too. I have the same glassware in a different shade of green, and yellow. My mom just got it for me last year.

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

I was a Harvest Gold chick!!! Not quite as popular as avocado green but still etched in my memories... Loved this post!!!!

Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

My very first "adult" home after getting married was a mobile home, in the middle of nowhere - outside of an Air Force base. The entire interior was avocado green ;-)

Deb said...

our first home was a mobile home also...I think kids now days do understand the living in a tiny place can really start a good foundation for a marriage...maybe that's why the divorce rate is so high..too much space....

Glenda/MidSouth said...

How well I remember the green, gold and burnt orange. When I bought this place in the late 90's it still had the original avocado green stove and fridge. Replaced the fridge immediately (gave away), and stove a few years later. Still have the gold counter in main bath and hope to replace it before to long.
Enjoy your day.

Marigene said...

Laura, green never goes out of style in my house, even avocado. The Madeira pattern is very pretty. I love that your menus were color coded, too!

Theresa said...

I love it and how romantic to use those same dishes that you used in the beginning:) Enjoy your memories! HUGS!

Low Tide High Style said...

I love this post! My mom had lots of avocado green stuff too, and just seeing it brings back wonderful memories for me! And I had to laugh because I made a reference to Secretariat in my latest post too. I love how in blog land we have this wonderful way of connecting even when we don't even know it!

Kat :)

trash talk said...

1. My kids have been told they're "burning daylight" all their lives...must be a Texas man thing!
1. If you start calling it Aquacate Verde...you could start a whole new trend!
3. I think garage apartments went out with separate garages!
4. This is the third time today I have heard Secreteriat mentioned. Do you think I'm being told to quit horsing around?

Karen said...

What a sweet posting! Phew! I was afraid you were going to get rid of your pottery. Love this!
Ladybug Creek
P.S. David and I lived in something like a garage apartment with a Murphy bed when we lived in Maine.

Brenda Pruitt said...

Oh, I love it! I don't care what today's "trends" are, I say we love it, we use it! Great story!

Nancy's Notes said...

Oh Laura, I had that same pottery, it was awesome and I did love it so! It's avacado green and a turquoise color too, or is it teal? Am I crazy? I do and did see another color- what do you think?

Sad, I wish I still had it. :( Yes, under duress, I gave it away one odd day, it was just under appreciated at that moment. Oh pooh.


Lisa said...

Heck Yeah! I say avocado green is the new black. :)

Bonnie said...

Go seventies! I had an avocado washer and dryer and club aluminum cookware set that we ingested the teflon from. Is that why you called it a toxic set?
My first sofa was a green and gold herculon plaid that was so durable if it wasn't out of style the fabric would still be good. I gave it to my daughters boy friend to use at college. It is good to remember the early days of marriage. I have all my original dishes too. I believe I remember you have platinum renaissance by Francisan also. My everyday was a zinnia pattern by Poppy Trail. I see it all the time in the antique stores. Orange, green and yellow aren't exactly the in thing these days.

Tracey said...

I so love this post. I reminds me of my mother's love of Avocado Green. I have to agree that sometimes it's hard to get rid of things that are out of style or "seem" outdated.... just wait, your dinnerware will become fashionable again and you'll be ahead of the game!

deb mills said...

i'm from the avocado green era too, laura. when we bought our first house i was so tickled that it had an avocado sink...it would match the avocado appliances i already had. lol! ah, memories...

Pondside said...

Avocado green shag carpet - harvest gold appliances....I remember it all well!

Sue said...

Loved your story, Laura~ Your dinnerware really isn't that obnoxious avocado green- in fact, I rather like it because it has a subtle undertone of gray in it. I say, definitely use it!
You know, things were different when we were first married.... We lived where we could afford it. No one contributed to our income- no enabling from parents.... So many young people today have grown up being handed everything and they continue to expect the handout even after they've left the nest. They often don't know what it is really like to struggle until they are economically stable. I think we were better prepared! Just my humble opinion.... When we got married in our senior year in college, we lived in a one bedroom guest house that rented for $75 a month. We thought that was so expensive! lol I used to think that living in a garage apt. would be so romantic. :-)

Unknown said...

Oh Laura, What a wonderful post. There is something to be said for keeping the things that evoke wonderful memories. Use them and cherish them. By the way, my 19 year old daughter and 23 year old son and his 21 year old girlfriend all love avocado green and anything 70"s. I search out green pottery for them all the time. You are right in style with the 20 somethings, so set that table girl!

Brenda said...

I was thinking about getting rid of my Madeira Pottery when I ran across your blog. We married in 1967 and Maderia was the pattern of dishes that I registered for. They are tucked away in a cupboard and haven't been used for years. You have inspired me to bring then out again. I think they are still beautiful and very cool. Thanks for the inspiration....I'm keeping then!!

kathyr said...

oh my gosh! Franciscan Madiera was my first set of dishes, from the early 70's, too. I only have about 10 pieces, and was amazed that you have so many left. Then as I read further, I see that you have raised girls. My boys were a little harder on dishes. We lived in the second story of an old house, student section of a university town, $115.00 a month-a fortune. Thanks for the memories.

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