I don't have a lot of memories of my grandparents when I was a kid, mostly because I seem to have the ability to forget what happened the day before yesterday quite easily.  One thing I do remember, however, is helping Grandma in the kitchen and her teaching me about how to put meals together.  I'm pretty sure the first time I picked a ripe tomato off the vine, covered it with basil and salt and then ate it like an apple was in Grandma's kitchen. I know the first time I caught a Rainbow Trout on a fishing trip, then brought it home and learned to clean and fry it, it was in Grandma's cast iron pan standing next to that 1950s-era refrigerator with the pull-open handle.  I'm also fairly sure that my ability to look in the kitchen cabinets, see only three unlike ingredients - say, an onion, sardines and a melon - and figure out how to make a meal using all of them came from those summer afternoons with Grandma in the kitchen.  

Grandma had a set of Franciscan Desert Rose dinnerware and every meal was served on it in her house. She wasn't much for the kind of China you'd put in your cabinet and only take out once a year at Christmas (and then spend a good deal of time washing off the dust it had been collecting since last Christmas). As the story goes, they got them in some sort of sweepstakes promotion, or at a gas-station give away in the 50s.  I'm quite sure most of these aren't original pieces. Here and there over the years, something would break and someone would find a replacement at a garage sale or thrift store. Once, years ago, right after I moved to D.C., I saw a whole set of them in a thrift store and I almost bought them but then decided not to because I lived in a small apartment and the guy I was dating convinced me I didn't have room in my kitchen. I could kick myself for that now because I've never seen another piece in a store out here since. 
I loved Grandma's dishes because they reminded me of her: simple, useful, practical, classy.

Franciscan Desert Rose was produced in the US from 1941-1984, in England from 1985-2003, and in China and Thailand since 2004. There is a variance in color between these time periods.