Happy Birthday to my Mom

My Mother’s Italian Platter


My beautiful mother’s birthday is this week and I’ve been thinking about her more than usual. I don’t have ~ or need ~ many mementos from her earthly life, because the memories of my life with her have always filled my heart and soul. I am who I am in the best ways because of her influence and her total devotion to her family.

My flower blog is the perfect place to share with you the story of one treasured heirloom that belonged to her. Its presence reminds me daily of how much she loved flowers and all things beautiful. It was a love that she passed on to me, for which I am eternally grateful, for this love has in many ways charted the course for some of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.


Mom found this enormous platter (I had to hold it in a photo so you could see just how big it is) in Italy during her travels with my dad around 1950.  It comes from a picturesque town called Bassano del Grappa, northwest of Venice in the Veneto region of Italy.

The style of painting on the platter is unique to this area and I encourage you to search “Images of pottery from Bassano del Grappa, Italy” for some gorgeous photos of the town, the area, its history and the amazing ceramic artworks that are produced there.

I often imagine the expression on my mother’s face when she saw this delightful beauty for the first time, and knew it was meant for her. I also can imagine the expression on my father’s face when she told him the news ~ that it was going home with them to America!


I’m sure he thought she was crazy, but with my mother’s gentle powers of persuasion, this huge, beautiful platter found its way across the Atlantic Ocean to our home in California where it hung outside our kitchen door on the back terrace all the years I was growing up. I barely noticed it back then; it was just a fixture, a part of my childhood surroundings.

Much to our grief, Mother was suddenly called home to Heaven in 1965, and as we were attempting to sort through her earthly belongings, there it was ~ that enormous, beautiful plate. That was a very long time ago, and although I really don’t remember any of the details, somehow, eventually, it came into my possession. And by then I was finally “old enough” to appreciate it for the spectacular creation that it is!

This ceramic platter, spilling over with the vividly-colored stylized flower images that only the Italians can paint, now hangs on my bedroom wall where I see it when I wake up every morning.

It speaks to me of my precious mother’s love, and of her abiding presence with me always. It reminds me daily that my mother loved flowers in every form; in fact,  she introduced me to many varieties of beautiful flowers as a child, when she would point them out to me and teach me to call them by their names.


I have to show you the back of her platter, too, because it makes the story that much more fascinating. I have no idea how or when this happened, but there is a hairline crack at the top of the plate, almost imperceptible from the front. It very likely may have cracked during the shipping process all those decades ago.

My mother must have been very upset about this development, but thanks to some strips of duct tape (yes, it has been in use since the 1940s!) the day was saved. And for as long as I can remember, this gorgeous work of art has been held together on the back with duct tape ~ I’m quite sure the very same strips that were placed over the crack by my mother’s (or my father’s) hands so long ago.

I’m very grateful that something so ordinary as duct tape came to the rescue and saved this incredible work of art so it could become a family heirloom.


Love you, Mom! Happy Birthday.


14 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to my Mom

  1. Oh, Sydne, this is the most beautiful post! I loved it so much. I didn’t know your mom, and this gave me such a sweet glimpse into your young family! I remember first meeting you and Jon in Idaho at Grandpa Bitter’s birthday party. I’m printing this out to save in my family treasures. Love you!

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone


  2. Sydne, I love your posts and look forward to them. You are truly talented! I remember your mom with great fondness. She always seemed like such a poised and gentle lady. You take after her. Love you, Diane Skidmore Lund


    1. Diane – It is an absolute treat to hear from you!! I had no idea you were following my posts. Do you see them on FB or are you signed up on my website?
      Thank you for the loving words about my mom (and me ;o). It is how everyone who knew her remembers her. I miss her so much.
      Love to you, my dear – and hope we can catch up some time!


  3. Thanks dear sister for this memory that was lost to me… and isn’t it wonderful that we have so many photos of her. I do wish, however, that we had thought to record her voice… it is often the first memory we lose about a loved one who goes on ahead. And I love your blog, it is truly beautiful! Thanks for doing such wonderful arrangements of such lovely heaven-sent gifts.


      1. I am dabbing at tears–such a beautiful tribute to your mother and so very touching to me your comment that you hardly need many tangible reminders of her since she is always with you in spirit. Am so humbled to have seen that in actual fact a few years ago on one of your visits…I love you both tremendously.


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