My love of blue and white china started in childhood when I read the book “Blue Willow,” by Doris Gates. The story is about Janie Larkin, a little girl during the Dust Bowl Era who possesses nothing except her grandmother’s blue willow plate, representing Julie’s yearning for a home. Somehow even then, I resonated with that yearning, which I have come to understand as the universal longing for God. The cobalt blue also spoke to me of Mary’s veil, the imaginary place I would hide when I was afraid. Many years later, while browsing through an antique store, I saw a whole set of blue willow dishes displayed in what seemed like a celestial light. I couldn’t stop gazing at them. Despite having very little extra cash, I purchased one plate and displayed it in my home, a secret icon of the heart. One by one, I collected and was given many more pieces. Today, serving dinner for twenty people is no problem! Even the chipped and cracked are used and the broken are saved for possible recycling. All connect to a precious sacred history.