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July 4, 2020

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Ada and ONU in Miniature Blue China

(Dave Devier, Ph.D., attended ONU and lived in and around the community for 45 years. He taught at Northern for 15 years. Currently, he is President of Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, Mich. While in the Ada area, he and his wife Patty collected Ada/ONU memorabilia. He will write an occasional column for the Ada Icon describing some of their "finds" that pertain to the town and gown.)

By David H. Devier

This is the third installment of the history of Ada and ONU as depicted through the collectable pieces of memorabilia. The first two stories presented the Ruby Glass and fine china pieces which revealed various Ada and ONU scenes. This one shows the miniature blue china vases and dishes. 

The seven pieces shown depict the First Methodist Church and ONU’s Dukes Memorial Hall. I have been collecting these for more than 40 years and I have only seen these two buildings depicted. 

I assume that somewhere along the way a local dime store had these made in various forms to sell for most likely less than a dollar for ONU students, their parents, or just those with connections to the community. 

There are no markings on them as to maker or where they were produced as compared to the last story about the plates and cups that were made in Germany.

I think the most interesting thing about these pieces is their small size. As they are, they have no usefulness other than to set on a knickknack shelve or window sill. 

We perhaps do this yet today as we visit Cedar Point or Disney World. I have aminiature aromatic cedar treasure chest that I bought with my live savings of $1.50 at age 10 in Gettysburg, Penn.

But now that I think about it that was 50 years ago! No matter, this still happens today with 10-year-olds but it cost $6 to buy the even lowest quality knickknack. I am sure that most readers have some similar such useless but memory filled items in a box someplace. 

The way I find the old pieces that I collect is as the result of those memories of someone who has passed on being left behind. When I think of this as I gather these, I feel a special connection to the long ago memories of those who treasured them.