Bowl and Pitcher, Together Again

by Claudia Menzel

This is a story of how two family heirlooms, separated for over 70 years, finally have been reunited.

During the Depression years, many young families occupied rental farmhouses in rural Wright County. A family might stay for a few years before purchasing a farm of their own. This was the circumstance for Rudolph and Mabel Lundquist. They rented an 80-acre farm between Monticello and Buffalo on what is now County Road 37. The farmhouse had no electricity, no running water, and no central heat. When they left that farm, they took what belongings they had with them. That included a pretty china washbowl and soap dish.

Another family, the Williams, soon moved in, also renting from the absentee owner. They occupied the farmhouse for several years during the early 1940's. They noticed that a large pretty china pitcher had been left in the house.

In 1946, my parents, Spencer and Mabel Kopff, purchased the farm. My father, being a carpenter, did some much-needed repair work on the farmhouse. But if was still without central heat, water, or electricity. The Kopffs made friends with the Williams family who helped with the move. The pretty china pitcher was still in the farmhouse and the Williams family did not claim it, so it became one of Mabel Kopff's possessions.

As time went on, the bowl and soap dish because a family heirloom for Mabel Lundquist, and she eventually passed it on down to her daughter, Audrey Murray. A similar progression happened in the Kopff family. Mabel gifted the pitcher to her daughter, Claudia Menzel.

Because the Lundquists and the Kopffs were long-time friends, the "Bowl and Pitcher" story became a topic of conversation. In the mid-1990's, a Lundquist granddaughter, Amy Murray, contacted Claudia. Her purchase was to obtain the pitcher as a surprise for Audrey, her mother. Claudia was not ready to give up her family heirloom.

Move ahead to Christmas, 2016. Amy was home from her teaching position in Las Vegas, Nevada. She attended a Christmas tea with her parents at the Wright County Historical Society. Claudia was there, and Amy mentioned that she would still like to acquire the china pitcher for her mother.

After Claudia arrived home, she thought about the bowl and pitcher being separated for over 70 years, and decided that it was time that they were united. So she contacted Amy, offered the pitcher to the Murray family, and the exchange was made. Hopefully, the bowl and pitcher set will remain family heirlooms for future generations.

Published December 22, 2016