When I was a kid growing up back in the
mid 1940's - 1950's my mother would often take me out for lunch
or dinner downtown to any of the many Chinese restaurants on Mulberry
Street. Mulberry Street was Newark's Chinatown in those days. After
we finished eating lunch, or dinner, my mother would invariably
put one of the Chinese tea cups, or saucers, or dishes, in her purse,
put her finger to her lips, and say to me - SHHHHHH! - with a mischievous
twinkle in her eye. When I'd say to her "Mommy, don't do that"
she'd say "They expect you to do that." By the time I
was a teenager I had a hard time counting the number of green, red,
or blue, Chinese tea cups, saucers, or dishes, we had in the closet.
I don't think that we ever used them, but they were always there.