Tablecloths or place mats, but not both

My grandmother never read a book on manners. She didn’t have to. She was raised by her grandmother, who was a lady of refinement.

They lived in a grand colonial house in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador. My grandmother attended a super exclusive private Catholic school. Between her grandmother at home and the nuns at school, manners were hammered into her, and she learned them well.

But my grandmother was wild. On weekends she went to visit her mother, who lived in the country. There, she got to spend the weekend having adventures with four male cousins. She wasn’t wild because she spent her weekends surrounded by boys. She was the wild one that got everyone else in trouble.

When she told me these stories I had trouble picturing her racing (and falling off of) home-made go-carts or stomping barefoot on mud bricks, or rolling down the hills in her lovely lace dresses. All my memories of her were of a very elegant lady, whose manners and general behavior were impeccable.

Of course, after she married and had 7 kids, she had to settle down and leave her wild ways behind. And she made sure all of her children also had very good manners. She knew this was important even though she didn’t have the wealth her grandmother had enjoyed. Furthermore, money was often tight.

My grandmother taught me the importance of good manners. Manners are critical when being considered for jobs or promotions, especially manners at the dinner table. However, I missed this one tip about tablecloths and place mats, because my parents didn’t use either.

Tablecloths OR Place Mats

My parents never bought any tablecloths or place mats. Once, my grandmother gifted my mom with a lovely white lace tablecloth. However, my father took no time to sprinkle it with tiny burns produced by cigarette ash from his chain smoking, including smoking during meals.

Have you taught your kids good manners?

Where I grew up you can’t get very far in life without good manners, including table manners, but the in the US it doesn’t seem to make much difference.

What do you think?

Share with me your opinions here using the reply feature.

Join the Feng Shui Dream Home Creation Lab

This week in the Feng Shui Dream Home Creation Lab we’re talking about tablecloths, place mats, silverware and glassware. How to choose them, how to use them. You can join anytime. This whole month we have been talking about creating happy dining rooms. Past topics – dining tables, dining chairs, etc. – are pre-recorded and ready for you to watch as soon as you join. You can also watch videos about other rooms we have addressed in past months, family rooms, living room, foyers, etc.

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