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The word got out, and the dishes came in

Eileen Danch is an ecstatic shopper, and it has nothing to do with hitting the mall the day after Thanksgiving.

Her joy came from finding (and buying) a matching set of treasured dishes she'd inadvertently given away to the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries in her move last year from Port Richey to Spring Hill.

She'd been scouring the thrift stores for them ever since, to no avail.

They were special to her: her father had sent them from Japan in the 1960s and she'd moved them around the country with her through the years. They were pale yellow with fluted edges. The covers on the tureen and sugar-creamer bore pagodalike handles.

Searching eBay, Danch had found the soup tureen and sugar and creamer set being offered by a Port Richey man named Troy Spencer. She ordered them. When Spencer, who had picked up the pieces at a Goodwill store, heard her story, he refunded her money.

The find and gesture pleased and touched Danch, but it was a long way from rebuilding the set.

After the story of Danch's search appeared in the Times on Nov. 21, she got a phone call from a resident of Timber Pines. The woman had just the pattern, 1776 Independence by Interpace Japan.

She was willing to sell. Danch was willing to buy.

The set included seven dinner plates, eight each of cups and saucers and dessert dishes plus serving bowls.

"I can't believe it. I'm so excited," Danch said after the telephone call. "I have goose bumps all over my arms. I'm so happy."

The find was doubly miraculous because it came on Danch's 71st birthday.

She paid $100.

The Timber Pines woman, who didn't want her name published, said she had the dishes for probably 30 years. The native Indianan who retired to Florida four years ago said she was prompted to sell the set to Danch because "I was ready to get new ones."

She said she did just that the following day.

Two happy shoppers.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@earthlink.net.

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