Birthday Mystery

For my birthday this year, my old friend Warren, who I don’t usually exchange gifts with, sent me a package. As I opened the box, I saw the “EBay” logo tape. Warren is an avid scavenger of all things EBay and I wondered what odd treasure he had discovered.

Inside the well bubble wrapped package was a small salad or cake plate with the Ethel Walker School motto, “Nullas Horas Nisi Aureas” and the school symbol, a sundial. The border of the plate had an intricate design in blue and gold, not our purple and gold colors. Never in my years at EWS had I seen any such plate or pattern. In the seventies we used that white heavy ironstone which was so popular at institutions of all kinds.

I showed it to Russ and translated the Latin for him “no hours unless golden” as I remembered it. I was the poorest possible Latin student when I was a sophomore at EWS so I memorized the motto in case I was ever asked what it was. Never once in my years there did we ever discuss what the hell the motto meant. I have come to learn that basically it is a charge not to waste time. Ethel Walker girls were experts at wasting time, we were teenagers after all.

I called Warren to ask him the details of exactly how he had found this rare plate. He told me it was advertised on Ebay as an Ethel Walker School plate. Since there are no makings indicting the connection to the school we surmised it must have been stolen from the dining hall by a student, because how else would someone know it’s connection.

What neither of us could figure out was when were these plates used. So all my Walkers friends with mothers or grandmothers who went to Walkers can you show them this picture and ask if they used these plates. I would love to know why era it was from.

As for the motto, I have obviously never lived up to it because I have spent countless hours in my life wasting time. The only other Latin I can recall from class with Mrs. Dumbrow was, “Semper Ubi Sub Ubi” translated literally means “Always where under where.” Not the right where, but a motto I actually have lived by.

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