Sometimes There’s a Story…

I knew it was a “mistake” when I put it in my basket. Wedgwood blue Jasperware pieces like this do not sell for much. I know this. But other than needing a bath in warm sudsy water, it was in good condition and somehow I found myself buying it.

1960s Wedgwood heart box with Ulysses staying the chariot of victory.

I think I was drawn to it because it reminded me of various trips to England. While I loved growing up in New York state and I adore California (which has been my home for over three decades), I think of the UK as my “soul home.” I want to live in an 18th century cottage, worship in a 16th century church and drink in a 17th century pub. That’s my fantasy!

I think I could be happy here!

I was a junior in college the first time I set my dainty feet on English soil. It was January and chilly, but gosh what a fun trip. I was taking an undemanding poetry class in the morning and most of our time was given over to roaming around the city and environs. We even had a few totally free days and some friends and I took a day trip to Boulogne, France. We journeyed by a wonderful Harry Potter-esque train to Dover and then took a hovercraft across the channel. When we arrived we got whistled at by Frenchmen and rolled our eyes but secretly we were pleased!

Me and a Tower of London Beefeater in my quintessential ’80s down vest.

Even the alley view outside my Salvation Army hostel window intrigued me.

Later I would take my oldest daughter, then 9-years-old, on a special trip to England. We stayed in a B & B in Highgate which turned out was run by the parents of the movie director Christopher Nolan! (“Momento” had just debuted in Hollywood.) His dad was a newspaper editor and his mum a svelte blonde flight attendant. In our room there was a huge stuffed toy (a walrus or penguin I think) that Christopher had played with as a child.

Love a bit of pomp!

Besides taking vacations to England, I had two business trips there as a technical writer. I remember on my first biz trip visiting the hotel’s tiny gift shop. I had spotted a small Wedgwood Jasperware box that I liked. But the box had obviously been in the shop a long time because it was both very dusty in all the fancy parts and had greasy fingerprints on the bisque from being repeatedly handled. Ick! I asked the clerk if she had a clean box in their inventory. She looked at me as though I had just walked in with poo on my shoes and said in a condescending tone, “This is the only one we have.” I remember thinking “And you expect someone to buy this? Good grief.”

Well, needless to say I didn’t buy it. But maybe that’s why I bought this heart box today, decades later. A bit of redemption.

Not that I plan on keeping it a long time. Still it reminds me of happy times in England and the young woman I was. Hopefully I’ll get back there again soon.

Happy hunting,

Karen

7 comments

  1. Haha, I have a 80-ish vest in blue and red.
    Did you stay in Highgate, North London? It’s not far from where I live and we often wander up there through the Hampstead Heath.
    I think sometimes we have to do as our heart wishes… at least once in a while 😉 So it’s good that you finally got yourself a cute Wedgwood! I bought myself some 18th C man vests, quite fancy, and I can’t bring myself to pass them on.
    I love your old pics and memories. I can relate to “the young woman I was”… sigh
    Sending you hugs and good vibes for your soul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gabriella. Yes, it was Highgate, North London. 😁 We had a lovely visit to Kenwood House and there was an Italian restaurant where we sat facing the window and watched the double deckers go by. It seems so long ago now.

      Yes, doing as our heart wishes is good! Some day I’ll get back to England!

      XOXO,
      Karen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my, how small the world can be… We love Kenwood House. I wonder whether that Italian restaurant might still be there.
        It would be lovely to meet, should you plan to visit England 🙂
        Have a lovely day ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was 13 the only time I was in England, and when we were in London my parents rented a furnished apartment sort of hotel place for a week. I loved London! My parents even let me walk around the corner to a bookstore by myself. I have a trinket box of Wedgwood someone put on the free table at a school my kids went to. Interesting depictions. I based a poem on them, “Ode on a Wedgwood Box” with apologies to Keats!

    Liked by 1 person

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