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.
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 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!
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.
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.