Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wicker Dale - Part One - "So Ridiculous of You"

Wicker Dale

Part One

"So Ridiculous of You"

            It has been quite a bit of time passed since the incident that prompts this essay on
            In New England
            For old china
            Came through.

            What ‘came through’ then came after quite a bit of time had passed about what it is that prompts this incident to be about
            In New England
            For old china.

            Let me say that it is forty years?  No: It is more accurate to say fifty years.  And that does not include me considering ‘the first time’ and ‘touch my lips’.  What does that mean?  It means that before the times of the incidents (I’ve noted TWO incidents) of my essay, I had, myself, long before, had my ‘the first time’ with fine English earthenware china.... NOT ANTIQUE fine English earthenware china... but actually (and back then) rather new ‘fine English earthenware china’ ... ‘touch my lips’.  I am actually ‘be sure’ that I may say that I had that (first time & touch lips) well before (“from birth”) these two incidents.  Is that how I “know”?  It... could well... have something to do with it.
            But maybe not.

            What is there to ‘know’ anyway?  There isn’t much, in fact, to ‘know’ if all you know IS ‘fine English Earthenware china’.  One’s lips... touch nothing else.  Of course then there’s a problem.  Do your lips... touch... what?  And you do not know what lips touch?  Your lips touch?  Or is it worse?  One’s lips touch what one
            Is fine English earthenware china?  Yes there is a problem there.  Just because, for example, it (a specimen of English china) says ‘Made In England’ (often shortened to simply ‘England’), this does not mean... “it is”... fine English earthenware china.  The English will be the first to support my... suggestive observation.  If the reader is worried about what is ‘in the breakfront’ that they ‘have been using’... meaning that one ‘does not know’ (“for sure”)... one should be: “Is this a problem?”.

            When the first incident of this essay took place... it was so long ago that it now seems to dream.  Things are different now then ‘back then’?  Not really... as long as one stays in New England... in the to dream.  What does that mean?  It means that the ceremonial overrun of New England taste for fine English earthenware china by southwestern cowboy boot wearing glue gun welding gum snaps hair dyed ‘blonde’ (Yes... we all know they’ve “bought property” “here”.) and their “china” (usually “porcelain”) is not part of the to dream... or this essay.

            I didn’t quite know when I first was sitting sipping coffee with her.  Her ‘she made’ percolated coffee.  We sipped.  It was afternoon.  I had ‘come by with’.  That is an antiquarian dealer sales ploy:  “WHO can I sell THIS too?  I know (who) and she is HOME right now (probably) so I will use the “going by” to “come by with” SOMETHING  (a real antique in fact) “You may be interested in (want to buy... from me... NOW).  I... do that all the time.  “Now, now, now”;  I haven’t offered the reader ANYTHING (no ‘real antique in fact’) so do not go to... ‘going on’... at me.  

And so... there I am with it ... and her and she and I and the percolated coffee that she pours from the coffee pot that matched the coffee cups upon their matching coffee cup saucers.  She pours that coffee with a pattern matching cream pitcher beside of she was not ‘half and half’ back then... cream... with sugar in a sugar bowl that, too... matches the whole it of this ‘in a to dream’.
            But very real.  Some days it (the antique for sale) could be a Rockingham (English mottle brown glazed stoneware) dog or a marble based Girandole set or a brass fireplace ember guard or a lead glass English ‘wine set’ or a pair of silver plated grape (snip-cluster-to-serve) scissors or a coin silver spoon set (of eight or twelve).  “Maker marked; made in Portsmouth (NH).” I promote.  She... didn’t always ever just ‘that’.  NO.  She pretended to know... but no... I know... she... didn’t always ever just ‘that’.  What that means is she didn’t know I know; a ‘dealer know’... but know, she did, to pretend she know and what she know and how she know was ...just fine because everything she’d ever done... did... do... is... has... ever... is ‘just fine’ and of impeccable ‘good taste’ too.  “I know”.

            That’s right; THAT kind of people pouring coffee for me when I ‘come by with’.  And she always bought a something and often a “think I’ll get that too”.  She didn’t ‘think’... she ‘did’.  And we finished sipping our coffee.  And spoke very well to each other about ‘antiques’ (a vast subject).  Then I would take my leave and she would write my check.  Always... when I left.. . the coffee service of fine English earthenware china would be ...setting... on it’s tray on the antique ‘tea table’ (actually an original surface rosewood stained New England Birch Hepplewhite cut corner Pembroke drop leaf side table) “that was my mothers” (even though I knew ‘where and from whom she bought it’) against the wall with leaf up.  She put the leaf up before bringing the coffee tray ‘in’ and ...setting... it there.  She did not have a ‘coffee table’.  The coffee tray was always the same ‘old family’ “English” “Sheffield” (silver on copper) “plate”.  With...; set upon it... the coffee service of... fine English earthenware china.  This was “We were married in 1947” (“or was it forty-eight?”) Copeland Spode “Wicker Dale” pattern.  Exactly that and nothing else.  Ever.

            The woman was dying of breast cancer.  One could do that back then.  With very little ceremony.  She knew that and I knew that and she knew that I knew and I knew that she knew that I knew so we
            Absolutely never spoke of it
            No... “you don’t do that”.  We sipped coffee and ‘discussed’ “antiques”.  Today they snap their gum and get out their glue gun when one “has” “breast cancer”.  Back then; ‘to dream’, we... sipped coffee poured in English earthenware china coffee cups... rested on their saucers. 

            Do this bother you:  She ‘has breast cancer’?  “It is really very sad isn’t it.  But I understand:  This is the way it is.  Anyway.”  That is all she ever said about it.  And we sipped.  I said nothing.  To say something?  “You don’t do that”.

            For the purpose of this essay, it is the Wicker Dale that stays.  The rest is naturally on its course.  I didn’t say I “like” Wicker Dale... ever ...back then.  Wouldn’t have even considered it.  We, together, sipping, were ‘all antiques’.  And Wicker Dale is not antique.  It is the “was” the ‘her coffee service’.  On the tray.  On the table.  With one leaf up.  But I... with my eye... did... and still do... see it.  That’s right:  “I” and “eye”.  And of course I handle it too.  It comes around... in my antiquarian travels.  Here and there... a ‘piece’ and, occasionally, a whole service.  “Of Wicker Dale”.

            Some of it isn’t very old.  I can tell right off.  It is ‘made different’ than the earlier (1940-1960) Wicker Dale.  What is different?  The earlier’s earthenware clay body is more ‘toward’(that is a subtle word an antiquarian must learn ...and use)  the earlier (antique) English earthenware.  The mold casting is finer.  Thinner; the rims are thin... when they touch my lips.  The ‘color’ too is not ‘so white’.  It ...hints... (that too... is a subtle word an antiquarian must learn ...and use) at ‘eggnog’ (a color) (“creamware” is the traditional antiquarian dealer / collector title of this color.  Be careful using ‘creamware’ unless one is ‘sure’).  

I haven’t spoken of the pattern yet.  And do not have to.  Everyone who is anyone... understands that ‘Wicker Dale’ “is nice”.  Yes that is so true but takes on a ‘considerable more’ when one discerns the kingdom of ‘taste’.  In New England.  That kingdom I will poke... but:

            Staying with the clay body, its cast molding and its subtle color; do I ‘know the difference”?  I have already told; there is no difference for the ...only this... touches lips.  ALL the others are... not... “this fine”.  ‘This fine’ is NOT the decoration and NOT the forms.  I am speaking of... here... the blank... mold cast... English earthenware (with the emphasis on ‘earthenware’[1])... clay body and “how THIN that is” when ...:  Yes just a glance of my eye through the breakfront’s glass doors and I denote that ‘that’ ‘in there’ is... “not” a:  “Very fine” “earthenware” “Made in England” “a service”.  No:  I never even need to touch it “to see” for I do dearly ‘know’ what ‘touches my lips”.  I have just said that if it (a service) is not of a fine cast fine earthenware clay of the best old style English earthenware (“Staffordshire”)... I know ‘at glance’.  They know.  Everyone who know... knows and

[1] :  The “Earthenware” ‘clay body’ is ‘low fire’ ‘semi-porous’ “soft” (hence ‘soft paste’) and opaque (“cannot see through it”)... middle class by intent and design... ‘china’.  “Porcelain” (a wide variety of ‘china’s’) is a ‘high fire’ ‘non-porous’ and an often ‘transparent’ ‘clay body’.  “Soft Paste” (English earthenware china) was... used, broken and thrown out by the middle class... in New England.  That is what makes it ‘rare’; the broken and thrown out.  Down privies in town and ‘over the bank’... on old New England farms.  That is why the little pieces are ‘found’ ‘there’ “in my garden”.  It is... also... ‘why’ English earthenware is.  In New England.  And is... good taste.  Meaning too...:  “Porcelain” is “No.”.  That is right:  In New England... taste... all those “porcelain cups and saucers are awful”.

            Taking that poor (tawdry) service out of the breakfront and putting it in cardboard boxes and “donating” “it” to the “a church sale” is a... fine first step... of ‘good taste’... in the New England home.

Once the cupboard is bare
And the visitors stare
After asking where...
And how could you dare
To leave it so bare
Or “so ridiculous of you”
To even care

            One may begin.

            “Wicker Dale?”

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