Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wicker Dale - Part Three - "The Bramble"

Wicker Dale

Part Three

"The Bramble"

            “We’ll have to go look at them (china services) in the store.”
            Is not the way... of where... “my” service(s) “came from”
            In old Wasp... New England... homes.

            Maybe once... before the first marriage... that is the only marriage[1].
            It was not just any store selling any china.  And Mother helped
            And help was needed.
            “For that”.
            “You will be living with your china
            A long time” (forever).

[1] :  This includes all subsequent marriages.

            “NICE DISHES” is not used either... to describe the ‘your service’.  Perhaps the best appropriate description of a ‘your service’ is a hand held scrutiny of a single vessel (an empty soup bowl ‘at your place’ for example) with pinched lips, eyes peering over nose, a clandestine ‘flip’ to ‘catch’ the maker’s mark and pattern title on the bottom with these all followed by a reluctant and suppressed sigh and a lift-head gaze around the room with no communication about anything... of any of this... to anyone.
            The “your china” just won
            A war?

            It certainly did if the ‘your pattern’ ‘she likes’ is... better than her own.  That, of course, is conceded only after the ‘quality’ and ‘maker’ are ‘past the test’.  Thereafter the service ‘stays’ ‘forever’ and becomes a constant ...familiar.... expected... ‘reminder’ at ‘each visit... as the decades... pass.  Although a few pieces are broken... due to actual usage... ‘mother’s’... is still
            Sixty-five years later when her granddaughter’s mother says:
            “We’ll have to go look at them (china services) in the store.”
            And that action is... just a formality.

            When I “tighten up” (Part Two at the end) ‘Wicker Dale’... I am speaking of this.  That is where Wicker Dale is.  Grandmother’s house.  Over the bridge and through the woods of old New England etiquette.  Never right in sight.  Oh... okay... the coffee service IS ‘out’ on its tray on the dining room sideboard top ...where it has always been since ...you were born and ...she (grandmother) has... now... died.  YES I SEE that all the time when I am “brought in”.  I do not ask “What are you going to do with that?” (your grandmother’s ‘china’).  Is that not a delicate moment
            These days?

            The three plastic (action) figure packet group Nintendo Amiibo ...including the coveted “Mr. Game and Watch” figure (in the center)... was ‘released’ on September 25th, 2015 and... is selling out.  One can still “find it” in “outer” New England (the Wal-Mart in Woodville, NH?)... I have been told.  Getting yours today?
            The only ‘bridge piece’ that ‘came down’ to her from “My Grandmother’s” ‘whole service’ was ...what she used as an open topped “dish” to ‘serve’ the “salad dressing”.  It was only after a ‘by chance’ that I, with my eye, happened upon her ...salad dressing dish... and I said “That is ‘Wicker Dale’ pattern”... that our business together was begun.  Our business is not just her ‘old china’.  After discovering “that” she has gone on to desire more ‘corrective surgery’.  She did buy the Nintendo Amiibos... too.

            The lunacy is in the details.  Wasp lunacy... is details... not... ‘you just buy it’.
            First there is the ‘find it’... to ‘buy it’... coming after... ‘knowing about’ and that one could
            “Knowing about”.  It is the same with the Amiibos; one has to know that the one in the center is why they are ‘selling out’.

            In the ‘salad dressing dish’ there... was... and is... because she ‘uses it’... a silver soup spoon to ‘serve’ oneself the dressing... from the salad dressing dish that is ‘passed’ every night around her table.  Yes... Grammy’s old dish.  And old spoon.
            A silver spoon marked a silver spoon with maker’s mark that’s is “A-O-K” (Tiffany ‘Shell and Thread’ pattern).  No monogram too.
            Yes, on a fine silver service like this... it is ‘quite rare’ to NOT find ‘old initials’.  But I do not mention THAT at first.  I am gallant ...about the qualities of the spoon.  “So heavy too”.  I say.
            How deep do I go?

            Well... I do tell her that the salad dressing dish was once a sugar bowl with a lid and that lid... must be... long broken and ...did her grandmother still throw her broken china over the bank behind their ‘farm’ (Part One, Footnote [1]) as her New England ancestors did?
            “I’ll have to go look.”

            Anyway... I told her that... and that the lid was ‘probably broken’.  Then I was clear that from... reviewing the maker’s / pattern mark on the bottom... I could assure her that this ‘dish’ was of the earlier (pre-1960’s) ‘Wicker Dale’ because... the pattern number was hand painted on the bottom as apposed to the later printed pattern number.  And then too:
            I’ve already mentioned these (Part One):  The later ‘color’ is less ‘eggnog’ (creamware) and ‘more (“dental”) white’.  “Oh.”
            “And notice...that the molding (mold cast) is weaker on the later sugar bowl.  Notice right there with the scallops on the top rim being both less pronounced and also... ‘smoothed’ (less ‘relief cast’)... too... to work well in the modern... ‘machine made’ molds.  I know... these seem like small things... until YOU start to notice “that too”.  So she’s taken up the hobby of ‘rebuilding’ her grandmother’s china service... one piece at a time.  The hobby will last the rest of her life.  I, now, have sipped coffee from her ‘Wicker Dale’.  “I am so pleased to find out I can DO this.”  She told me... a few years ago.
            “You notice the difference don’t you.”
            “Yes I do.”

            One would not expect that the assault upon ‘Wicker Dale’ pattern would come from within the Copland Spode pattern family.  But it does.  ‘Insult’ and ‘injury’?  It is if one finds out ‘later’ (after acquisition).  ‘Wicker Dale’ pattern... to the eye... becomes a ...familiar standard... and a high spot of its time (era) too.  The eye finds... likes... delights... where ever... ever after... when encountered.  But there are other patterns too... that ‘look like that’.  No... but at first they SEEM to... but... but... but... they ‘are not’.  “Buttercup”.  Yes it is nice... but... a little ‘less free’ and... no ‘bramble’.  Its liner decoration is a ‘touch’ Art Deco too... so a little bit NOT ‘timeless’.  One’s eye will ‘get it’ after a while.  That’s called ‘sophistication’ of one’s eye.  Embrace that.

            A second assault?  Yes:  The “Spode’s Cowslip”.  Of course it is (very) “nice” but... but... again.  “Too stiff” with, again, no ‘bramble’.  That is it; one CAN see it.  ‘Wicker Dale’ IS bramble.  With its little flowers here and there.  No ‘stiff’.  No.. ‘fill in the colors’ flower bed.  That is what Spode’s Cowslip has; a flower...bed.  ‘Wicker Dale’ has its flowers in the bramble.  And remember that most of New England... is bramble... and always was.  I know; these seem small points of notice... but they will come to bug your eyes out...:  The eyes that YOU train; you ‘sophisticate’.

            I didn’t care about any of that at all.  My poise is ‘sooner or later’ I will ‘see some’ (‘Wicker Dale’).  It is around.  And can be found.  “Sophisticate” is its setting.  I feel it is actually ‘understated’.  Until discovered.  THEN one ‘sophisticates’.
            So I don’t really ever have to do much about this.  It just sort of...  Mrs. Breast Cancer and her ‘Wicker Dale’ coffee surface; she died and ‘it’ disappeared ‘in there’ (her home).  I guess it is still ‘in there’.  “Why not”.  I don’t go poking around... even though I’m always... poking around.  I do not wish to intrude.  OR is it “Why not?”.
            So what is it now... twenty-five years?  Longer than that?  I... don’t care and forget.  Forgot.  I forgot about my “I care” about her ‘Wicker Dale’ coffee set... that I’ve ...almost... never seen again.  I did say “almost” (Part Two, at the end, twice).

            Caroline Small (“Carol”) manages the bric-brac tables “for the church” at their “sales”.  She, herself, ‘collects’ ‘antiques’.  She “knows” she will confide if someone like me pushes her.  “Knows” is relative in the ...fine art and decorative art ...realms.  Does that mean she’s really not much of a problem to a dealer like I (eye)?  Pretty much.  She has yet to “keep” anything “I’d”... “keep”.
            She calls up?  Never.  I go ‘before’ (the sale) when I know she’s there (her car is parked outside... the side door... to the church basement).  “Steady boy” but she never flips me off.  No.  I get to look... she makes me tell.  And there is never anything ‘good’ so that works out just fine.
            She says to me... one day... a decade ago... that “a little lot’ of ‘boxes’ from (the breast cancer and Wicker Dale) family home.  They... brought in “nothing”.  “You can look if you’d like.”  I did like.  I was remembering her (“she died you know”).  I didn’t see anything either and it took just the same amount of time to see nothing as typing this.  So... it (that ‘stuff’’) was all together “on that table over there”.  “Ok thanks”.  There was nothing.  Off to the side were a stacked jumble of the small boxes the ‘this stuff’ came in next to the ...waste paper basket.  I wasn’t drawn to them but went over to them.  I picked up the top box after looking and looked down in the second box and found...

            Sitting in that box bottom a little piece of a broken ‘Wicker Dale’ plate.  I picked that up and Carol was right there so I just opened my palm in front of her with the piece in my palm middle and said “I’m taking this”.  She peered and said “Oh.  Okay... sure”.  My hand closed and went to my pocket and ‘dropped’ the piece.  “That was from her dinner china.  I remember it.  But you do too.”
            Carol said.

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