Hand-Thrown Pot

brad 1This is a piece of pottery made at the Arkansas Arts Center by my friend Brad.  He was a multi-talented fellow, potter and a good ballet dancer.  He and I danced together several times which was great fun, although I think we made a somewhat odd couple, he being long, tall and lanky, and me…well let’s just say I’m on the short side and willowy is not one of my attributes, despite the expectations for ballet. He was a considerate partner and I enjoyed dancing with him; I always knew he would catch me if I bobbled, important when wearing pointe shoes.

The Arts Center was a marvelous place to work.  I was first hired as an actress in the Tell-A-Tale children’s theater troupe. It was exhausting work – not only did we act (I had 5 cohorts), but we drove from school to school, set up the stage (or lunchroom, or gym or wherever we were assigned), made-up and got into costumes, performed, did a q&a with the students, then broke everything down, including untaping and rolling up the dance floor and DROVE TO ANOTHER SCHOOL. Rinse, repeat, as they say. A little known fact about Little Rock – it was a test case for the first ATMs, and those ATMs saved us actors. The bank was always closed when we were off work…

After Christmas, I was asked to head up a dance company – right up my alley. The Center had a very nice stage, full lighting capability, and ballet classes taught by Manolo Agullo, a Cuban charmer of the old school who was training some decent dancers. I had a blast. So why did I leave? As in many a story, love called in the form of my now-hubby who wanted to be in the movie business.

Manolo is dead. And I’ve lost track of Brad.  But I keep this little pot on the window sill above the sink. I love the delicate crazing, the shape and the reminder it is to me of a very happy time.

brad 2

Stuffed Scooby Doo

Stuffed Scooby Doo.

This little doggy is about 3 feet tall and was won by my hubby, Brian, at Universal Park in Orlando. We were there for a conference and our group had the park all to ourselves, all rides free (although not all rides were running) and free tickets for the arcade games. We were at a ball toss – three balls. I went first and missed. Badly. Embarrassingly. Never played softball and it showed.

Brian did just as badly on his first two balls and the macho guys behind us in line were ragging on him. So…third ball right down the middle and voila, he was the proud owner of this overgrown stuffed toy.

After hauling it around the rest of the night, the question was how to get it home on the airplane. Maybe we could just donate it to some child. Ha, no way. He was keeping it. Could we ship it? Too expensive and where’d we get a box that big? In the end, Scooby Doo flew home in black trash bag, crammed into the overhead bins. He now lives in Hubby’s office and has been coveted by many a child visitor.

Even though it’s been around since 1969, I’ve never seen the cartoon, but recently I met and petted real Great Danes when a couple of sisters on our street got themselves a pair. The older dog’s head went up to my chest and although I’m on the short side, that’s one big dog. I’d like to note that they aren’t quite as cuddly in real life. An interesting fact about those Great Danes is that they are the first dogs the sisters had ever owned. Imagine starting with a giant!

Mannequin on the Move: Movie Castle

A piece of set decoration from Mannequin on the Move. It’s made of thin strips of lacquered balsa and is about 2′ high. There were several of these made as centerpieces for a scene in the movie.

My husband, who was in the industry at that time, worked on the film. When he got notice about the job, he called me at work. “I’m going to Philadelphia to make a film.”
I laughed, “Oh, really?”
“I leave tomorrow.”
“You’re kidding! For how long?”
“Six weeks.” Then, plaintively, “Can you come home and help me pack?”

Making movies is a grueling job, unless you’re the star. I got an occasional call and he was always exhausted. He’d tell me about a late night schedule change and how he was up until 3AM sliding the new schedules under actors’ hotel room doors. Or how difficult it was finding parking for the various trucks with equipment and the “honey wagon” – the bathrooms. Glamorous the job was not!

Since I had never been to Philly, we arranged that I would fly out for a few days when the show was wrapped and he’d had a night’s sleep. I got in late afternoon; he had just finished, after being up for 36 hours. We went to dinner and I swear, I thought his face was going to literally fall in the French Onion soup he ordered. My first evening in Philly was spent reading in the hotel bathroom so he could sleep.

He gave this castle to his nephews. We also had one, but it was fragile and when we moved, we sold it.

An Engagement Ring

Art deco filigree ring, white gold with aquamarine stone.

Every engagement ring has a story.  Here’s mine.

My then boyfriend, now husband, told his family he had found a woman he wanted to marry.  He hoped to give her (me!) an antique ring, preferably with a blue stone.

His grandmother, whose first husband died very young, offered this ring.   It had been her engagement ring, but since she and her fiancé planned to elope, it was given as a birthday present.  No one in the family had ever heard story.

White gold is very soft and when I had it resized, the jeweler told me not to wear it all the time.  I ignored his advice and much of the marcasite detail has worn away.  The aquamarine is also scratched.  But I treasure the connection its story makes between me and my husband’s beloved grandmother.