Someone asked the other day what was wrong, sensing I was off, away, distracted, lost. The truth is, I was irritable and contemplating buying a plane ticket to fly back to New York for the weekend. Instead of answering his question, I told a story:
My Aunt Rita didn’t have kids of her own; although she had stepchildren. One of her stepchildren was Jackie, the potter. Growing up, one of his teapots was my parents’ traditional gift for weddings. Sometimes, depending on how close the bride and groom were to our family, the couple would get whole tea set. Starting at a young age (11 or 12), I lamented that by the time I got around to marry, Cousin Jackie would no longer be in the pottery making business. Turns out, I was right.
That said, not all was lost. When I was a teen, I went with my sister to visit Jackie. I had a terrible allergic reaction to his cats and passed out with meds. But, I also bought a honey pot from his showroom (a room in a barn, if I remember correctly) and he gave me a pitcher. This is a big thing as he rarely if ever gave pieces. So, I had my two prized pieces.
Aunt Rita lived in Usonia, New York for a while. (If you don’t know it or Frank Lloyd Wright, click the link). Jackie sold a lot of pottery in the neighborhood. Knowing how I was sad to have missed out on the collection, Aunt Rita went from house to house and managed to buy back an amazing collection for me. Perhaps it is not the most traditional collection (I have so many cups and tea cups and more tea cups, but no tea pot), but it is wonderful. Instead of being all in one style, I have pieces throughout the years. I also have two great pitchers, a huge oven roasting pot, and one of his lamps.
Aunt Rita may not have had her own biological children, but she did have family that loved her fiercely.
By the end of my story, I was ready to spit out what was ailing me. She was in the hospital. She was alone-ish (although my sister had been out the weekend before and my parents were flying out on Thursday). She was in the hospital and she had never met Little Elephant. Of course, since she was in the hospital, even if I had boarded a plane and arrived, she likely couldn’t have seen her. Likely, the videos I had sent to my sister was the best I could do.
That was two days ago.
The videos will have to be enough. She passed away a few hours ago. This is my attempt to say goodbye from 4604 miles away.