I like pretty things and old things. To that end, may I introduce to you – my Blue Lady.
When I was a little girl, I loved to visit my mother’s mother. Grandma and grandpa lived in a farm house in the wide open spaces tending a much downsized chicken farm from what they had run when my mom was a girl. Outside at the chicken farm was a wonderland full of earthy discoveries. But, inside, my grandmother had a taste for all the pretties.
I fear she does not have the aristocratic ancestry of my Pink Lady Kathryn from the great English Bone China estates (see “Purely Pink” posted Friday, June 24). No. My Blue Lady comes from much humbler stock.
My mother made her. Years ago, as a young girl, herself blossoming into a young woman and soon to be wife and mother. It was a Mother’s Day gift for my grandmother.
Just a little do-it-yourself ceramic project where you clean the green-ware, paint it with glaze, and resign it to the kiln for firing until done. My mother loved making things – very crafty. I know that is where I gained my love for, and aptitude in, artsy-craftsy realms.
Actually, I have often run across this pretty lady mold, finding samples at garage sales and thrift stores. But none could compare to the work of my mother’s hands.
As a child, Blue Lady sat on the window sill in the dining room of the farm-house, keeping company next to a burgundy glass vase with fluted rim. She fairly glowed when the afternoon sun poured through the windows as it diffused rays of burgundy glass across the walls in the room.
Such beauty beheld in the eyes of a romantic child, my thoughts overflowed with creative images of enchantment and story! I was mesmerized by her face and longed to take her down to play with her – entering her world. But, she was not a toy.
When my grandparents further downsized, in their elder years, to a bungalow, Blue Lady came with them. She stood in a place of honor in the great bay window of the living room. Just to see her there on my visits – now grown, married, and a mother in my own right – brought back a flood of memories of those carefree play days of childhood – and the magic that might be had in a moment of beauty and inspiration. Nobody noticed, I’m sure, if I lingered during my visit with my eyes upon her, enjoying a wisp of nostalgia.
After ninety-one and ninety-three years, respectively, grandma and grandpa left us. Dividing up the house was quite the task. You see – grandma had become a hoarder in her old age. Of all the items in her house, though, the first I claimed was Blue Lady. I need not have worried that she would be claimed by anyone else in the family, though. Nobody cared to have her but me.
So, today, she sits in a place of honor and safety in my living room – cozy in her little corner of the writing hutch – meditating still, over her nosegay of soft pink flowers – are they roses, perhaps? There she sits, silently fulfilling her job as a source of creative inspiration, coaxed from her retreat for an occasional inspection of her delicate details, perhaps a romp with neighboring shelf sitter cats (of course, they’re another story):
. . . or a photo-shoot for just such a post as this. She is a constant reminder of mother, grandmother, and childhood. She doesn’t need a high-end fine china stamp – my mother’s hands cleaned her, chose her soft pastel colors, defined her features with sparse elegance, and left a legacy of serenity and pleasure for me to treasure.
I share her with you, today, in all her beautiful, blue glory with a reminder that if you are so blessed to still have your mother or grandmother within reach, do give them a love for me!