Friday, December 18, 2009

A Story- part one

While I am still rummaging through my past and trying desperately to stay in the present I am full of thoughts about some of the older potters from my past.
Dorothy and Walter Auman keep playing in my brain.
I am trying to figure out where to start with them.
The Auman's were such a big part of my life.
They were friends of my grandparents so my memories of them and their son Walt Jr. go way back.
I remember thinking they were not like the friends of my parents who were city people.
My first memory of Dorothy Auman was out at the pond.
We had fished and then cooked out.
There was a bonfire and I was hanging around listening to the adults laugh and talk. I don't remember the conversation, but I remember being struck by Dorothy and Walter's laughter.
I remember thinking they were so different from the farm families who lived around the farm. They were a bit more wordily and lively.
I was taken back by Dorothy's out going personality, quick smile, good wit and her laughter.

Years later when I was 17 I would take my first solo trip to see my grandparents.
My mother walked up to me and said, " Go see your grandparents, you have some vacation time and they would like to see you."
She handed me the car keys and said , "we will map out the route."
It was my first trip alone, just me and the open road I was excited.
My mother's car was a Red VW camper. The one that popped up and had a refrigerator in it.
We all thought it was super cool and here I was taking it for a ride to the depths of central NC.
My mother was a High school math teacher, all the family and kids at school called the VW Big Red.
A double meaning since my mother was a redhead and not a small women.
Anyway, I took the keys and set off for the farm.
I made one stop over in Chapel Hill to visit with my Godfather and family then on the the farm.

This was the first time I would spend time alone on the farm with my grandparents.
Now, talk about being treated like royalty it was great fun.
My grandparents were great people who had traveled all over the world before settling back in Seagrove, or, I should say Whynot, to farm.
Even though there were cows to be taken care of and grass to be mowed we spent a lot of time out and about the nieghborhood and small towns.

One afternoon while I was there my grandmother and I stopped to see Dorothy in the pottery shop.
I have memories of Cole's pottery as a child and Seagrove Pottery, the Auman's shop, but this time it was different.
We walked in to find Dorothy in her usual place behind the wheel making pots and yes standing and talking.
I was looking around, really taking in the work for what I think was the first time.
There were several small rooms off to the left and I wandered through looking at bowls, mugs, teapots, plates, pitchers, jugs and pots, pots and more pots.
I walked back out to stand next to my Grandmother to watch Dorothy turn.
I looked at Dorothy at the pots she was making and a feeling, that even today I have a hard time describing, came over me so strong and powerful that I started to pass out.
My grandmother grabbed an arm, Dorothy shot out from behind her wheel grabbed the other arm and they both sat me in a chair, placed a coke in my hands and started fanning me.
I was embarrassed beyond belief.
Like two mother hens they felt I should go rest, but really the feeling was gone.

I have thought about this over the years.
I think that if I was in tune with a place deep within me I could have somehow seen how many times I would walk through that door, look at pots made by Dorothy and glazed by Walter.
It was as if my 17 year old self felt something there, on that day, that would be such a big part of my life.
In fact, if not for Dorothy and Walter and the many days and ways they influenced my life I don't know what direction I would have taken.
If I never moved to Seagrove what would I have done?
Who would I have been?
Would I have ever touched clay, become a potter?

This is just a beginning.
I have so much Dorothy and Walter in me.
I know there will be more.
Let's just call this part one.

I found this interview done with Dot and Walter In 1983
go over for a good read.

13 comments: said...

Hey you! I'm sitting here waiting for Wes to get ready for school, having some tea and enjoying this post soooo much! Here we go with the parallel paths again, when I was seventeen I lived in Myrtle Beach and that summer my mom sent me off in my car alone to High Point to stay with my grandparents for a few weeks. They didn't need to map it out, because we had driven that rode since I was three years old, but the feeling of that freedom to be driving off 200 miles up the road to another state all alone was so exciting! I can't imagine letting Wesley do that, she doesn't even have a license yet. I'm sure I went to Seagrove while I was with them , we always did.Then we would go eat at the Dixie Restaurant in Asheboro, the one that was downtown. Boy, I miss those days and my grandparents! You were very blessed to have such a childhood, made you what you are today!!

Jerry said...

What a magical story. Thank you for passing it along.

Ron said...

Meredith I am really enjoying these pots and the photos. Thanks

Linda Starr said...

What wonderful parents and grandparents to encourage you in your life. There have been many times in my life I have had a choice and I occasionally think where would I be if ... or if not ... I am thankful to be where I am today and to read your blog.

Anonymous said...

i swear i literally got chills, more than once, reading this. the time and place seem to have been so idyllic. i wish i had had such a tangible event that made me fall in love with clay. beautiful post. said...

I told Wesley your story this morning on the way to school and asked her what she would do if I gave her the keys to our van and sent her off to her grandparents. She said,
"I would probably end up in Mexico!" I love that!! The girl has the worst sense of direction I have ever seen. She can't even find her way to Franklin St. from our house.

Barbara said...

2 beautiful stories! Great weaving of yours with the background history of Walter and Dorothy. Seems like you went to the right place at the right time to give direction to your life. Wonder what your mother knew?

What a happy way to start my day.

Ben Stark said...

I was just going to take a 15 min. break and get back to cleaning, but after this story, I have to go at least start reading that interview.

I really wish that I could go back in time and meet some of those wonderful potters!

Laurie said...

Such a wonderful story! It's beautiful how the universe sends us clues, though sometimes we only see them in hindsight. Can't wait for Part 2!

Annapants! said...

Gah! Stop making me cry!

cookingwithgas said...

What nice responses to my story.
I do have more to tell and when I find some time I will post it up.
Tracey you always make me laugh- mexico!
That Wesley is a hoot.
Ben- just look in the right places and you will find information and potters who are always willing to share.
I did have good parents that knew I needed a direction in life they were always there to guide me.
Happy Hoildays all!

Shortstuff said...

You know, you always did have a touch of the psychic in you. Thanks for bringing back some good memories. Boy, I can just see Pop at the kitchen counter. He was quite a man.

David M. Egner said...

I met Dorothy and Walter a few times before I really understood who they were, which, sadly for me, was after their passing. I'm sure I would have cherished getting to know them better. Your description of Dorothy perfectly matches my memories of her talking and turning, turning and talking. I've spoken with multiple potters who said they were influenced in one way or another by them. Wonderful to read your memories and thoughts. Looking forward to reading more.