I wonder where my fascination with ivy began? It’s one of the lesser totems of my life.
When I moved into the house on Marcia, the kitchen pantry was lined with ivy wallpaper. (My dad painted over it one day while I was gone. “You were going to paint over it, weren’t you?” as if any alternative was unthinkable.)
When I lived in Austin, while browsing the local Goodwill store, I spotted a plate, sage green with white ivy leaves.
It was just one plate, tho, and I had no use for a single plate. But it was there the next time I went back, and for $1.50, it was a must purchase.
Turns out it was Harkerware. Thus began a long love affair with all things pottery, especially tableware, but also bowls. I angered my friend Ann one time because I had found a huge bowl somewhere shopping, and she thought I should let her buy it. But I had been looking for a bowl like it for big recipes, like oatmeal cookies, where the flour goes everywhere when you start up the mixer. At the time I did not understand why somehow I seemed like the bad guy in this deal, because she had numerous similar bowls and I had none.
In retrospect, I understand it a little better today. Crockery can be a kind of addiction.
Anyway, back to Austin: I began searching for pieces of the Harkerware on eBay and I ended up buying, selling, collecting, learning everything I could. I inherited a large cache of Fiesta from Mom, who included boxes and boxes bequeathed to her by the former Anne Roney, who’d gotten tons of china and figurines and JUNK for her wedding gifts.
I began collecting a huge set of Azura by Taylor Smith Taylor. It seemed the perfect fine china companion to my everyday Ivy Wreath.
It’s all in boxes now. I gave the Azura to Rachel when I moved back to Memphis. She’s used it once, last Thanksgiving. It set a very nice table.
Three of my salad plates are downstairs in the kitchen. I should probably rescue them. I had the sugar bowl in the hallway, to keep dog biscuits handy. Hannah discovered these, and the sugar bowl is no more . It’s not like I used the sugar bowl, anyway, and I’m certainly not using it now. I still have the lid, and I might find a replacement for it. But not for a while.
One of my favorite photos is of a sprig of ivy in a bud vase, sitting on the windowsill of the bathroom upstairs on Carnes. It’s flanked by some of my seashells. Not sure if I even have those shells anymore or the vase, but I have that photo. I look at it frequently, tried to make it part of my Facebook timeline but it’s the wrong crop.
Near the garage, there’s ivy sprouting in a place where hostas had been and died. It’s tenacious and hardy. It holds the ground together and can form a carpet across a lawn in no time, or up an exterior wall. It is the bane of masons and carpenters, and it can be tiresomely mundane. But there’s something about it that reminds me of sweeter times, of disappointments and flawed relationships, and hope.