Mrs. Atkin's Vacation
- In case some of you are thinking that Mrs. Atkin is some frail, crotchety
little old lady who can barely hobble, with the help of her walker, to the
post office to get your plan orders mailed, I thought I'd share a recent
letter she sent me. She's quite active as a potter, with some local fame. If
she's a little late getting your order out it's not because she's playing
bingo at the old folks center, she's probably busy throwing pots! ;o)
"Jamaica was very good. I eat and lost 6 pounds, as I did so much walking.
The pottery was at the bottom of the mountain, the Carriage House, where we
slept halfway up and the Great House where we eat was at the top. So many
trips up and down. The first four days I just threw pots from morning to
about eleven at nite. We had to get them made and dried to fire.
"Then the firing was laborious! Three wood-fired kilns that had to be fed
wood all the time. I had one, three-hour shift. Early, thank heavens as
later it got very, very hot to open and add the wood.
"We did get to the beach the day the kiln was cooling. It was a hour drive
each way. I was on a working plantation of 2,000 acres, an hour inland from
the shore. There were no interesting boats.
"The native boats are just some dugouts. Otherwise very poor tin or glass
run down crafts used for fishing. It is a very very poor country. Some very
expensive resorts on the shore with very heavy security - like high walls
and the razor wire on the top. Not very inviting.
"The pottery was on a wonderful plantation and completely safe, but way
inland. They raised sugar cane and fruits. We looked down on rows of orange,
lime and ugly fruit trees, as well as mangos.
"The potter, who hosted the workshop, family has owned it for years. The
pottery was rather third world, all outside with just roofs. And, then the
living was rather elegant old fashion grandeur! Quite a contrast! The food
was all Jamaican and wonderful. Lots of fruit and fish and some local fruits
that I had never heard of. Had jerked chicken and meat several times.
"I worked very hard, got some good pots, met some very interesting people
and arrived home exhausted!!! There were just twelve of us in the workshop,
with two Jamaicans. Two of the young women were from Chili, a man from
Brazil, and I was the only one from the northeast! Had people from Texas,
New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, B.C. and Chicago. All very good potters!
"Well, enough for now. Hope I haven't bored you too much!!!
The denunciation of the young is a necessary part of the hygiene of
older people, and greatly assists the circulation of the blood.
<Logan Pearsall Smith>