After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world.
A friend from waaaaay back, who I recently reconnected with, has a saying: Never enough flowers. And she always precedes it with a hashtag, so if you Google #neverenoughflowers you may see some of her photos amongst the millions.
Flowers ARE beautiful things, and I recently had occasion to buy myself some.
You may remember last month I ran an interview with ceramicist Cara Jean McCarthy of Cara Jean Clay. She emailed a few weeks back that she wanted to send me something, asked for my address and if there was something amongst her work that spoke to me. That was like asking me to choose between roses and orchids—I love all of her clay!! So I told her a few general preferences—for color, for embellishment. I knew she made beads, too, and I love beads, so I mentioned that as well.
It felt like Christmas unwrapping it all! And there was a lovely card and note, too.
Let me tell you a little about how I came to know Cara. My family moved from Pennsylvania to Indiana just in time for me to start eighth grade. It was a HORRIBLE time for me. I struggled to get acquainted, not because I was shy but because, well, it was junior high!
|Cara’s moon beads strung in the “hair” of my mass-produced goddess planter.|
I was smart. Cara was smarter. I always had more trouble with science than other subjects, and having her as a partner helped me understand it better.
I never will forget that our teacher—Mr. Feister? Mr. Finster? Mr Feinster?—suggested one of us may have cheated on the final because we missed the same questions. (Just a few, as I recall getting an “A.”) I always felt he meant me, that I cheated.
I’m far from perfect—if you knew me, you’d count the ways and run out of fingers—but I can honestly say I never cheated on a test. Once in fourth grade I copied a book summary from the back of the book and handed it in as my book report because I ran short of time. But that’s the extent of my school dishonesty. I was so terrified I’d get caught and so thankful I didn’t that I never tried anything like that again.
I know my parents had a chat with Mr. Whatever-his-name-was, and I think Cara’s did, too. Either way, he had us retake the test seated apart from each other.
The results were identical. It always made sense to me that partners who did experiments together would see the same results, right? Or be confused about the same things.
I’m quite sure I got a better grade because I worked with Cara, but I know I never even glanced in the direction of her paper. And I’m just as sure she never needed to look on mine, nor would she.
In high school, we stayed friendly but had fewer classes together.
I don’t know what high school was like for the rest of you, but I couldn’t wait to get out! Sure I loved choir, musicals, and enriched studies classes. But it was a HUGE school—900 in my graduating class—so there was plenty of cruelty to go around, too. Sometimes a nobody like me ended up participating in it indirectly just to avoid being picked on even more by the really scary girls (Donna Snow, I mean YOU.)
Cara left high school after our junior year to start college early—something that never occurred to me. We ended up attending the same university, and even though it was a small school, our paths never crossed.
As you connect with people on Facebook, you begin to search for certain people.
I started hunting through the friends lists of classmates I’d already found for someone who might be Cara because I remembered her as a uniquely kind and genuine person. I never heard her say or saw her do anything mean-spirited. She was someone you rarely come across and have no idea how to value adequately as a teenager.
She may have told me one day she wanted to dance on Broadway. If she did I probably thought, uh-huh, and I want to win the Pulitzer Prize. But Cara DID dance on Broadway and in Paris and London and who knows where else.
I, sadly, have not won the Pulitzer Prize (at least not yet, but don’t hold your breath).
Anyway, all this reminiscing is just my way of conveying what a special person Cara is and thanking her for her generous gift of clay, which I will treasure forever and ever. She puts her heart and soul into her clay creations.
Written words are MY clay. Speaking, I’ve oft suffered from foot-in-mouth disease. I’m sometimes abrupt (cluelessly) and my professional curiosity (always asking questions) sometimes puts people off. I haven’t any natural grace in social situations to carry me through, and even if I keep my mouth closed, my facial expressions give me away. Maybe that’s why I took to writing early on; It helped me communicate what never came out right.
I truly think Cara may have met Christian Dior on one of her dancing gigs, and she was the woman in his mind when he made the statement at the top of this post. But that’s impossible because he died when she and I were both babies, right?