February 21, 2011

e’re heading out to California for the month of March…We’ve been doing our walk out to the water every day lately. We’ve been filling ourselves with the smell of the woods, blue skies, views of the pond and sound, the fog horn and boat whistle; memorizing, so we won’t get too homesick while we’re away. We’ve walked this road almost every day since around 1990 — so we know it pretty well. Someday (a long long long long time from now), we plan to haunt this place; it’s kind of ours. If you are reading this and you’re seven years old now, and in fifty years you come to Martha’s Vineyard, you will find the ghosts of Joe and I walking this dirt road in the woods, out to the water, looking for beach glass and smelling the wild beach roses that grow along the path.

here has been a short reprieve from winter lately. It was 52 degrees yesterday! It won’t last. That’s almost Palm Springs around here. We opened every door in the house yesterday and let the clean air whoosh through, upstairs and down — months of closed-in, furnace-heated, heavy, lamb-chop-laden air was pushed out the door. I put on a sweater, turned the heat down, and let it go. Heaven. The air loses 40 lbs, becomes thin and cool. It’s worth having winter for that moment of elation!

‘ve been lightening up the house, because when we get back at the end of March, it will be spring and I don’t want to walk into dark old winter. I put away all the needlepoint pillows and wooden candlesticks, and hung a watercolor of a turquoise pot I painted full of pink petunias over the fireplace.

decided to make a display out of my favorite teapots and cups for the mantle. I started my spring cleaning with them, washed them in soapy water, dried them. As I was doing it I was remembering how I found some of them. The teapot with the red flower for example, I bought long before I moved to the island, I was probably around twenty-two when I got it. I worked in the record department of a music store; it was part of my job to walk the daily deposit three blocks through the small downtown, to the bank. On the way was my favorite antique store of all time. I stopped in every day to see what was new.

hen this teapot came in, my eye found it from across the store; I honed in like a heat-seeking missile. I think it was about $60 which, in those days, was about half a month’s rent! But there was to be no peace in my heart unless and until I made this teapot my own, with it’s dear ruffled edges and hand-painted flowers, I just had to have it. I have no idea of it’s origin, because there are no marks on the bottom, but it didn’t matter because it was so beautiful to me. The people who owned this store were very nice and allowed layaway which I was fully aware of! I had $3 in my jeans pocket; down it went, and every day, bit by bit, I paid it off… I got help at the end, a tax refund came in (tax refunds in those days were my idea of a savings account) and I got it! It has been packed and repacked, going with me from California to Martha’s Vineyard.

t was just the beginning. Over the years this teapot slowly turned into a collection, which includes cups and mugs too (and every other kind of dish for that matter, it’s the colors, I love them). It doesn’t matter to me that they don’t match. I love using them… I don’t care if they have a little chip, or if they are unnamed. I love their history, that they’ve survived, and of course, their beauty, in the eye of the beholder, which is me!

‘ve been packing for sunny California, trying to remember how it is to not need a sweater, even in the house. No socks? How can that be? My toes are scared. There are gaping suitcases all over the bedroom floor! The train ride from coast to coast will take 3 days and we’ll get a taste of all the seasons, from winter to summer…through our train room window with a view. Amtrak does not allow pets – I think about trying to register Girl Kitty as a Service Furball Guide Cat. But until that unlikely event (it should work, she provides comfort, calming energy, laughter, what is more service-ish than that???), she is staying home with her babysitter. She’s not happy about it, has sniffed the air and realizes that something is up.

his is what my California picket-fence garden looked like a year ago when we left for Martha’s Vineyard. Since we have a friend living in the house, I expect it’ll look pretty much the same when we get back. I love the wild Alyssum that volunteers all over this garden (the white flowers in the path). They have a fresh smell that gets into the wind, sort of like sweet peas. Mmmmm, doggies (as Jed Clampett used to say). We’re almost there! I feel a tug between these two coastlines, you can see why!

efore we go, I wrote a special new WILLARD where I tell a story of how I discovered one of my heroes, Gladys Taber…you will find it in your email boxes starting around March 1. We also have some fun new products coming in…they’ll be in Willard too! Looking forward to seeing some of you in Los Angeles at the speaking engagements/trunk shows. We’ll all be there, Judy, Kellee, me, my mom and Joe! Hope you will be too! Oh, and don’t forget, I’ll be Twittering from the Twain Feb 23 to Feb 26! (Sign up to follow me on this trip HERE.) One of the tweetettes (not naming names but Hi Sonda) wrote me about the Twain, asking "Don’t you like the Pwaine?" No, haha, I don’t. (Maybe I’m too bwainy for that?) Give me the swow way every time.


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2 Responses to February 21, 2011

  1. Deborah says:

    Thomas and I walk every day around the property (six acres) down to the river. Last spring, Scout, my rat terrier and I were attacked by a “Jersey Devil” (a ground hog on steroids.)
    Your garden is in California? I didn’t realize you have two homes.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, born and raised in CA, mom there, we try to go for a month or two each year, but we haven’t been since last fall.

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