I arrived in Toronto late afternoon, checked into a cheap hotel, and walked over to Waddingtons. Bill Kime, the ceramics specialist, could not have been more courteous and patient. The menagerie was impressive....but it didn't make my heart sing. It could not be faulted, but I didn't want to own it. It had the structural perfection I sought, but the enamels were not wonderful and the colors were wan. It was clunky. Nothing redolent of fairgrounds in days gone by. Was this as good as menageries got? Should I consider bidding at a low level? Was there something wrong with me, or with the menagerie? Confusion ruled my brain that night.
So was my trip a waste of time and money? I was empty handed but 'full-headed". I had learned SO much. You have to know what you don't want before you can really know what you do want. When the right menagerie came my way later, I knew it in a heartbeat. By then, I had seen several menageries. None had pushed my button, but each had pushed me along the learning curve. Also, my trip taught me to trust and respect Bill Kime's judgment, and that proved valuable later on...and will again, I am sure.
- In Waddington's lobby, I overheard an accent just like mine and met someone who had been to the same all-girls high school I attended in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Is the world small?
- My flight home that night never happened, and I found myself stranded at the airport at 10p.m., due back at 6a.m for another attempt. Too beat to move, I slept on the terminal floor. I stuck a sign next to me saying "Please wake at 5a.m." and at that time I got my wake-up call from an Indian gentleman: "Lady, wakey, wakey." This taught me never to leave home without a pillow, and that I can sleep anywhere. Again, invaluable lessons.