I first met Rosemary in February 1969, when I was nineteen and she
Rosemary's son Richard and I were friends at Harvard. When I
with plans to travel in England and Europe, Richard gave me his parents'
names and address, urging me to visit them. I arranged to ride
out to Dairy
Cottage, the Zorza's house in Buckinghamshire, England, with Richard's
Jane. The two of us arrived late in the evening, and as Jane
had lost her
key, she boosted me through a window into the front hall. Our
Rosemary, who once she understood that the house wasn't being burgled,
quick to make me feel welcome. That visit, originally scheduled
to last a
day or two, was the beginning of a whole new life for me.
Rosemary was a potter. She invited me into her potting shed during
afternoon at Dairy Cottage. Except for one break of several years,
making pots since that first day in Rosemary's studio. Rosemary
taught me to
throw. Once she saw how committed I was to potting, she introduced
Mick Casson, who helped me find further training at the Harrow School
Rosemary and Victor moved to my hometown, Washington, DC, while I was
studying in England. When I moved back to the US, she helped
me meet potters
and make clay connections. The two of us did numerous joint shows
exhibitions together and worked in each others' studios.
Rosemary's influence in my life went beyond that introduction to pottery.
Rosemary was not only an important teacher in my life, she was one
dearest friends. From early in our friendship, we knew we could
each other. We'd call each other when things got hard.
She'd listen to my
discouragement as I struggled to become a potter. I could whine
personal life or about my family. She called on me during the
big crises in
her life – her daughter Jane's battle with cancer, her health problems
failing marriage to Victor Zorza. Once Rosemary returned to England
permanently, our contact grew less frequent. But despite that
remained an ally – someone I always counted on and trusted.
I hate the jargon phrase "role model." But in truth, Rosemary
was a strong
role model for me. Ever since we met, I've always wanted to be
Rosemary had a flair for life. She lived aware of beauty and
appreciated plants in flower, a well-placed handle on a mug, the exact
word or phrase in a poem. She reveled in the music of Brahms
and the colors
of an oriental carpet. She could indulge – Dairy Cottage was
the first place
I ever ate trifle and champagne for brunch. But she was rarely
self-indulgent. A realist, Rosemary could point out the folly
of modern life
or rail against prejudice and injustice. But she didn't lose
her belief in
an individual's ability to grow and change. She was a wonderful
both to her own children and to the youngsters, myself included, who
to her wherever she lived. She listened. She treated children
people with respect. She recognized and encouraged their potential
strengths. That quality in her drew me to Rosemary from the start
than anything else, it is what I hope to emulate in my own life.