The last winner of the #claypotstory contest is this entry from Blossom Beason. We love how it speaks to the nature of small retail stores and how they become part of the daily fabric of peoples lives. The Brooklyn store was such a special place because of all the people that shopped there.
The Park Slope of my late 70's/early 80's childhood was a scruffier place, but it was also a diverse neighborhood where mom and pop businesses ruled, and everybody knew each other's names. Traipsing around with my single mom, we often stopped into local stores not just to shop, but also to catch up with the people who worked there.
On one Saturday morning when I was around 7, my mom and I made one such 'social call' into the Clay Pot. My mom and the woman at the counter made some small talk. My mom remarked upon the beautiful enormous vases displayed nearby, and mentioned that we were just coming from my weekly dance class. The woman at the counter then turned to me and said "Blossom, show me what you learned at dance class today!"
Never one to disappoint a potentially adoring audience, I launched my gawky body into a clumsy pirouette. The tip of my foot grazed one of the aforementioned vases. Bang! Smash! Bang! Smash! It tipped sideways into its neighbor, starting a slow motion chain reaction which knocked the entire line of vases over like an out-sized domino chain, each bursting into shards upon impact with the next. Within moments the row of vases was destroyed, and my mom had erupted in tears, screaming at me to get out of the store. Not only was she mortified, she was probably terrified - we were pretty poor, and couldn't afford to begin paying for the damage.
I waited outside tearfully for what felt like hours before my mom finally came out to take me home. I felt so ashamed of what I had done. We moved overseas for several years shortly after, and by the time I returned to Park Slope I was a teenager. But the trauma of the experience still haunted me, and every time I came near the Clay Pot I would cross to the other side of 7th avenue fearful that someone would run out yelling "She's the one!"
I was in college by the time I finally worked up the courage to pass through door, and was relieved to experience a friendly welcome. Ever since then, the Clay Pot has been where I have gone to find special things to give to the people I care about most. It has been a part of my life and my community, and I will miss it terribly.
Thanks for all the memories,