Sunday, August 08, 2010

Stitch and Rock

I'ts early morning and already our outdoor thermometer reads 80 degrees.  Sure to be another hot, sticky, and basically miserable day.  Yet, a good day to burrow indoors, turn down the air conditioner to a lower temp, and read the Sunday Paper and nap.  My boyfriend offered to take me out for breakfast this morning, but it was I who thought the coffee at home tasted pretty darned good and so would a healthy bowl of Total with o.j. on the side.  Good and healthy choices once in awhile do add up to alot of good choices over time.

This morning as I walked past the small table in our livingroom, I glanced down at my mother's sewing  basket.  It is the coolest handwoven reed basket, and inside it I keep needles and various colored threads in case one of us pops a button.  I don't know if the basket was a gift to mom, or how else she might have acquired it. So many things I wish I would've asked my mother when she was alive.

A sewing basket must've meant a great deal to a young girl in the early 1900s.  Our mothers and grandmothers spent hours and hours repairing holes in socks, and knees of denim overalls, and flannel shirt sleeves.  They would rock back and forth in squeaky wooden rockers, quietly stitch and rock, stitch and rock.  What were they thinking?  Were they truly happy?  Or, did they put their feelings on the back burner and do whatever was necessary to care for their husbands and children? 

Mom used to tell me how she and gramma would cut fabric into pieces and sew quilt tops with needle and thread. They would sit in the evenings and do that when there was no television blaring in the background. The only bedspread I remember being on mom and dad's bed at home when I was a little girl was the Lone Star Quilt that she handmade as a young girl. That was their one and only bedspread for many years, and I still have what is left of the tattered and worn legacy that holds the sweet stitches she carefully made those many years ago. Maybe the quilt allows me to feel her touch and her presence, I don't know.

Time must've had a remarkable definition back then.  There were actually gaps in the days and evenings that needed filling with inspiration and creativity.  One generation carefully taught their skills to the next, and that was a beautiful thing.

When I went to high school my freshman year I took Home Ec and learned how to sew.  My parents bought me a very small portable Singer sewing machine, and as I learned in school, I came home and showed Mom how to trace a pattern, sew darts and facings.  For us, it was kinda backward in that I was showing her how.  We had lots of fun doing that, and Mom was a very good student and used that poor little black sewing machine for the rest of her life.  She used black electric tape to repair the cracked base, I remember.  Goes to show how things were made to last, plus that she was satisfied with forward and backward stitching and didn't ask for all the other fancy gadgets that sewing machines are adorned with today. 

Creativity gives life zest like lemon adds to water.  People don't realize that they're being creative when they choose their clothing and accessories.  Or, choose a  hairstyle.  It's all a matter of personal taste and pushing one's abilities another notch.  So often I hear people say they just aren't creative.  Oh, pshaw to that noise!  Yes they are.  Every single one of us is gifted. All we need is confidence in ourselves and to honor ourselves.  I'd rather try something and fail than never try at all.  (Isn't that why they make waste baskets and darkness?)  We can amaze ourselves with what we're able to do if there is even a spark of interest and a dash of enthusiasm.     

Those who came before us did what they had to do to keep on chugging.  These days I fear our generations are becoming far too needy and unmotivated.  None of us are entitled.  We are here to contribute and earn.  We are here to mend and repair the holes in the self-centered society we've unintentionally created.  If only the tools to do that were as simple as a needle and thread.