Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Missed Opportunities

My mother was an excellent seamstress.  She was also an insomniac and many were the times I'd wake in the night to hear the reassuring whir of her sewing machine.  Mother made most of my clothes up to and including high school.  Do you think I let her teach me?  I did not.  My sewing experience was limited to one dress made in the then-required Home Economics class my sophomore year.  I could have learned from the best but had no interest.  When my daughter was born and money was tight, and patterns were a quarter and material fifty cents a yard, I finally taught myself to sew out of necessity.  At first, I didn't even have a sewing machine and so when I said a dress was homemade it literally meant sewn by hand.  Later, in a rented house, someone had left a treadle machine in the garage and I learned to operate that rocker panel by foot that moved the needle up and down and I was thrilled.  Later still, Mother gave me her console machine and I used it for years before passing it on to Deb.

Mother tried to teach me how to crochet, another of her talents.  I never got beyond sitting on the front porch and crocheting yards of chain stitch.  Boring, when I'd rather have been climbing trees in the orchard.  It was something else I had to learn the hard way by myself as an adult.

As a child, my only contribution to the hours spent in a hot kitchen while my mother and sister canned fruit and jams each summer was to skim the foam from the boiling fruit.  I must have absorbed the knowledge through osmosis, because I've certainly done my fair share of canning through the years.

I did learn her crafts by example, if not by her teaching.  Missed opportunities, for sure.

1 comment:

Kathryn Williams said...

My mom and I were flip flopped. I never heard her say that her mom sewed (I know she worked during the depression so my mom might have been latch-key for a while), but I enjoyed the sewing class I took in 7th grade in San Gabriel, and then I'm sure it helped that my BFF in Jr. High and High School sewed beautifully, as we both (I out of necessity) sewed a lot of our clothes. Later in life my mom started sewing!!! Not so much clothes for herself, but just stuff!! BUT, after I got married and my shaped started changing (constantly), I gave it up!!! Now I like simple carpentry, and it does remind me of sewing - boards become something substantial, and cloth becomes clothes! We learn when we are ready!