Saturday, January 21, 2012
Making a production of it
My mom could be like that, but only with regard to certain things. Sewing was one of those things.
From what little I ever saw, she knew how to sew. But it never grabbed her; it was just something she could do, and when she had no other choice, she did it. She made her maternity clothes when she was pregnant with me, because they didn't have money, but she bought (or was gifted) all my baby clothes.
Every once in a while she would decide to sew something, and then she would have to get the machine out. That shouldn't be difficult. Even those of us without a dedicated sewing space have the machine parked somewhere close by, waiting, where you can reach out and pet it occasionally.
Mom, on the other hand, kept her machine put away. On a shelf, in a closet. This was an early 1960s metal Kenmore, in a heavy case. It had to be taken down by a man, because not only could Mom not swing it down from the shelf on her own, she couldn't even reach the shelf without standing on a chair. And by the time my dad got home, or one of the neighbors' husbands could be borrowed, she'd lost interest in whatever the project was to begin with.
By the time I reached high school, the machine had moved. It still lived in a closet, but it lived in my closet, on the floor, where I could drag it out nightly and sew like a madwoman during the commercial breaks in my stepdad's marathon TV watching.
When I moved out at 18, the Kenmore stayed behind. It went back up onto its shelf in my mom's closet. She didn't love it, but she wasn't ready to give it up. And I spent one of my first paychecks on a sewing machine I could not only lift, but could leave on the kitchen table 24/7.
My mom died 5 years ago. When I went home to clear out her stuff, I fully expected to see the Kenmore up on the highest shelf of the closet, poised and waiting to fall on me. I even planned to take it home, for sentimental reasons, and swear at it every so often in her honor. But it was gone. When questioned, my stepfather said he sold it at a yard sale. He could no longer take it down from the shelf, and since there seemed to be nowhere else it could live, at least according to my mother, he let it go for $5 to someone who actually wanted to use it.
I think he got it right. If you don't love your sewing machine, set it free.