Tuesday, July 22, 2014

just a sewing machine

I finally ended a friendship, one spanning 45 years. She was faithful but I need to simplify life. And get down to one sewing machine.

In 1968, after a humiliating and hilarious foray at 7th grade sewing class, I decided to buckle down and get serious about learning to sew. Dad was skeptical and told me if I would sew for an entire year on my grandmother's treadle machine (circa 1925), the kind you foot-pump, he would buy me a new electric model.

I was off and running and treadle-ing for one solid year. The machine was in our basement/TV room, so Dad kept a keen eye on my efforts as he watched football and golf on TV. In April of 1969 he kept his promise and bought me a sweet Universal sewing machine in a wooden cabinet. I thought I'd zoomed ahead a century or something, sewing like a maniac.

I'd beg Mom to take me to the local fabric store nearly every Saturday. I made skirts, dresses, jumpers, floppy hats, bathrobes (and one for my excellent seamstress grandmother; she treasured that thing) and even a swimsuit. It's said that sewing skills skip generations. If a mother sews, her daughter doesn't need to. This certainly held true in our family: Mom hated to sew.

The Universal moved all over with me: to Florida when I married, and every subsequent move to four more states. I made a few things for the boys and a few dresses for Katie on my machine. A few years ago Bill insisted I get a new one: what a sweet baby she is!

As I worked to de-clutter the basement last week, my eyes fell on the old Universal, closed up and pushed against a wall. I remembered Jenny, a girl who was on the tennis team with Katie and who heard about all my machines (oh yes there are more). Jenny asked if I might ever get rid of one. And so I called her. She was surprised and thrilled to be offered my 45-year-old machine.

On Sunday she came by. I gave her a short tutorial as well as the original instruction booklet (please let's go back to simple instruction manuals!) and a box of attachments. We removed the machine from the cabinet and carried it all out to Jenny's car.

It felt a little sad to say goodbye. But then, I haven't said goodbye at all. The unique way I acquired my sewing machine through my Dad's thoughtful motivation will stay with me always.

Once again, the things of life don't really matter. It's people and how we love well, teach wisely, and care for each other that matter most.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Simsbury summer

How to describe that particular smell: the steamy, oily, tar-laced goo of summer? It's unmistakable but it also takes me back to summers as a girl in Simsbury, Connecticut. It seemed the day school let out in June, the tar trucks began their rounds and continued all summer.

The 300-year-old town of Simsbury spread for miles in all directions so I couldn't ride everywhere on narrow back roads. But I rode my bike through those summers: through neighborhoods the back way to the dime store and to friends' houses. Sometimes I simply jumped on my bike and rode our one-mile circle like a maniac for the pure freedom it offered. I loved how the wind whipped my hair (no helmet of course) and the cool New England  air cleared my head. And mixed all through was that smell of winter-beaten streets being repaired and resurfaced.

Yesterday Bill and I biked to a city park for a picnic by the Olentangy River. About halfway there, I smelled it: Simsbury in summer. That is, a tar truck was surfacing a street or perhaps it was only a driveway. Immediately I was ten years old again, riding to the dime store, hair flying and legs pumping.

Amazing how the sense of smell stays with us and carries us. What smells take you back?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dan & Jenny: 7 years!

College graduation weekend, 2007

These two lovebirds were married seven years ago today:
my son Dan and his college sweetheart Jenny.
They were pretty crazy about each other from the beginning, I believe.
The first time Dan brought Jenny to visit was such fun.
Katie loved having a "big sister" around and we spent the weekend eating, laughing, and making bead bracelets.
Dan and Jenny's first seven years of marriage have been a roller coaster of sorts.
Moving to a new state, major job change,  and
1 - 2 - 3 babies in 3 and 1/2 years!
I'm proud of you, Dan and Jenny, for working hard for your
family and marriage and for holding fast to your faith.
Much love for a happy anniversary!


Sunday, July 13, 2014


Man oh man. Three weeks since a post! Sorry 'bout that. Excuses? No kids to run to baseball practice, the pool, or out for ice cream. But ... life has gotten a little ornery and I get feeling a little overwhelmed and then my writing freezes! Grrrr.

If you've been with me awhile you probably know about this place; our cabin in Presque Isle, Michigan. We still are crazy about it, but it's time to sell. With kids and grandkids all living east and south, the cabin is too far for them to enjoy. And frankly, much as we love it, we'd rather spend our time and money being with family. So, know anyone looking for a sweet place? The views are spectacular!

Anyway, we've already made two trips up since May to tidy things up. And there might be another trip.

We had Katie with us for two weeks, helping at the cabin: fun! While I love being there, I do want to close this phase of our lives. Trusting God's perfect timing!

So. The writing might be sporadic, but I'll try to jump back in.

Thanks for checking in; hope you're having a great summer!