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.

1 comment:

Dave Haller said...

That's a great story!