Monday, January 23, 2012


Over the past twenty some years my mother had hand sewn me many, many articles of clothing, from the delicate, white crocheted baby dress, to the long skirts I wore in high school, to the Phantom of the Opera purse she made for my trip to see the show on Broadway. I am ashamed to admit that as a child, I took these handmade treasures for granted, in fact was at times, ashamed of them. I was carrying my lunch money in a crocheted purse shaped like a bright orange fish long before such things were considered trendy. I liked the purse, but could not understand why many of my classmates thought it was strange and un-cool, unlike their normal, store bought articles.

It was not until my freshman year of college that I appreciated Mom’s impeccable talent as a seamstress. She was born with a degenerative muscular disease called Muscular Dystrophy and as a result had to reluctantly give up sewing. Her hands were just too weak to hold even a needle, much lese operate a sewing machine. It had been almost two years since she had made anything and yet one weekend I came home to find a dark blue skirt made for me, handmade, by Mom. Since then, I have accumulated sun dresses, purses, aprons, even oven mitts and potholders.

It was with a bitter sweetness I wore the white dress with tiny black flowers and red buttons she made me to her own funeral and yet it seemed fitting somehow. Her home economics teacher was there and able to see some of her former student’s finest work. That 1950’s style dress however, was not the last nor the most precious dress she made me. I was tempted to wear it to the service but a Renaissance Faire wench dress would not have been appropriate and yet it’s the dress that means the most to me; she put the most time and effort into it and it’s truly unique, a true testament to the innovative, and strong woman my mother was.

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