Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unwinding a Bobbin

This is a small memorial to my paternal grandmother.  It is a bobbin from her old White sewing machine. An early electric model.  It rests up in our attic, its gold leaf decoration flaking off.  I've carried it with me these nearly forty years since she died.  

There were so many things in that little apartment of hers.  I have the pottery she made and a few of the sample fabrics she wove on her loom.  I don't have her loom.  It wasn't my decision at the time, what to keep and what to discard.  I was considered too young to make that sort of decision.  So I've kept the sewing machine that she made all of my clothing on from when I was born to when I had my own machine and began making my own clothes.  

That sewing machine of hers kept food on the table during the last depression. She was an excellent tailor and dressmaker. Her clients were some of the wealthy of Los Angeles during the 1930's who could afford to have hand made, and tailor made, clothing through those difficult economic times. For some items she even wove the fabric.  Some of the samples have tiny glass beads threaded into the weft.  

She told me a story, once, of the things she had to give up after the Depression hit.  When she married my grandfather they'd had quite a lot of money.  She had furs and jewelry. They'd even had a chauffeur driven car back in the twenties.  That was when my grandmother had learned to drive.  She loved to drive. She loved the independence and the convenience.  When their money was gone and they had to sell everything of value, it was the car she hated to let go of.  Forty years on she still missed that car.  She never drove again. She and my great-aunt and I always took the bus wherever we needed to go if it was too far to walk.

Times are bad again as we all try working through this new Great Depression.  Worry is a near-constant companion to many of us.  However, it seems that it is only in times like these that we realize what it is we truly cherish.  It also seems to be times like these that bring us to ourselves, distilling our daily choices to what is best, what is needed, what matters most.  

So, it seems I've taken the thread from that bobbin and run with it through my thoughts for tonight. 

In bocca al lupo. m & v