My mother was sentimental. She kept things. She had a house with nooks and crannies where she could tuck all sorts of things, so she did. Some things were genuine treasures. Others had only sentimental value – and sometimes that’s the greatest value there is.
|Beautiful gathers with piping accent|
Mother stored textiles which had outlived their purpose in an old travel truck. For whatever reason, she just couldn’t throw them away. Among those things:
· her first wedding dress (1929), a flapper style made by her mother
· her second wedding dress (1947), a gown of slipper satin which she made
· baby clothes, her own as well as her children’s
· a black jumper
· pieces of homespun
· a ready-made dress from the 1930s which she undoubtedly loved
· a bedspread and curtains which she painstakingly embroidered for her first home
The list goes on. Mother had tucked those “useless” things away because she couldn’t bear to part with them, and when the time came that she had to leave the old house, she was still unable to throw them away. One of my sisters agreed to store them, but she recently downsized, and some of the listed items came to me.
|Jumper, c. 1925|
So – here they were, and I had to do something with them. Those things were Mother’s memories and not important in the scheme of things. And yet I couldn’t help but value them because she did. Still, she had only shown them to me once or twice, and I hardly gave them a thought. As Hallie observes, when you haven’t seen or even thought about something in years, why keep it?
|Beading, fringe, satin belt|
Well, I couldn’t throw these things away, but as luck would have it, I discovered that a niece loves such things, so I was able to hand them on to her. I felt really good about that. But in the end, that black jumper didn’t go. I believe Mother designed and stitched it herself when she was in high school. She embellished the bodice with hand embroidery and the panels of the skirt with black beads. In my mind’s eye I could just see her hurrying down the hall at OHS to some special event, proudly wearing that jumper. No, I couldn’t part with it.
|Taffeta, c. 1991|
Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say. Yesterday as I sorted things for Goodwill, I tossed in a dress I made for Hallie when she was nine or ten. She wasn’t given to dress-wearing and I didn’t make many for her, but that one was my pride and joy in an era when I really didn’t have time to sew. So, as I handed boxes to the donations attendant, when I came to the dress, I found myself tossing it farther into the car so that it would go back home with me. Hallie will never wear it again – perhaps no one will – but I just couldn’t let it go. KW