Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reflection, Remembrance, Resolution, Repentence- Part 2

Quilt Piece
Mother pieced this design from
 a dress for me she sewed from a feed
sack. The outer tiny print was the dress.
I know I ended my previous post with this question, and will comment on it, but I wish to address the traditions of my adoptive family at Christmas, too. Probably Part 3.
6. Have you ever said about your parents, or friends: "I'll never be like that when I grow up!"??? I have a funny realization about that little remark, too.

Our  parents often appeared to have ridiculous rules for our behavior that would lead us to think or say, "When I grow up I'll never be like that, do that, weird, etc."

I've eaten those words and thoughts so many times, I nearly regurgitate them.

When I, being the oldest sibling, reached elementary age, we moved to a very nice brick home within two blocks of an elementary school, so we could walk to school. Mother did not drive; Dad went to work at 7 a.m.

Being the first to enter public education, Dad and I practiced walking the 2-block route to school several times. There were instructions: walk on the sidewalk if any, or the very edge of the street, or curb but not a yard. Don't cut corners. Come straight home.

DO NOT WALK ON ANY ONE'S YARD, regardless of what other children do. This was THE cardinal rule I remember violating only once.

 Mother was usually waiting at the back yard gate for my arrival safely home and my chatter about my day's activities.

There is a poem called THE WATCHER by an American poet , Margaret Widdener, that so reminds me of my mother and many others, I'm sure. I have provided a beautiful link to it on the title and also a link to the poet.

Mother's Apron
This quilt pieced block of large print
 black material was one of Mother's
aprons and probably a dress as she
loved large print clothes. Not all our
clothes were feed sacks!

Many thanks to Pat-Arkansas of Remembrances of an Arkansas Stamper who re-discovered the source of the poem for me last year. I had read the poem in an anthology call Leaves of Gold, or similar collection, this book along with many others went the way of a yard sale to reduce dust accumulation in my house.

Over my life in my parental home, there were other rules but this one sticks in the deepest recesses of my mind. Mother fussed and fumed when other children violated this edict on our property.

We lived on a very traffic-busy residential corner and our property had a brick wall and monuments marking the entrance to a subdivision, nicknamed "Silk Stocking Row."

This subdivision had expensive stylish homes for the times. Dad happened to pick the house at a bargain as a result of the Great Depression. He also found similar bargains in furniture. Being extremely frugal and unimpressed with the "get rich Wall Street crowd" he simply saved. Nor did he lose anything when the banks closed, to my knowledge.

Children loved to climb and walk on the brick wall. Often Mother would ask them to refrain from this activity. I'm sure she had liability issues in mind. No telling what the kids told their parents about that mean old lady on the corner of Ave. K and Elizabeth Dr!

The most memorable occasions I swallowed my vow was several occasions after marriage, when children mutilated our property, with bicycles, tricycles, scooters and simply traipsing home. I would complain to my husband.

He, who criss-crossed pastures and fields on the way home from school, could not understand my angst. One day he asked me, quite innocently, "what are the kids hurting?"

I replied, "My parents, or my Mother would not let us cross other people's property." And then it hit me ... oh! S...T. I have become just like her!

Upon reflection many other smaller habits, I adopted or inherited or whatever word you choose, but have relinquished over time. She saved twisties, the plastic wrapped wire on breads, etc., all rubber bands, paper clips, even cottage cheese containers.  [Being heavy, she, like me was always on a diet--I hate cottage cheese to this day.]

Today, I have a few of all of these items, but not huge drawers, filled to the brim, or cabinets filled with empty containers saved from various purchases. You must remember my parents lived through the Great Depression.

Bowls collected by
purchasing a certain
brand of Oatmeal.
I own this bowl.
 We ate lots of oatmeal to get the dishes distributed in the box. Various dried beans and cornbread were staples, which I actually enjoy to this day.

I much more enjoyed Cracker Jacks for the little plastic toys! Besides Cracker Jacks tasted better than oatmeal with their syrup-c0ated popcorn, peanuts--my addiction again!

Mother's Quilt -  Piecing of various clothing
we wore out or out-grew - some originally sewn
from colorfulprint feed sacks for chickens or
livestock. Some clothing became aprons before
quilt pieces.Her generation practiced recycling!
I think this may be the popular Garden Path
pattern, but some of you quilters may
correct me. I do not piece or quilt.
  Strangely I never felt deprived, and due to my parents' frugality and team management, we were not, in my judgement. Yes, Mother occasionally sewed me a "feed sack" dress.  I was just as proud of those dresses as if they came from the dry goods store, even though Mother's sewing efforts were somewhat elementary.

For you who never heard the word, chicken feed sacks, as well as other farm feeds once came in colorfully design bags, easily converted to dish towels, aprons, small dresses. When the dresses no longer fit,they became quilt pieces. I have a small quilt she pieced from some of our clothes, I remember to this day. Clothing was also swapped between cousins. I, being the oldest, had few hand-me-downs.

 I found the pieced motifs in a dresser drawer and had it quilted by a friend after Mother died. I loaned it to Daddy as I thought it might comfort him. There are some soiled spots but I was able to clean most of it and it adorns a church bench in my house to this day.
Family motif??
If I had to guess, Mother has a piece
from all family members in this motif
although I don't see one Dad would
have worn at all. I recognize parts of
of two chilren's garments, and
of Mother's aprons.

[Part 3, Christmas - hope I get it written by Christmas!] 


Lorna said...

I am SO enjoying these views into your life. the quilted pieces must be very precious to you. I never had a feed bag dress, but my mother made me a winter coat from an army blanket---it was khaki wool and she put red trim on it. since I lived on an Army base, there was no hiding the source, but the panache with which she used it always drew compliments, not jeers. At least that's the way I remember it.

rosaria at the lake said...

This is a beautiful, warm and endearing post, about memories, resolutions, and the things we save to keep our rituals strong and supportive. We are all of these and more, with each experience, each encounter.

Arkansas Patti said...

That quilt is a lovely idea. I love the recycling you all did, from clothes to quilts.
My mom was an invalid, so it was my dad who made my dresses--he had worked his way thru college as a tailor. In one of our poorer years, dad made me two school dresses, same pattern, same material, just different colors--one green and one brown. I was Ok with it till I learned my friends used to take bets on what color I would wear on Mondays. It became a game to fool them and wear jeans on Monday.
Wonderful post.

faye said...

What a lovely post.
My mom just recently had to stop
quilting, but she did piece by
hand and made from scraps 3 quilts
for me . I am reluctant to leave them
out , but I do look at and touch
them several times a year.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Loved this one, too, Carol. Lovely remembrances. Perhaps the yellow center in the family block was from a shirt your dad might have worn.

I'm looking forward to Part 3.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I love the quilted pieces. We have a couple of quilts that Hubby's mother made and I have a couple that my mother made. We treasure them.

Nezzy said...

What a wonderful story about your life and the quilts are just beautiful.

I have had a flower~sack and feed sack dresses. Those precious memories make us what we are today!!!

When my FIL passed we gathered some of his clothing and made a quilt from the for my MIL.

God bless ya and have a very blessed and merry Christmas filled with love, laughter and fudge bab y loads of fudge!!! :o)

Liz said...

What a lovely quilt! Like you I never felt deprived though my family weren't rich - but sensible.
And we do become like our parents before us.

Liz said...

And in case I don't get back before the day, have a wonderful Christmas with your one love!