Friday, 18 March 2011

Yes, I have a sewing machine

        Yes, I have a sewing machine.  Actually, I have two.  If it seems extravagant to have two when I rarely use either one of them, then I must explain as to why I have two.
        Sewing is a part of my family heritage.  Grandma Cox learned to sew from her Grandmother Fisher, who raised her.  My Grandmother taught my mother sewing skills.  When my mother went to high school, she got involved with a program called 4-H Club.  The 4 “H’s” stand for:  Head, Hands, Heart and Health. 
        Each year the clubs have competitions, starting at local county levels and going up to State Fair Levels.   
         When my Mom was about 14 or 15, she created a princess-line dress to enter into the annual fair.  Winning First Prize at the Greene County Fair level, the dress qualified to go to the Indiana State Fair.  Mom's dress placed 3rd, and she was awarded a white ribbon. 
       Here’s the story of how the Black Electric Singer came to be in our home.  It was 1958 and Dad was stationed at an Air Force Base in Kansas.  He came home on a weekend pass to marry my Mom.  After the ceremony, he packed up my mother and her son, and they returned to Kansas.  Within the first week, after getting Mom and my half-brother settled in, Dad went down to the local department store and bought Mom a wedding present—a brand new Black Electric Singer.  It came with all kinds of attachments for making button holes, making drapes, making fancy stitches and its own carrying case.  It was heavy, because it was metal.  Mom truly enjoyed using it to make clothes for us, curtains, cushion covers and mending our old clothes. 
       In 1967 we had just moved to Atwater, California, site of the former Castle Air Force Base.  As a part of a “Welcome to your new home” package, Mom was blessed with another sewing machine--this time a zig-zag.  It also replaced the black straight-stitch Singer with all its attachments.   I’ve spend over an hour-and-a-half looking on-line for the brand name of her sewing machine, with no success.  It was an off-brand and new in 1967.
              When she got the beige zigzag sewing machine, the Black Singer, with all its attachments found a new home in the closet.  In 1969 Dad retired from the US Air Force and we returned to Indiana.  The Black Singer went to my Grandma Cox.  It was a great boon to her, because she sewed a lot as well.  Until the Black Singer arrived, she was using a Singer treadle sewing machine, circa 1880's.  I’m not sure how she came by it. As a widow, she had a limited income.  People would pay her to mend clothing and make clothes.  I admired how Grandma could replace a zipper in a pair of jeans, take a dress in, or let it out to fit better.  My memory is full of the sound of her feet making that treadle rock and hum at an amazingly fast rate.  
                I asked my Mom to get me started sewing when I was about 12 years old.  I used her zigzag sewing machine to make a dress of lavender gingham.  I used Mom's machine off-and-on for years.       
        After Grandma Cox died in 1986, the Singer Treadle went into storage at my Uncle’s house.  I took ownership of the Black Electric Singer.  That Black Electric Singer went with me to Texas in the 1990’s.
        When I went to work with Youth With A Mission in Scotland, the Black Electric Singer had to remain in Indiana with Mom.  It lived in its case in a cupboard.  When I was getting married and moving to the UK, the Black Electric Singer was passed onto one of Mom’s “unofficial daughters.”  That was a bit sad for me, as I knew that getting a transformer/converter to work well here in England would be a real challenge.
        However, it came to light that the “Rocking” treadle machine that had been my grandmother’s was actually waiting for me!  My Uncle and Aunt had kept it for me, as I had moved around so much.  So, along with my other worldly possessions, it was packed onto shipping container and shipped to England.  I haven’t been able to use it in the eight years I’ve been here.  It needed a new belt, and still needs a good cleaning and lubrication. 
        Another surprise was waiting for me.  On the day I arrived here in England, My Midnight Man pulled a bunch of presents for me out of the cupboard.  He’d bought me two cookbooks, a picture book of the royal family AND—believe it or not—a White Singer Sewing Machine!  I was so thrilled.  My Midnight Man was surprised by my reaction—I IMMEDIATELY wanted to ring my Mom.  He didn’t know that he was repeating history.  Just as my Mom’s wedding present was a sewing machine, My wedding present was a sewing machine.  I was delighted! 
        And so THAT is how I come to own two sewing machines.  One works—one COULD work if it ever gets some tender loving care.  Both are a treasure to me.  I just wish I were more inspired and disciplined to use them more often! 
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith—“Lady Helene”

1 comment:

  1. How bleast you are. I remember the Singer treadle my Mom had. I learned how to sew on it. Barely. I could make it go backwards but seldom forwards. Hahaha! So off I went to an "Official" Singer Sewing Machine store and learned how to sew on an electric. My Mom then got an electric sewing machine, which is still living in the front bedroom of her house.