A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The love my Mama sewed in every stitch....

When you are a downsizer you can't save a lot of things and it's odd sometimes what you choose to save. I was emptying out our storage closet last week since we don't have enough left in it to justify keeping it and I ran across 2 things Mama had made for me. 

One was a set of kitchen towels she had crocheted a border on so you could button them to a cabinet or stove handle. Every home in the South has these, I believe, and our house had them as far back as I can remember. Mama made these for me when we bought our house in Katy 12 years ago.

The other and the most precious was some faded yellow curtains with nursery characters appliqued on the border. Mama made these when Larry was a baby. I was 18 years old when Larry was born. Looking back I realize what a baby I was myself. My mom still had 5 kids at home, the youngest my brother Lee who was only 8 years old. She worked full time and there were a lot of things going on in the family to cause her grief. Yet she worked at night making these for Larry's room. She cut out the nursery rhyme characters from a piece of material and hand appliqued them onto the yellow fabric. Yellow has always been one of my favorite colors. I like the warm fiesta colors - reds, yellows, and oranges. 

Larry was her first grandchild and held that special place that only the first one can hold. The first ones always seem to be the most independent and don't always stay close in proximity but they have that distinct place in the family that no one else shares with them. They are the ones you learn with and you often wish you could go back and do over some things. Mama made a lot of clothes for Larry when he was a baby. I think he was the only grandchild she did that for. I don't know where she found the time but she did and he is wearing things she made in some of his baby pictures.

Larry's baby bedroom was very plain and cheaply furnished. It didn't have all the latest gadgets and toys that kids have now. It didn't have a theme and his bedding wasn't special order that cost as much as the house payment. He had one pacifier and when that was misplaced you were in for a long night. I washed clothes every day because he would run out of diapers if I didn't. Pampers had just come out but we couldn't afford them. 

The yellow curtains were the most special thing about his room. They were made by a grandmother who was overworked and stressed almost beyond endurance during those times. My dad was drinking and the financial situation at their home was dire. My own marriage was not stable and never was from the beginning. I had knowingly married a man who bullied me and ran around on me because things were bad at my home and I wanted to get out of there whatever the cost. 

My mother and I were bound together in our unhappy situations, the feeling of helplessness shared and unspoken between us. But Larry was the joy that bound us also. And the gift of her time and the love she sewed into the baby curtains made them a treasure to rival Dolly Parton's coat of many colors. 

So for 15 moves these faded yellow curtains have made the cut when it came time to pack. I never consciously thought about why I kept them when I threw out items that were more expensive and fashionable. I just knew I could not let them go. They bind me to my mother still. And to the love she, baby Larry, and I shared. A love that brought a happiness to an 18 year old teenager during a time that saw much in the way of heartbreak for Mama and for me.

I cried when I saw these. This week it's been a year since Mama was released from her Alzheimer's prison. When the roll is called up yonder she'll be there.


  1. Absolutely beautiful, Mrs. Moak. I have some of these thoughts of items of importance to me this week as I move, too.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I hope your move goes well. One thing available now is to take photos and make photo books of the kids artwork and schoolwork. Your girls are beautiful, by the way, and outstanding little people! I enjoyed your post about how a person changes as their life changes and as our age changes.

    2. Beautiful post Sue, as I read it I couldn't help but identify with you in many ways. Marrying too young, bad start, financial problems. Washing diapers... loved using cloth diapers. Handmade baby clothes from mama. Makes me want to take pictures of all this stuff.