Monday, September 9, 2013

Sewing Circles

Found this very sweet OLD needle card at my Mom's.  Mom didn't like to sew. I feel sure her mother made her a sewing kit of sorts to take with her when she stayed with my dad wherever he was stationed during WWII. Mom did have to sew on patches, stripes, etc. on Dad's uniforms and buttons if necessary, maybe even hem a skirt if there was no one else to do it.
I found letters, written in later years, from several of the friends Mother and Daddy made during the war. I felt a little funny reading the intimate expressions of love, bonding the women together. One dear letter expressed how thankful Celia and Jimmy were that they met my parents when stationed in Peyote, Texas near Wink. If you have never heard of either tiny town in far West Texas don't feel left out. Mother called it "the jumping off place" because it was one, so far away from home, and two, because it was in the middle of nowhere.
For the women who arrived that weren't from Texas, it was a miserable place to be. HOT. Dry. Dust storms. Rattle snakes. The base's nickname (or real, I don't know) was Rattle Snake Bomber Base. Base housing was for officers and a few others; most found housing where they could in Wink. Tiny homes filled with love and fear, the uncertainty of what might happen next.
Celia wrote to mom many years later, " Don't know what we would have done if you and Max hadn't taken us in and shown us what to do." Celia and Jimmy were from Tennessee. Another dear couple was from Pennsylvania, Ester and Danny. Mother often talked of how homesick Ester was. Texas was SO different from 'home'.  For these women, war brought them together, bonds were built that endured until they have all gradually passed away. Christmas cards and random notes of family joys and sorrows were kept in Mom's desk.
Did these women have a sewing circle? If they did, Mom crocheted. Mom may have gotten this pincushion while staying in Wink. The fabric is from the early 40's. How cute is this! 
The Sewing Circle.
Mom didn't drive, Ester did. She took Mom to the store. They all liked to cook and shared recipes. And they laughed, cried and talked. Sounds a lot like my stitch group.
Lizzie (my great-great grandmother) enjoyed her "quiltings" as a way to gather with friends and relatives. Mother's parents owned a grocery store in the1920's through the 1940's where at the top of the stairs a quilting frame was always set with a quilt and the women who stopped in would pause in the day's routine to take a few stitches and "visit awhile".
Mom had her tightly knit group of friends to pass the time when the men away.
Thank goodness some things don't change with time.
Whether called a sewing circle, or a stitch group, gathering with friends and enjoying their company is one of  the delights of my month.
Lately, I've been preoccupied with clearing out my parents home. It took me 3 months to prepare. Several of my stitching friends helped some in prep and at the sale. Estate sale was Labor Day weekend. What a big, emotionally draining job for me. I did not hire someone to run the sale, but am very grateful for the help of husband, family and dear, dear friends. I found the answer to the question, when is a house not a home?  NOW. It is even more difficult to go over there now than when I was working daily, sifting through 72 years of collecting STUFF. It is now just a house, no longer their home. How sad is that? If you have lived through this particular trauma, you have my utmost respect and if you haven't, you may eventually. Nothing ends neatly. I was so ready for a fresh start this month, but have to catalogue the remaining items for donation and contact an organization to take the leftovers away. More sad business.
My son, Matt, had surgery Friday to reconstruct his nose after last year being hit with a baseball, (he was pitching and the batter hit a line drive to his face.)  Surgery went well with total reconstruction of septum and nose. Managing the pain is the biggest challenge at present, that, and me having to wash his hair! Can't get the nose wet, but have to clean the incision behind his ear where they took bone to construct his nose. That was interesting, need a salon's shampoo station set up! He is 26, 6'3" and has much longer hair than I do!
I sewed a little yesterday while his girlfriend was here, hadn't sewn in ages, wanted to sew more. It felt good, maybe can do some today, and...
Maybe Matt will go with me to stitch group on Friday! There's a thought!
Until next time ~


  1. What a trying time you have had. My mother gave away most of her things when she moved in with us and she didn't have much other than every day useful things. I kept her old Singer sewing machine for years before I could finally give it to my sister (she had asked for it).

    I like the vintage needle kits. The look is so much more interesting than the way sewing items are packaged for sale these days. Several years ago, one of the manufacturers sold some that were packaged in cards with a vintage look.

  2. Enjoyed your is good to catch up on your summer doings.

  3. Lovely post...indeed this last contribution to your parents home/belongings is a sad one, to see once treasured items go for sale, for others to empty house is just that isn't it, gone the warmth, love and laughter and years of memories....I hope that someone will do for us with as much consideraton as your and my family members have had to do for our old folk.......

  4. enjoyed reading your post and memories isn't that what its all about?
    yes take Matt with you to your sewing group!
    have fun , go !

  5. What a task, full of all kinds of emotions! My Mom saved everything as well. I'm so glad she did because she had all the letters and cards ever received. All the letters we wrote to her and even letters I wrote in 1955. I was so glad to see them! Hope the nose healing goes well.

  6. Hang in there, Betsy. Whatever you do, take time to stitch and make time for yourself. A little pampering sounds like a good idea right now.

  7. Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings. Yes, there are many of us who have experienced the same situations. And have also been lifted up by women friendships like the women who came before us.

  8. Having been thru what you were talking about, I can understand, but it occurred to me while reading it, you had the makings of another book. My first husbands' family in Brownwood, Texas had service men and their families stay with them during WWII. I remember one summer we were there, a man and his wife came back from Virginia to see Jim's Mother. It was very touching. Barbara Cissne

  9. I love those old needle books! I found one in my grandmother's old sewing stuff and it had Sewing Susan on the cover--that's MY name, so it is really special.
    Looking forward to when you come to Tyler in November for our guild program.

  10. Wonderful post and much appreciated. Your writing is divine and these stories would be wonderful in a book one day. As mentioned, we have all been thru, going thru or may eventually. For now, take time for lots of stitching, it's the Best!

  11. Betsy I really enjoyed your post and your special memories. I am lucky enough to have one of those needle keeps too, it belonged to my Mum and I feel so lucky that she kept it. Quilting was not part of my family's heritage but my Mum was a sewer and before having children made her own beautiful clothes.
    I treasure any link to the past!
    Sharon in Sydney