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Our Heritage.

As mentioned previously I grew up in Antiques. However, my own personal heritage is surprisingly lacking. Our family history goes back to our grandparents childhood and then after that it’s sort of mysterious. I don’t mind because the history I do have is rich and full and beautiful and I know I get to add to it. That being said I am rather curious, where did we come from, why did we come? And that got me thinking about my love for sewing and writing. The writing part is not too hard to find in my DNA, my parents are readers and read to us. My mother wrote a fantastic children’s book that she never tried to publish (I still think she should), but where oh where did the sewing come from? My mother, aunts and Grandmothers do NOT sew. And I’ve always been into that kind of thing, even from a really early age. Santa always left a small craft in my stocking and that is frequently what I chose to buy with my birthday money. My parents certainly tried to nurture that side of me, but where did it come from originally?

I’ll be honest I love the idea of things being passed down to us from people we never had the joy of meeting. I like the idea that some great great great grandchild of mine might love to craft stories, or blankets and it might be because of me. I’m fascinated by the thought that our legacy is sometimes more secret and magical then the physical things we leave behind. I asked my Grammy, one time, where I could have gotten the love-of-sewing and she told me that my Papa’s (Grammy’s husband) mother had sewn a lot. They were farmers during the depression and when I asked if she’d sewn because she’d wanted to or because she had to Grammy wasn’t sure. She thought it was a bit of both.

The thing is when I was young maybe in sixth grade or even younger Grammy gave me a scrap quilt (also sometimes known as crazy quilts) that her mother-in-law had made and I slept under if for years. It was always cool to the touch and heavy and I loved all the different patterns, form scraps of fabric that had been her dresses and curtains and who knows what else. Those times I was sick I’d lay beneath it reading and sleeping and just looking at all those pieces of fabric. When I was well I would pretend my bedroom was Sara’s from A Little Princess tucked away in the attic with Becky the maid.

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My scrappy quilt.

The quilt is tattered rags now, I can’t bring myself to part with it. What if all those nights sleeping under it’s hand stitches imbued me with some love of fabric, sewing and making? What if the love of my Great Grandmother to my Papa and his new wife leached into the blanket and then into me? This quilt feels special. It feels like maybe this is my link to the past and to those lost parts. I hope that something I make will do that to someone I love. I hope some child far down the line picks up a doll sitting on a shelf, a doll I made for their grandmother, and feels a stirring in their soul, a wonderment, a desire for needle and thread…

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2 thoughts on “Our Heritage.

  1. This one made me cry Jess. Love it. My Grandma Kempton was a really special lady. She did lots of sewing and crafts. She made dolls and quilts and all of her own clothes. That pincushion made from a soup can that you have. She probably did much of it out of necessity but I believe she really loved to create and to make things for people she loved, just like you. You would have loved her and she would have loved you! Thanks for your words that made me stop and reflect today. Love you!

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