Sunday, January 17, 2010
Beware the Lace Bandit
I have to preface this post with a disclaimer: Our mom is very generous. There have been several times when she's opened her heart -- and dug deep into her savings -- to help Janet or I out of a serious bind. She's generous in small ways, too. This past summer she told me she was going to sell what was left of her china at a garage sale, and I developed a sudden attack of nostalgia.
"Those dishes with the green leaves? I love those dishes! They're the dishes of my childhood."
Well, she took them out of the 'to sell' pile, packed them up carefully, and shipped them almost 4,000 kilometers across the country to me. Of course when Janet came over she said, "How come YOU got the china?!"
(Please note that the 'china' consisted of 5 dinner plates, 2 platters, a sugar bowl and a cracked gravy boat.)
On top of her generosity, Mom is known for her quirky sense of humor ("You were an easy child to raise -- You were so gullible," she told me once.) She's also known for her 'thing' about lace... and trim... and fabric.
Like Janet, Mom is a wonderful seamstress, but her thing for lace goes above and beyond the need for supplies. I think she has an unconscious belief that one day they will suddenly stop making lace and she'll be caught short. Never mind the boxes of it in her basement! She wants to be well-prepared for the next event that requires frilly trim...even if it's outfitting the Canadian Armed Forces in pretty nightgowns. She's reluctant to let go of her current stock -- of anything.
Just this spring, she called me on the phone, bubbling with excitement over the vintage Ultra-Suede she'd found. She knew that Janet and I treasure the original Ultra-Suede, because it has the stiffness to make perfect doll hats and other items. It's also getting hard to find.
"I'll send you some," she enthused.
Well, I waited, and waited. And finally the envelope came: it contained 4 square inches of Ultra-Suede.
"It's just a sample," she explained. "I'll send you more if you need it."
Sure you will, Mom.
But the most illuminating event occurred on her last visit to us, a few years ago. She surveyed my work area/basement and in true Mother fashion, put her hands on her hips. "This is a dump! How can you find anything down here? Look, the drawers on this cabinet won't even close, they're crammed so full."
I had to admit she was right, so the two of us set to work sorting and cleaning. We brought out the drawers full of trim and made 2 piles -- one to keep and one to throw out. I could hardly believe it. I don't even sew! How did I get so much stuff? There was ribbon, lace, pipe-cleaners, bows, you name it.
We were diligently ruthless and it still took almost a whole day to get through. We worked on the kitchen table, because it was the only clear horizontal surface in my home. but when I put the drawers back into the cabinet, they actually closed, and I had a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. Good old Mom.
After she'd left, my son Ben and I reminisced about the visit.
"And the funniest part," Ben said, "was when Grandma was sneaking all that lace into her purse. You know, when you were cleaning the drawers at the table...?"
..."You were an easy child to raise -- You were so gullible"...
Good old Mom. You'll notice she's wearing dark glasses in the photo, like other con artists.