This was one of those pearls of wisdom phrases I heard often in my childhood. My ninth grade sewing teacher, Sister Mary Seamstress might have used it more than once in the hour we had to sew on our projects. My mother said it but I cannot recall why…unless we were talking about mending a loose hem in a dress of a split seam, which in that case seemed very appropriate.
Yesterday I was hard at work on a sewing remodel task. I had two articles of clothing, both over forty years’ old and obvious favorites because they were still in my closet. My project involved making bell shaped sleeves from a well-worn white dress to insert in the even more well-worn shirt to replace sleeves had been cut away earlier.
It was day two, time to insert the newly fashioned sleeves into the arms of the shirt. I carefully pinned both sleeves make certain to match length on both. As I prepared to sew the first sleeve, I sat at the machine and heard the tugging voices in my head-who spoke louder was a toss-up. The female voices, in chorus, said: BASTE THOSE SLEEVES before you sew.
Although not a novice, it had been almost a decade since I undertook a real sewing project- sewing a loose button or reattaching a loose hem was pretty much the long and short of it. Basting was something I had not ever done much of. I was an “oh, jut wing-it” seamstress. I let the hum of the machine drown out mother’s and Sister’s voices. To my credit, I DID pause after the first sleeve. I decided to try it on -just to check. To my horror, the sleeve was stitched in, at fine tight stitch setting inside out! White thread, vintage, frail white fabric and 71 year old eyes that need new glasses… The heavy sigh I uttered allowed the chattering in that sewing room in another place to resume. It took just over an hour to rip what I sewed in less than two minutes.
I used my time spent ripping to ruminate again my infamous Ben Casey shirt, made when I was thirteen and fourteen. Sleeves were both sewn inside and upside down. I stared at it in near shock before throwing it in a corner where it remained for the rest of the summer. It emerged in the spring of the following year. I had completed my sewing projects for school and needed something else to work on. Sister Mary Seamstress brought the new project to me-that damned Ben Casey blouse had been hauled to school and given to her by my mother. Until I finished that blouse, I was making nothing else. I am certain the phrase: BASTE THOSE SLEEVES, was spoken again during this event and burned into teenage brain cells that day in 1963, filed away until needed again at age seventy one yesterday.
Now to fashion some lacy something to fill in the bleach shredded bodice…
If you were still here.I would remind you of the hot, heavy and humid June day when you were finally born-fighting the forceps that yanked you, almost against your will from the womb.You loved these sweltering days-you were born to thrive above 90 degrees, I believe. You were a heat up the grill and ice down the beer kind of guy; call everyone up and go camping at the lake kind of man. My son. My first born with almost a twin-like hold on me…Oh, I miss you. Yes, I know you have been gone already fifteen years. Yes, I have moved on-it’s just I drag your smiling spirit along for the ride. There are so many things, I would like to sit on the deck and discuss with you. The world as it is now, which is nothing like the world you left behind. Politics-I imaging we might bump heads on that one; the concept of Face Book and Instagram. I checked the freezer for Elgin sausage and fat chicken legs; I will barbecue inside because I never liked the weather this time of year. I did hear it might rain, too. I might make a chocolate cake and you would eat it all and then rub your full stomach and SMILE. I guess that is what I miss the most, my son, your smile; how the smile started in your eyes before making its way down to your mouth. That is how I remember you, how I always see you in my mind’s eye. I hope where you are there is a lake with a great place to swim, and cook for your friends and family; where the weather is to your liking and there’s a smooth spot to pitch your tent. Happy birthday, Steve.
In the beginning, I thought it was going to be just a sweet story of a child on a trip “back home” with his father. It is this and so much more. Next, I decided it would be perfect in a school library for middle school children. It is also that.
I let myself settle in on a cold weekend and become an invisible family member as the author, on the trip of a lifetime with his aging parent, hands the microphone to his father, Trygve to tell the story of living in Norway with his maternal grandmother, mother, and siblings on the west coast of Norway in Norway. And what a story it is!
Rich with descriptions and locations and family life, it also has danger and intrigue through the eyes of a Norwegian youth in Germany’s early occupation of a neutral country. While neither a boy nor Norwegian, I quickly found myself becoming a shadowy partner to his life and antics.
It takes the reader through peacetime, the war and the ultimate goal of rejoining his father in America
A well-written and engaging book for readers of all ages! I found myself drifting back in time to another place, another life, filled with adventure!
The morning begins with a heavy fog blanket, and a warm beginning to a Texas Christmas. The grey cloud that has shrouded my spirit is lifted. Our Christmas tree shimmers with fiber optics sending colors racing around the darkened room.My coffee cup is warm and full, as is my heart. All is calm, all is right. The soft blue glow of our Nativity a reminder of the reason we celebrate this occasion. May the Peace that enveloped Bethlehem also surround this Earth with peace today.
December 14, 1971 found me in the midst of holiday planning, tree decorating and cookie making.
Big plans for later that day reinforced my need to finish what I could. My three year old son was anxious to help and we merrily rolled peanut butter cookies into balls to be baked as the next batch signalled it was done! His excitement was as real as mine! His blue eyes sparkled in the blinking Christmas tree. By noon we were ready as that was our deadline.
My husband arrived at the appointed hour.It was pre-arranged and several weeks early.Today our new baby would arrive in the chilly early Kansas evening.
This day a son was born to a little family. His arrival would forever change our lives.
Happy birthday, my son, Michael!You light up our lives!
Wash from waving dunes to undulating
Whispering” come follow”…
Tracing ancient, ageless paths
across the empty beach.
Under a silent silver sky,
I stoop to scoop a single shell,
The broken and the whole.
The wind and sand polish my cheeks soft.
70 years of living
Smoothed to satin, again
Reborn of the wind…
Following timeless ripples to the sea.
Port Aransas, TX