Sharing my life and love of cross stitch. Thoughts about this and that.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Among Mother's Things - No Humpty Dumpty but an Advent Calendar I stitched years ago

Yesterday my sister and I met at Dad's to start going through the things in Mother's life that were so much a part of her. It was supposed to be excess plastic containers and pots and pans. Instead, he wanted us to go through her closets and drawer to start sort clothing - and her sewing room. I wasn't really ready to do that. You just have to turn off your emotions or it would be impossible, and even with that a sudden memory comes fondly - which leads to the catch in your chest and tears anyway.  We boxed summer and personal items for Arlington Charities, but left winter and her really nice clothing to decide on later. And there were some items Dad isn't ready to part with. Us neither. We left more than we boxed.

History of Humpty Dumpty: At least sixty years ago (probably a lot longer ago than that), my grandmother begin to make each of her grandchildren and nieces and nephews and the children of family friends a stuffed Humpty Dumpty out of scraps of fabric. It was a McMillen family tradition that Mother took over when Grandmother passed in 1958.  Thus, it wasn't surprising at all that within a day or so of Mom's death Dad asked (and others of us had already wondered but left unsaid), "Who will make the Humpty Dumpties now?"  Which led to: "Is there one at home, or can we find Mom's pattern?" So after Betty and I had boxed some and rearranged other clothes,. I went into Mom's sewing room to again look for the Humpty I'd seen in that closet, then quickly through drawers for pieces she might have already cut out and had pinned together awaiting stitching and stuffing - or at least one of Mom's homemade patterns - usually out of brown paper grocery bags. I was just going to do a quick search, since Dad had just again asked, but spotting me in there Dad came in and needed to personally double-check for himself. As he did he again mentioned calling the church ladies to come get Mom's boxes of fabric and anything else they might want. NOOOOO! Except for some of the fabric, leave everything else alone!! If it were up to me, I'd probably make Mom's sewing room an emotional oasis, it was so much a part of her and her volunteer work and her life.. I know that's me just wanting to hang on, but don't just willy nilly give everything away, Dad. WE want to keep many of her sewing things for ourselves!  Thankfully, Betty and I convinced him to leave it until later. We haven't found Humpty Dumpty as yet. I THINK I could recreate a pattern from memory (I helped her make 2 or 3 over the years to replace Humpties who had been so loved on they had fallen apart), but I might have to borrow one from a great-grandchild. I have looked online but the ones pictured are not the same. It's possible that ours was of my artist/seamstress Grandmother's own design.

Advent Calendar: In the process of sorting and repiling things from here to there, I ran across this Advent Calendar I'd stitched for Mother at least 15 years ago and presented it to her unframed.  Laying under it was the frame she'd found it would fit. Dad and I had both I promised to frame it for her over the years - but never did. If that were the ONLY one of her stitched handiwork pieces for which promises were made and never kept... Every time I ran across something I would kick myself mentally,  "Oh, I need to get that done now!" But I never remembered when I COULD AND SHOULD have done it. NEVER LEAVE ANY PROMISE UNKEPT.  The design is from a magazine. Country Cross Stitch maybe? DMC with gold cord, gold Kreinik filament, and wine red translucent seed beads. Stitched size: apx 15 x 10


Mother loved her garden and spent every morning out watering and pulling weeds. I'd taken her to the nursery 3 times earlier in the spring for plants, which she spent a very long time considering then choosing. While she was in the hospital the neighbor across the street came over to water, not wanting it to die before she could get home. She offered to continue. Dad apparently told her no need. He has no interest in maintaining any of them and they are dying in the record dry spell and almost record-breaking heat. That was her thing. Not his. Her beautiful hydrangeas are essentially already dead. The herbs and turks cap almost dead as well and her beautiful hostas and the bushes by the house and the poinsettia she'd managed to keep alive for 3 years in a pot. All dying - or maybe dead by now as well. It is killing me to see something she so loved deliberately neglected, but even when I offered to water them for him when I was there, he told me no. He'd wasted all the water he intended to on them. I can understand him not wanting to do it himself, but flatly turning down offers to help? Watching dead leaves fall from Mom's beloved hydrangeas is like watching her die all over again.

I brought above stitched piece and the frame home with the intent to frame it now and hang it on my wall. But perhaps the guilt would be too great every time I looked at it. I don't know. To be honest, I'm not sure my mother really ever knew what to do with it either as I know it was in a drawer for several years before a frame showed up with it. I can't recall, but it could have been ME that pulled it out of the drawer and a frame was later found. What does one do when one really doesn't do Christmas decorating any more?

1 comment:

Freddysmama (Kirstin) said...

Thank you Linda for sharing these thoughts and memories with us. Four years ago today we lost my husand's mother. I was blessed with a MIL who treated me as her own daughter, who I was proud to call my friend. She was also a great crafter, leaving behind her two unfinished quilts - one for my daughter and one for my best friend's daughter, neither of which I have had the chance, or the emotional fortitude, to finish...

I love the idea of your family's "Humpties" would love to see a photo sometime.