Kerry wants to know what I would take if my house was on fire and I could choose only one thing.
Well, first of all, nothing’s on fire over here, so relax. But if it was –
That’s easy. My most up-to-date external hard-drive.
OK, that’s not what she meant. And I always do that anyway. Strap it around my waist every time I leave my house.
OK, first of all, I wouldn’t take just one thing. I would quickly make a sling out of bed sheets, tie it to the balcony railing on a pulley system and fill it full of everything I could grab.
OK, that’s cheating.
I hate these kind of questions.
When the family treasures were being divvied up back in the 1970’s I was foot-loose and fancy-free and not interested. But, later, one item did come to me in a strange way and if it wasn’t around anymore I’d really miss it.
My mother was visiting and I was telling her a story about how someone had stolen an old sewing machine from me. The kind that only makes a straight stitch but does it really well. It had been given to me in payment for a large sewing project. Several years later I stored it at someone’s house temporarily but when I went back to get it they said I had given it to them. Kind of a drag because I like to sew once in awhile.
My mother said, “Oh, wait a minute…” and she went out to her car and brought her old Singer out of the trunk. She had moved on to a fancier model, put this one in her car planning to take it to her storage locker, hadn’t gotten around to it, forgot it was there and had driven hundreds of miles with it hiding under the floor mat.
When I was a kid we didn’t have ‘store-bought’ clothes. We had hand-me-downs from older cousins and crazy over-sized jumpers made by my grandmother. (The one who wasn’t born in 1900.)
When I was six years old, my mother decided she’d better learn to sew because she had five daughters. She couldn’t even thread a needle back then. She bought this Singer second-hand, took sewing lessons and went on to sew practically every stitch of clothing she and her children ever wore. Shorts, tops, shirts, skirts, Easter dresses and coats, bridesmaid dresses, school clothes, blazers, hats, bell bottoms for demanding teenagers. Anything that couldn’t be sewn, she knit instead – more sweaters, scarves and mittens than I could ever count.
What I remember most about my childhood was my mother on her knees with a mouthful of straight pins pinning a hem in something or sitting with her back bent over this machine. It still sews a straight line really well.