Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ode to my wonderful nana (and her wonderful sewing machine)

My grandmother was a wonderful woman. Formally named Carmela, she was known to most as Nana, Mom or Nellie (there was also a period, while in kindergarten, that she inconspicuously changed her name to Carol, because of her dislike for the nickname 'Nellie', but that's probably another story, for another time). Not only was she amazingly beautiful, nurturing, fun-spirited and loving, she was a woman of many many talents. She could cook (obviously). She could garden (I guess I didn't get this gene). She could put a smile on your face. AND, she could SEW. I owe her a lot of thank yous (I think we all do). So, thank you Nana. Thank you, first and foremost, for being you. And, thank you for teaching my mom, who later taught me, to cook, garden, and master the art of the sewing machine.

But back to this 'ode'. My grandmother could sew anything. She'd pick out a dress, a pair of slacks, a jumper, you name it, from Filene's (which she pronounced 'Fill-eens'), bring it home, copy it to the TEE, and take it back (cutting the cost by at least half). I have a long way to go, since I can't even thread a bobbin without doing it manually (yes, pathetic, I know), but Nellie is my inspiration and with her on my side, I can conquer the world. She did.

So, last week, I found myself down in her basement, helping my uncle clean out some old stuff. I found a lot of junk, a few little treasures. And one BIG treasure: her 'Dressmaster' (yes, that is the brand) sewing machine. It's not just a sewing machine, like the white, plastic, boxed machines made in today's era. It's a piece of furniture.

(this picture was taken, at its most open position)

And, then I got a bit carried away...

(all folded up, posing as a vanity)

(the ABC's of White Magic Sewing. a booklet including patterns for dress up vestees, if you're ever looking for such a pattern!)

The machine is made of steel. It's heavy. It's beautiful. It is timeless. And it will last forever. My grandmother was made of steel (I mean, she had to have been. the things she could complete, in that little body of hers. she was a force of nature). She was beautiful. And the imprint she left in my heart will last forever.

I am forever inspired.