I often think of how I became who I became via The Women in Me: How I learned what I have learned in this life. I owe much of it to the women who I watched, learned from, and admired.
The Women in Me: Sewing
As I thread the needle, I see my grandma, with her glasses on her nose searching for the eye.
As I tie the knot, I see me sister who taught me how, rolling the thread off her fingers.
As I stitch the first stitch, I feel my ma-maw’s seamstress fingertips, on the needle…holding the fabric.
Even though I never met my grandfather’s mother, we have seen her hands in a picture holding the twins.
I watch her hands do my work, that’s what I brought from her life into mine, her hands.
As I watch my seam, I see my first shoddy repair, it still holds 20 years later.
As I thread my mom’s old machine, I do as she taught me, check the settings, and oil the gears.
As I backstitch or tie off that final stitch, I think of Andrea Sam’s my home-ec teacher.
(She is Loni Anderson’s sister, you know…)
As I measure out a yard, from fingertips to the tip of my nose, I think of every woman who taught me to sew: They all measured that yard the same, four foot eleven or five foot three.
When I make a mistake, I think of Lucy, and her patiently showing me how to seam-rip my bag opening back open after I had sewn it shut.
I stop for a moment and stretch my neck; I see my ma-maw hunchbacked from osteoporosis and decades bent over her tailor’s machine that fed all her babies in that one-horse West Texas town.
As I save that bit of good fabric and add it to my stack, I think of my grandma and her you-never-know hoard of fabric.
As I close the lid on my mother’s antique sewing chest, I always send her a little gratitude for letting
me take care of it.
And I say a little thank you to all these women in me for teaching me a little bit of an almost lost art.
Who are the women in you?
~Joli A. Campbell