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Monday, February 19, 2007

Yesterday's Memories...Hope For Tomorrow

So what does a person nicknamed 'Renaissance Woman' do with her free time?
When she isn't playing backgammon on www.WorldWinner.com (to which she's terribly addicted), knitting, weaving, or writing long letters and gathering little gifts to send to her daughter in Rhode Island, sometimes she sews clothing or quilts
This is a quilt I'm working on for my daybed. I cheated and bought the 4" squares pre-cut from eBay. For the back and binding, I'm using a lovely dusty lavender imitation suede cloth I believe is sometimes known as 'moleskin.'
When my twenty-two-year-old daughter was young enough to be a Brownie Girl Scout and I was energetic enough to be her Troop's Leader, I made over a dozen of these four-piece (I neglected to photograph the ruffle-trimmed muslin bloomers)1800's outfits for the girls who wore them proudly during an outing to Sturbridge Village, a living museum in Massachusetts.>

The girls had voted to make the trip to Sturbridge and had begged me to construct clothing like the museum's docents wore. It took two loooong months to pre-wash, iron, cut, and sew those outfits for our excursion. A portion of our meeting dues was used to purchase the several hundred yards of fabric for the costumes.

Entrance fees to the museum were earned by the girls who for two months, nurtured herbal plants cut from one of my gardens, then dressed like little Laura Ingalls, sold them along with homebaked goods at a yard sale in the driveway of my antique home.

We were invited to march enmasse in costume in the Memorial Day parade, which we did. All the girls carried little American flags and the two leading our group carried a calico banner I'd whipped up the night before to advertise who we were.

Prior to making the trip, I had taught them what life was like for a child their age living in the 1800s. They learned how to weave on my 4 harness floor loom and my Brownie daughter, Monique, taught them how to spin on my spinning wheel.

Local newspapers got wind of our project and showed up to photograph and interview the girls the day of our trip.

Docents at the museum commented on how well-versed my troop was about 17th century life and the pride I felt almost made up for the serious case of hemorrhoids I had developed from sitting and sewing eight weeks straight.

Years later I encountered a couple of my former Brownies and their mothers and they told me how much they valued the memory of our Sturbridge Village project. Since that time, I have lost my daughters, my home, my financial security, and nearly my sanity. But, whenever I've felt hopeless and worthless, I've tried to recall those hectic days when I was a Brownie Troop Leader and remember the smiles and hugs the girls freely gave me and I know in my heart that I made a difference. And wherever I am at this point in my life, I am 'right where I'm supposed to be.' Life's trials and tribulations are simply stepping stones on life's journey. And man, the boulders I've had placed before me should really speed up my progress if I can just quit complaining about them and continue climbing ahead.

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