When Mother died in 2003 I inherited a closet full of fabric, her sewing machine, and a cabinet full of clothing construction supplies. My father saved out a little packet of mending supplies then I loaded the rest into my car.
The fabric stash was scarfed up by a sewing circle.
I donated her sewing machine.
There was a mending kit from Glacier National Park with Mother’s name laundry marked across the back.
There were her English knitting needles. She knit a whole suit once, skirt and jacket, but she was so tired of it by the time she finished she never wore it much, and didn’t knit much after that.
There were her mother’s knitting needles and the caddy grandmother made out of an old blanket to organize them.
I stuffed the rest of it into the closet.
Meanwhile in the mountain of flotsam and jetsam on the under-house storage platform we had found the notions boxes left by my husband’s first wife and by his grandmother.
Today I sat down and sorted through the boxes filled with spare buttons, loose needles and pins (and nails, screws, night light bulbs and paperclips), a cascade of safety pins, five travel mending kits, bits of elastic, pattern tracing paper, interfacing, iron-on patches, hooks’n’eyes and snaps, fifty spools of thread in ten colors, two thimbles, two green zippers, embroidery floss and a pincushion.
Peter’s grandmother’s mementoes included a box of old old old bits of lace and a packet of gold-plated hair pins.
Some of my own spools of thread were from the sewing box Mother packed for me to take to school forty-eight years ago.
I saved out precious memories of our grandmothers and decided to keep the buttons, my favorite hand sewing gear and some of the thread.
The rest is packed up for the annual Tuolumne County Library benefit Rummage Sale. Item drop off is in two days.