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Thursday, November 19, 2009

More "Scene Storming"

Pulling out the socks catapulted her to a damask Queen Anne chair situated in the corner of a pink room that smelled faintly of Rive Gauche and roses. Towering pines from the front yard brushed purple shadows onto smooth painted walls. In front of the window, her grandmother sat in the chair, gray curls bent low over a wooden darning egg. With knotted fingers, she fitted the tool into a wool argyle sock and began to mend a hole in the heel. On the drop leaf table behind Grandma rested a brown tinted picture of Grandpa, dressed in his Army Uniform from World War I, the only one she had ever seen in which he still had hair.

Returning to her own present, she pulled her heel-less socks from the drawer thinking, “How does one actually darn a sock? Who does that anymore? It’s another skill dying with the generations.” In her house, socks with holes landed in a wastebasket, but in Grandma’s day, wool was too dear to toss until heels became knobby from repeated repairs.

After Grandma passed, the egg resided in the lowest drawer of mother’s cherry highboy, beside her quilted sewing basket and the dented metal cookie tin filled to the top with odd buttons. That darning tool never left the drawer, its smooth maple wood a talisman, or a testament to memory, because mother didn’t use it.

As a child, it never seemed important to notice how clothes were mended; that sewing drawer spelled entertainment. She remembered fingering the soft grain of the molded egg when she reached inside the bureau, though her real target was the button tin. Digging her nails under the rim and wedging the top off, she’d dip in for a palm full and let the treasures run through her fingers. Laying them out on the floral carpet, she’d sort by color, by size, by beauty. Breaking a long thread off a spool, she’d feed the shiniest buttons on to the string, whirling the collection in circles before pulling the two ends away from each other tight. The string would bounce back and forth, the buttons continuing to spin until the momentum died. Knotting the ends together and looping it over her head produced an elegant princess necklace.

Her present button tin, sky blue with snow flakes painted on top, sits behind the glass doors of the spare bedroom curio. Originally it was a container for holiday nuts, but shaking it now gives a satisfying clank. Who knows where the darning egg went though.

Fingering the holes in the synthetic argyles she held in her hand, she balled them together and pressed them once again to the back corner of the drawer.

Anyone care to critique?


glnroz said...

This was a fun post to read, but i jumped over to your magazine articles. My hat is off to you. I dont know how I have missed these before, but I was intrigued. You commented on my post today about my "Little Sputnic". Middle daughter brought him home from Russia this past June at one year old. A million questions went through my mind as I was reading about your daughter. I won' intrude,,lol but will continue reading. My,, how have I not read this before?.. anyway,, thax for your visits..glenn

Wander to the Wayside said...

I popped over here from a comment you left on Glenn's blog. Actually, I clicked on it and then had to leave the room before it loaded, and when I came back and sat down I wondered why your blog was on my screen. But I saw on the top that you have references to articles on adoptive families, and I thought "huh?" What threw me was that I've been doing a series of posts about my own adoption story, and thought how serendipitous it was that 'adoptive families' was the first thing I saw. Anyway, as a 61 year old adoptee,I will read with interest whatever you have here, and look forward to back-reading your other posts as well.

Sharon said...

The darning egg, wool argyle socks with darned heels, button tins from Christmases past, threaded buttons spinning, all of these things took me back in time to my childhood. I had forgotten all of them. Thank you for taking me back.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I think it was wonderful how you blended the story of three generations of women, all connected by 'a common thread', so to speak. I was able to clearly see the scenes in my mind's eye.