my grandmother's sewing room

my grandmother had a sewing room.  it was a second-floor enclosed porch with windows on two sides overlooking her driveway, garage, and gardens-- just  across the hall from her children's bedrooms.  if i imagine my grandmother at her best i can imagine her tucking my father and his siblings into bed and then creeping across the hall to work at her desk-- listening for their gentle sleeping breath between runs of the clatter of her sewing machine.  i know that this idealized version of their home life is historically inaccurate.  my grandmother and her children always had a very complicated relationship.

my grandmother was a depression-era bride and she did not waste anything-- she had two large wooden 'teacher' desks in her sewing room (she taught fourth grade for almost thirty years), and shelves for the seemingly-hundreds of patterns she had collected over the years.  scissors were a big deal in my grandmother's household-- she had inherited an amazing set of sewing scissors that lived in a velvet-lined case-- all of 'us' (children) were taught never to use those scissors.  she made many of her every-day clothes, sweaters, and the slipcovers for her furniture.  she made wedding dresses for my cousins.  SHE could SEW.

my grandmother was a collector of things.  she inherited a great deal of furniture from her large family and she kept everything-- yet she bought very little.  she had an enormous amount of stuff, yet somehow her home never felt cluttered.  the closets and pantry and basement and attic were overflowing with stuff (she was fond of the saying, 't'ain't junk, it's good stuff' -- but she kept the rooms she lived in to a nice dull post-victorian roar.  she was good at arranging furniture-- her living room was a masterful feat of arranging the sofa and chairs so that they could both face the fireplace AND the television (which was on another wall).  and it felt both intimate AND spacious-- so that two people could have the best quiet chat AND she could host a big family party-- and it never felt too crowded.

i would like a sewing room.



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