I only ever recall my Great-grandma Manuel from way back in my early childhood memories.
I don’t remember how old I was when she passed away, but her sepia toned portrait hung in our house for as long as I could remember. She was simply refered amongst family as the “white haired” grandma.
I thought she must have lived to be ancient ---but I think she was only in her 70s when she passed away. Funny how a child’s brain determines what is old---and I’m sure to my 4 or 5 year old self, she was OLD.
My mom told me once that her grandmother Manuel’s hair started turning white in her 40s. She never dyed it, and it was long ----she just always twisted it up into a bun at the back of her neck. I can relate to that. I’ll probably end up doing the same thing. It’s sensible, easy, and leaves more money for buying fabric!
I’d be completely happy if I never have to have another PERM in my life ever ever again! ((It’s been around 15 years since I have had one ---what a nightmare those were, bad smells and all!))
Gramma Manuel wore simple rimless glasses. I guess I’m following her there too --- but my favorite pair of glasses ever? The blue cats eye pair with “diamond” studs I wore in 2nd grade. Now THOSE were cool!
Several years ago I took a trip up to Minnesota for a family reunion. My Mom’s Sister, Auntie Joy, took me down to her basement and pulled out this ratty dirty machine case. Joy is my mom’s youngest sister ---which puts Joy and myself only 5 years apart in age, so we were raised more like cousins than aunt/niece. ((Oh, did I idolize her growing up! She was SO sophisticated and beautiful and stylish ----oh I still idolize her!))
Back to the machine ---
She said she’d been hanging on to this for years, but just wanted it to go to someone who would love it,with the thought that it should be passed down to the women of our family. I hefted this machine home on the plane as my “carry-on”. It only weighs something like 43 lbs!
The fact that Joy still had this machine is a wonder. My Grandma ((Mom's & Joy's mother)) passed away when I was but 5 years old, and Joy was only 10. I really don't have anything else as a memory of my maternal grandmother, not to mention my great-grandmother -- so this was a real treasure to me.
The machine needed cleaning and oiling –and the case itself is in pretty bad shape. But after all this time, the machine, a class 15 Singer from 1942 RUNS like a champ.
I pulled her out yesterday to piece a backing:
What was I saving 15 yards of THIS double pink for anyway?
Do you see that? IN THE YEAR 2000!!! FIFTEEN YARDS?! Let’s just say that a good hunk of it is now used and what’s left I have determined to be the zig zag border on Nearly Insane – it’s insane I’ve
hoarded hearded this fabric this long!
I did get the backing pieced and the quilt quilted --- can’t show it to you yet, it’s for a future project ---but I have to tell you that I was nearly weepy sewing on Great Gramma Manuel’s Singer.
When she got this machine, MY Grandma, her daughter --- was a teenage wife & mother. It was quite the bit of gossip too, in a small Minnesota town in the early 1940s, when her daughter, Verna Fern Manuel up and married Dr. Alvin K Mach ---the local dentist who was at least 10 years her senior. ((Maybe more)) Grandma was something like 16 years young and they eloped to Iowa. I’m not sure I have details right –but I’ll double check at the family reunion in Idaho over 4th of July ---Auntie Joy is coming from Minnesota too. Yay. Oh, I love family story time!
So Verna Fern and Alvin set up housekeeping --- and at some point Great Grandma Manuel’s machine came to live with Verna Fern --- where she sewed clothes and skating costumes for her daughter, my mother Anita. My mom says she remembers this machine in the house, but whether she sewed on it herself I am not sure. More info to find out ----
But can you see why I was so emotional while simply piecing a backing and putting on a binding yesterday?
This machine has been touched by 4 generations of women in my family. I wish I knew what else it had sewn. Wouldn’t it be nice if machines came with diaries to list every article it ever made? Who’s hem’s it raised, who’s knees it patched, who’s curtains it crafted? I don’t get this machine out to play enough. Sometimes I pass it by for zippier, flashier models with fancy colors and sleeker body types, more features ---but this is the machine I have the most connection to.
I’m off today to run to Statesville to spend a bit of time with a California Friend, Sherry, who has been traveling the country with her hubby in their 5th wheel ---I need to catch her before they head back west, so today is it!
We’ll grab some lunch, and there may be some antiquing stops on the way --- or----wouldn’t it be fun to do some girly stuff and go get a pedicure? It all depends on how much time we have while they are having maintenance done on their 5th wheel before they hit the road --- we’ll play it by ear and it will be great to see each other again!
Happy Tuesday, everyone!