On the way to grandmother’s house, I had trouble concentrating on my driving. It was hard to accept the fact that my maternal grandmother would no longer be in my life. I parked in front of her house and as I strolled down the narrow sidewalk towards to the front porch, I pictured her sitting in her old rocker, a crochet needle in one hand and a ball of yarn on her lap.
Grandma always had her hair pulled back into a bun and as a child, it always reminded me of a large, white donut.
Once Grandma saw me, she stretched out her arms like an eagle and demanded a big hug and a kiss from me.
“That’s what I want!” she said, her face beaming with joy.
That afternoon, I waited anxiously for Grandpa to arrive with the sewing contraption in the back of his pickup truck. He set it in the corner of the living room and I stared at it.
“Where’s the sewing contraption, Lita?” I asked her.
“Let me show you,” she said.
Grandma opened the lid to reveal the sewing machine and then pulled it out.
“How does it work?” I asked.
Grandma threaded the needle and then as she moved her feet up and down on the pedal, the machine sewed two pieces of fabric together.
“How neat!” I exclaimed.
Again, I wondered why Grandma would want such a complicated contraption. She always had so much to do at home, washing, ironing, cooking meals for Grandpa, and working in her vegetable garden in the back yard. When would she ever find time to use this complicated contraption?
“I’m going to make you some beautiful dresses with this wonderful contraption,” said Grandma.
The years passed and Grandma’s sewing skills improved. I celebrated my 15th birthday with a beautiful, pink chiffon party dress with lace trim and puffy sleeves. I had been proud to wear it.
For my high school prom, Grandma designed a yellow taffeta dress that my girlfriends envied. When asked where I bought it, I proudly said, “Grandma made it.”
My wedding dress was definitely unique. Grandma gave it a special touch by adding silk embroidery and white pearls to the bodice. Everyone thought it came from an expensive bridal boutique.
Because of her talents, Grandma succeeded in becoming a self-taught, expert seamstress. She easily copied styles from fashion magazines and received numerous requests for her sewing services, but she only wanted to sew for me.
A bright and resourceful woman, Grandma never let anything get her down. Once she started a project, she followed through until she finished it.
But there was one thing that I never knew as a child. Grandma had suffered an injury to her left eye as a teen and she only had vision in her right eye. The injured eye looked normal except for a tiny white speck on the pupil.
Despite her handicap, Grandma managed to accomplish what a normal person could accomplish with two eyes. A remarkable woman, she demonstrated that if we work around our disabilities, we can succeed.
I learned to sew on the Singer sewing machine but my finished projects could never compare with Grandma’s designs.
I unlocked the front door and walked into Grandma Lita’s quaint and cozy, but now abandoned home. The Singer sewing machine sat in the corner of the living room with a note taped on it. It read: “For my wonderful granddaughter who gave me so much joy.”
Tears streamed down my cheeks and I could not stop them. I was going to miss my wonderful Lita. No longer would I hear the sweet voice that welcomed me every time I stopped by for a visit.
“Would you like some hot chocolate with a fresh homemade donut, mija,” she’d say before she scurried to the kitchen.
REMEMBERING GRANDMOTHER(Her Sewing Contraption)