April 20, 2012


Yesterday I fully intended to go grocery shopping, as the cupboards were more than a bit sparce (stewed tomatoes and dried beans anyone?). I called Gary to see if he'd like to meet for lunch and he said he would - in 45 minutes downtown at the bagel place. Perfect! But that wasn't nearly enough time to grocery shop and I kept hearing this little voice calling "Jenny, the antique mall is downtown. Please shop!" and I suddenly found myself roaming stalls of antiques. Joy!

Here's what I discovered - there are hoards of antique embroidered linens in the world! How come I'd never noticed this before? They were everywhere – so intricate and delicate. I snapped a few pics. Isn't that alphabet sampler just amazing?! What a ton of work.

Just seeing all those hankies and dishtowels and tablecloths so carefully embroidered made me think about the woman of days gone by, rocking by the fireplace in the evening, humming a little, and lovingly stitching embellishments on cloth. Women from Colonial days, the Victorian Era and those traveling West to find land to farm. Post-WWII mothers stitching their children's initials into their underwear and socks before sending them off to summer camp.

Learning this old skill makes me feel a tiny connection with those women, who were FAR more industrious and hardy than I'll ever be. Remember Ma in "Little House in the Big Woods" - when she hit that bear on the butt, thinking it was Sookie the cow? How about in "On the Banks of Plum Creek" when Pa got lost in the snow and was gone a whole night. Ma just sat by the fire, calm as can be, stitching and waiting. Even when her children showed concern and asked if she was worried she held her composure and gently sent them back to bed. I would've been freaking out, crying "Dear God, Pa's dead! What the hell am I gonna do? A lone woman with three children?! We're all gonna starve here on this piece of crap farm in the middle of nowhere!" But not Ma. She just stitched the night away.

By the time I met Gary at Bagels on Broadway (best bagels in town) I was giddy to show off my new purchases – a beautifully embroidered pillowcase and two cloth sugar sacks. As you would expect from a man, he was super excited (not!).

We split a turkey, cream cheese, cranberry sauce, sprout and sunflower seed sandwich on an everything bagel. It was so delish I wished I'd just gotten a whole one to myself.


  1. Oh thank goodness...
    here I am loving your reflections, and the pretty thrift finds, then I see your sandwich (drool) and I am aghast because you had to split it. So relieved to know I am not the only one who would've been craving the missing half!

  2. I know, right?! I keep thinking about going back and having a whole one to myself this time.


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