|The harbor as I remember it....|
While the needle was gliding gently under and over threads and I was carefully counting the threads in the beautiful soft linen, my mind was doing some serious wandering! I haven't done any true needlework in a long time, probably before my hand surgeries, but I found a project that really called out to me. I had to make it.
I was thinking back to the first time I was passionate about needlework, the first project I ever tackled. My interest was peaked in upstate New York. We were stationed up there, and Dad took us to Fort Stanwick quite often. I was excited to live there and go as often as possible. I was fascinated with the period clothing, the wonderful crafts and life as portrayed. It was 1975, and I was waiting oh so not patiently for 1976, I was beside myself with wonder at going there to celebrate our nations bicentennial.
The military had other idea's and 1976 would find us across an ocean living on the island of Crete. I remember being so devastated to miss the bicentennial. I felt like I was missing something that tied me to the past. The base had a wonderful bicentennial celebration, boats brought the pilgrims to shore and they brought it all to life, I rapidly overcame my disappointment.
That assignment was also one of the first times I started to explore things that would gladly carry me to where I am today. Our landlord was a Greek priest, his daughter Maria became a dear friend, we were so close in age. Her momma, Mammas, gave me my first needlework project. She was shocked that I was already in sixth grade and had completed no needlework projects for my hope chest. Huh, what was a hope chest? What kind of projects was she talking about??
They opened Maria's hope chest and I was awestruck! Here we were the same age and yet she had created the most beautiful linens, aprons, wall hangings, napkins, tablecloths, and so many other beautiful items that she had made to prepare for her future.
Bless their hearts they tried to help me catch up. Hard to believe that 37 years have passed since I held that first needlework project in my hands. I remember it had beautiful flowers, and that I tried. But my unskilled hands did not treasure the experience, and I gave up! As time would go on Mammas would take the project back and have Maria finish it for her hope chest, but I would sit and watch them stitch and learn by watching.
I only remember bits and pieces from back then, but it has held tightly with me for almost four decades, I am pretty sure that Mammas was one of my first role models to inspire me, to awaken that crazy creative mess that was deep inside me.
As I work on this particular piece, I think back to that time. I wonder if that wonderful family that touched mine so strongly is still safe and what became of Mammas, Pappas, Maria, baby Georgie and their older brother who's name has slipped away from me. Did Maria marry her prince charming and decorate her life and home with those wonderful treasures? If I could go back I would love to see them again, and show them that I did finally learn the skills and lessons they patiently tried to teach me, but my headstrong American ways just caused me to go a bit slower.
Someday I will find those photo albums... share those wonderful photos... for now they will have to stay in my memory!
Do you remember who inspired you way back when and did you ever learn the lesson they were teaching you?