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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Gramma's Legacy

By Karen Zaun Kennedy who blogs at Sweetwater Lane

Tender and loving, her hands move in and out of the red felt. Each new stitch smoothed into place with her nimble thumb, a gesture I have seen hundreds of times.

I am amazed at the tiny stitches done so quickly with a practiced precision. The needle, thin and small, like the woman; forced to do the impossible by her creative energy and vision.

With each stitch, the perfection of the holiday symbol emerges and I hear it jingle, though she has not sewn the tiny bell in place yet. Before she will, she searches through her supplies for sequins to adorn the white shape.

“What do you think, deah?” she asks in a thick Yankee accent. “What colors do you think he will like?”

“Hmmm, let me think.” I love the gold best but I’m not sure a boy would so I say blue.”

“Good choice,” Gramma replies, smiling with a twinkle in her eye that makes me think there is magic there. “This is where I must sew very carefully to hide the thread,” she continues. “Can you find me the blue?” she asks as she sorts the sequins.

Searching the vast treasures in the sewing box, I hand her a blue I think will match the royal sequins best. She puts one end in her mouth to dampen it, making it slide into the eye of the needle more smoothly.

She then pulls an arms length through the needle and snips the end with tiny scissors. In an instant, she knots one end and resumes.

Deftly she pushes the needle, back to front, inserting a tiny shimmering sequin onto its point before pushing it back through the fabric, up again through the sequin’s center and down once more to hold the gem in place. She repeats this a dozen more times until three sparkling rows adorn the bell.

I sit at her side and watch, enthralled at the ease with which she creates such holiday magic. Someday I will do this too, I think, trying to imagine a day when I will be grown up and preparing a holiday tradition for some newborn babies.

Gramma contemplates the stocking, smoothing it with her craggy nimble fingers. “Do you know how to spell his name?” she asks.

I notice the little white letters on the cluttered coffee table and lay them out in a row, rearranging until I think I have it right.

She bends her curly gray head toward me and taps each letter as she says its name aloud, “P-E-T-E-R. Very good!” she says giving me a soft squeeze.

I beam with pride, reveling in this special moment. Being alone with my grandmother is a rare thing. I am only one of many grandchildren.

The newest is my brother and this sewing project is in preparation for his first Christmas. I know Gramma has created similar stockings many times before. There are already four at my house alone. They sit on the back of the couch every Christmas Eve to receive the silver dollars, naval oranges, chocolate coins and tiny gifts.

Though the leaves are still falling outside, I shiver in anticipation, picking up a miniature gold bell, listening to its sweet tinkling. As Gramma continues to work, I settle on the familiar hooked rug and explore the array of trinkets that may one day be my legacy.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post



I loved this story about your Gramma making the newest stocking for your baby brother.

I know it is a sweet memory that you will cherish forever.

Thanks for putting the picture up so we could see what a wonderful treasure she made for you and Peter.

Merry Christmas....

Simply magic transporting me to a wonderful moment in the past. Thank you.

Oh to have had such a loving grandmother to make such tender gifts of joy. Thanks for your memories for they stir new ones in me during this wonderful season.

Yours is a touching story of how you were raised and loved.Obviously, you remember just what it takes to sew on a sequin. While many younger women no longer spend time lovingly crafting heirlooms for their family, my oldest daughter still does this kind of remembrance for our family.
I'm tearing up to think of it.

A dear story, who would we be without our grandmothers? Merry Christmas to you and thanks for sharing.

Thanks to you all for your lovely comments! Indeed, I was blessed to have this loving and talented woman for my Gramma and only hope I can pass on the same to my sweet grand daughters! Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you!

I envy anyone with the patience to sew. Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory.

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