How it Started

I never thought of myself as a crafty person. Growing up I was a tomboy who also loved to dress up and act out, a contradiction to say the least. I was the youngest of 5 children my siblings difference in age to me was 16, 14, 10 and 9 years, so to say I was a complete surprise was an understatement. I was raised in a quaint community inside of Houston called Bellaire it was in a time when you had school clothes and play clothes, when you could play outside until dusk, ate at the dining room table and there was only 5 channels on the tv. I am the product of the late 60’s a time when women burned their bras and men had some nasty mustaches. My mother was a stay at home at home mom, but she framed pictures for a number of shops around town. I would sit in her work room as she would make a frame fitting it with the right contracting color of the mats, learning her wisdom. She was the first influence into the world of art, poetry and creativity. Many days where spent going to interesting place one in particular stands out it was a Chinese antique shop I love going because the owner would always have interesting candy for me along with giving me my first little budda. She would make our play clothes, swimwear, Halloween costumes and Easter dresses. She was crafty, but, the tomboy in me was not interested in learning to do those things. I would later regret this for she started to get sick when I was 13 due to strokes so conversation between us became limited to non-existent as I got older. I lost her 11 years ago this month. I miss her.

Mom at the Lake

During the summers my parents would drive me to Shreveport, Louisiana to spend the summer with my grandparents. I look forward to that time, because I got to see my favorite aunt. Aunt Dorothy was the cool aunt everyone has, she was a surgical nurse whose favorite word was Shit (this was one of my first cuss word) she lived with my Mamaw and Papaw (my father’s parents) along with her friend Ms. Dave who also was a nurse. During the summer I shared my time with them and my Grandmother (mom’s mom) who also was a picture framer and had a large collection of antiques through out her house. Her attic was like a museum full of interesting items from the 20’s through the 50’s. I would get lost in her closet playing Joan Crawford in Sweet Baby Jane.

It was my Aunt Dorothy who taught me how to make my first embroidery stitch, latch hook rug, and tell me great stories. She smoked like a chimney, loved life and thought kids should be playful. My Mamaw all 4’11” of her along with me, aunt Dorothy and Ms. Dave who sit in the front room watching the stories embroidery something. Everyday until 4:00 we would spend it together talking and sewing then my papaw would walk me across the street to Southern Maid doughnuts (because they where made fresh at that time) and with piping hot doughnuts a coke we would eat them on the porch. Memories of those summer until 1980 when my papaw died was Paul Harvey, Baseball, Oral Roberts and soap operas, attic of treasures, fishing on the lake, McDonald’s, Piccadilly and love.

So after a long hiatus I am trying to regain something from the past the calm and pure enjoyment. My hubby bought me a sewing machine so I am learning to use it. But embroidery is my calm with my son just turning 18 and graduating in this summer I need something to occupy my down time (the little I have). So I am starting my adventure the path was started by my mom, traveled on with my aunt, mamaw then it grew over for many decades. I am pulling the grass up to start that walk again and to share with other memories of a time not that long ago when handmade meant love.

Aunt Dorothy


Shari said…
Hi Shean! This is such a wonderful story. I think we have a lot in common. I was also the youngest of 5 and remember well those days with school clothes and play clothes, playing outside till the streetlights came on, and only 5 channels on tv!!

I also had a wonderfully creative mom who sewed all my clothes and crocheted. I didn't learn to do those things when I was at home - I guess I was busy with other things . . . things that seem unimportant to me now.

I always thought Mom would be there to teach me when I was ready, but she has been gone for almost 20 years. So here I am at fifty, giving myself time to learn to be creative and to make some of that homemade love.

Oh, I remember Whatever Happened to Baby Jane - that was a scary one!!

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