Flashback Post: Happy (Gram) Mother’s Day and Facing Out

In honor of Mother’s Day, today seems like the perfect time to begin the process of sharing some now and again ‘flashback posts’ I’ve written over the years at my original Serendipity Woods blog. As we get to know one another here, I want to share with you that though my childhood was not what I would consider terribly remarkable, it did involve a fair bit more instability than I think is average. That instability was stabilized, however, by two people that made a most incredible impression upon this young girl: My grandparents.

Peanut butter toast with cinnamon and orange juice in the big bed, ca. 1972. To this day, it’s my all-time favorite breakfast (which I hardly every eat, since – you know…carbohydrates, and all).

Though I’ll surely share some flashback posts about the awesome guy that was my granch (the childhood enunciation for grandpa, which originated with my sister and stuck), today I want to share this one about my gram, which I hope will distract her (in heaven) from rearranging furniture, relentlessly cleaning what is already spotless, and being stressed about how loud the ‘telly’ is whilst branch is watching the baseball game.

For the sake of painting a picture of her, I called her gram because as I grew older, I began to realize that the moniker ‘grandma’ made her feel elderly – which until she was well into her nineties, she was definitely not. Throughout the 1980s, for instance – she wore my acid-washed jeans with stylish floral sweatshirts and was, overall, among one of the coolest grandmas out there. Hence, ‘Gram’ fit her so much better. All my friends called her Gram too. Incidentally, my Granch was Granch to all of them as well.

Anyway, without further adieu folks, Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing, crafty moms and grams out there, and to my gram especially, who gave bouancy to my imagination without even knowing she was doing it.

Facing Out

My grandmother was a neatnik. She had this incredible ability to whip up a room, sparkly fresh, organized to the hilt, in a matter of moments. Yet I grew to know her processes were not always  just about neatness. One of the fondest memories I have of her is how she neatened my stuffed animal friends. One would think with her inability to tolerate clutter, a bin with a cover in the corner would be her first choice for a little girl’s stuffed animals; but no. She arranged them upon my bed, every day, in comfortable positions, facing out. Particularly, their faces were directed toward the door, where I would inevitably enter to see them all, happy and joyful together, waiting just for me to come home.  It was that she felt them needing her to respect their identities and spirits, as if they were real. More than that, I think she did it because she wanted me to feel them REAL. I did, and still do.

Fabrics inspire me in serendipitous ways, but clothing items especially grab me in a unique way because there’s something so meaningful to me in making something new out of something that’s almost never too old to just toss away. Beyond that, giving that item a face, an identity, a REALness, matters deeply to me. In fact, as I finish each face, I’m always seeking one common elocution to bloom in my mind:  ‘There you are!’  

(it’s like my own personal endorphin…)

About a six year old photo of some of the recycled animal friends I've made over the years.  In the center is Sophie - my very first t-shirt bunny creation.
About a six year old photo of some of the recycled animal friends I’ve made over the years. In the center is Sophie – my very first t-shirt bunny creation.

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