Monday, June 15, 2009

Memories of machines

When my Mom, 3rd from the right in the black and white photo, began a sewing project last week, we acknowledged the fact that her sewing machine is almost as old as I am. But I learned that it was not her first. She won her 1st sewing machine at the age of 10 and quickly taught herself to make her own clothes! That led to a series of reminiscences that had to do with clothes and cars, which makes the childhood photo all the more appropriate. She remembered in exact detail the dress she designed and made to wear to the prom with "Johnny," and quickly drew the sketch below while describing it as sleeveless and tightfitting (so much so that she had to put darts in the elbows so she could bend her arms), with a matching jacket that had a fluffy collar. Johnny borrowed a brand new 1960 powder blue Dodge convertible from his uncle's dealership to escort her to the event. He usually drove an immaculate red 1935 Ford Roadster, and would occasionally take my Mom's parents - "Jack" (1911-1994) and "Winnie" (1911-1962) - for a ride in the rumble seat. A couple of years after my Mom's high school graduation and the prom, Winnie died of brain cancer. A couple of years before the prom, Jack's father, John - my Mom's grandfather - died. Within a year of his death, his widow Anna (pictured below on their wedding day) learned how to drive and pulled into the driveway in a new lavender Studebaker Hawk! Jack always drove used cars, and never as sporty as that. But he did not own one during his years at Georgetown University - I had worked there for a few years when he told me stories about riding the trolley car to buy juniper berries so he and his fellow students could make bathtub gin!

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