My grandmother was born in 1908. Don't ask me why I remember, because I often have to do math to recall what year both my sons were born and you'd think that would be etched in my memory. Perhaps it's because I can't imagine what life was like in 1908; a time before people had cars, phones, canned food and even electricity was uncommon. It must've been those conditions that made up her character - valuing virtue over material. After all it is just "stuff."
She didn't buy what she could make. So when I was eight and visited her in Japan, she sewed me a Yukata by hand. I wore it to all the Summer Dance Festivals that went on every weekend. While she patiently stitched all the pieces together, she taught me how to make one for my Barbie doll. From the late morning to lunch, we would sit side by side, each sewing sleeves, collars and panels. By the time she finished my Yukata, I had sewed three crappy ones for Barbie - none of which would cover her tremendous boobs.
When my son came home with his Cub Scouts shirt the other day, I went on a sewing frenzy. It started with sewing a couple of patches on a damned sleeve and lead to "Frankenpants." A pair of school pants (Nautica, mind you), that Zuki tore a hole in the knee. The pants were practically new and I knew my Grandmother would be turning in her grave if I threw them out over a gaping hole that she could mend like new.
But I can't sew like her. I did the best I could and it'll do for now. He'll look like a Hillbilly in patched up clothing but it's either that or looking Ghetto. Anyway, everyone knows I have no fashion sense even though we live in the Fashion Capital of the world...or is that France? Oh no, we don't live in France.
Aside from saving a perfectly good pair of pants, I'm proud of myself that I could still thread a needle without a magnifying glass and only stuck myself no less than fifteen times to boot. I've paid my dues and I'm done with the patches, too. Too much pressure not to look like "Shirt Of Frankenpants."
There's a fantastic tailor on Greenpoint Avenue and he charges peanuts. Well, not actual peanuts but certainly less than a box of Bandaids for pricked fingers. And if my grandmother can hear me, I'm not giving up on sewing...I'm just avoiding the same needle pricking activity heroine addicts do...not that she would know what a heroine addict is because she was born in 1908 and I think people just smoked morphine back then.