Originally I had thought to add to the Wendell Berry quote on this bit of cloth, filling the columns to the left and the right with words. But I ended up creating a stitched impression instead, of a tree and fire escapes like those that so often appeared in Michelle Slater’s blog

And as I stitched, I left 2020 and journeyed back to Mineola, New York in the early 1960s. There I lived on a tree-lined street where the roots of massive maples buckled the cement sidewalks. Where I was confined, at first, to staying “on the block,” strictly directed not to cross the streets, especially not the heavily trafficked First Street.

There were apartments on First Street, much like Michelle’s I imagine, with oak trees that would shed massive quantities of acorns each fall …

While our street was dappled with light, First Street was shaded by apartment buildings reaching four stories high. The fire escapes fascinated me back then, but not in not a good way. Afraid of heights, I tried to imagine climbing down the open metal work stairs, and having to jump at the end …

We rode bikes on the sidewalks back then. Roller skated around the block enough times that we knew every crack and heave in the cement … and still we fell, barking our knees, abrading our hands, because there were no knee pads in those halcyon days, let alone helmets.

I remember the mailbox at the corner of Marcellus and First …

it’s still there on Google maps, but I wonder if it has been removed of late. We knew our mailman back then. Would watch as he unlocked the green box to pick up the day’s mail, carried in a huge leather satchel over his shoulder. I can’t remember his name now, but surely I knew it back then.

My old house is still there, too, but no longer the buttery yellow of my childhood. The trees in front are gone, the sidewalks repaved, flattened out …

The Dutch door is also gone, but it’s there in my mind’s eye. My bedroom was on the second floor, to the left. I was always reassured knowing if there was a fire I could climb out on the porch roof and wait for help. After rescuing my little brother from his room, of course.

Yesterday I once again “walked” to Jackson Avenue School through the magic of Google Maps … turned left at the last minute, and yes, found the public library still there, alongside the park …

“Don’t ever walk through the park on your way home” is imprinted on my mind. Bad things happened there, apparently. But I also remember the playground with its squealing swings and blazing hot metal slide, the tennis courts that were flooded with water in the winter for ice skating, and the bandstand where music played on long summer evenings. So many memories.

All this and more floated through my mind as I stitched Michelle’s memento mori with Deb’s magic threads

When I stopped, it hit me that the dizzying fire escapes in stitch brought to mind the tortured steel remains of the World Trade Center after 9/11 …

And that too seemed right and true.

Addendum: Having finished drafting this post, I returned to where I had left off in Whispering White

finding myself here …

which linked in turn to a post that held a chorus of Kindred Spirits

together once again, still.

20 thoughts on “Continuing

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to Michelle I miss her very much and find myself still clicking on her blog. Like Jude Dee Marti Hazel Grace just to name a few your written words are just so so great. The way you all are able to bring to life your adventures .. old and new just blows me away.


  2. A full circle honoring of Michelle. You’ve captured as only you can in stitch, thought and word. Beautiful.
    I too miss her like crazy. I keep coming across things and thinking that I’ll email it to her or when I posted Dreamn’ in Color, I could hear her kind of comment in my head. It is hard to say goodbye, to be the one(s) left behind. Sigh.


  3. Liz – your stitching, at first glance, is so dimensional in appearance. I had to look several times past “the first glance,” to determine that it was not the “B” side in reverse, if that makes sense! Traveling along with you via memories and photos was a delight. Love & Blessings


    1. you have a good eye … the tree trunk was stitched with a very dimensional thread/yarn that Deb Lacativa gifted to me some time back


  4. Liz! Such a sweet and meaningful cloth in tribute of Michelle. I loved her fire escape/sky photos and often thought what a wonderful collection they would make. It was interesting to hear about some of your early days, too. Thank you for that.


  5. I did the Google map thing years ago and “walked” to school. And there it was–still standing after all these years and years. It was very old back then. Older still now. Still black as black can be. Charles Dickens Elementary.


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