The rainbow connection

February 14, 2021 – Valentine’s … I mean, Melissa Day

Melissa Reid (aka MR, Meliss, Mom, and Aunt Liss) was born 35 years ago on a snowy Valentine’s Day …

It didn’t take long before she began to proclaim it her day. And while Baskin Robbins took care of baking her early birthday cakes …

eventually Strawberry Trifle became her most-requested birthday “cake,” up to and including five years ago, when we celebrated together in St Louis …

In the many years when we haven’t made it up to St. Louis, we’ve made it a point to celebrate remotely. But when I spotted this recipe a couple of weeks ago …

I thought it looked like a good alternative to making a trifle…

It also proved to be a great jumping off point for today’s patch, which was made with a Spoonflower cotton sateen sample …

and a sprinkling of variegated floss (from P’s coverlet project) tacking down a bit of harem cloth.

Nota bene: I struggled over how to document the previous five days of Senate impeachment trial in patches. A solution made itself known last night at 2 am, so watch this space …

Hope is the thing with feathers

January 21, 2021 – Pride in the Tribe

I’m not an avid alum, but I confess to feeling a fair bit of pride when Jen Psaki, William & Mary class of 2000, stepped up to the podium as President Biden’s Press Secretary …

Of course, it didn’t escape my notice that she was born in 1978, which was the year I graduated. She joins a very long list of W&M alums, some distinguished, others notorious, from Thomas Jefferson to Jim Comey, and Robert Gates to Eric Cantor … not to mention some who are simply entertaining, such as Glenn Close and Jon Stewart.

So yes, I felt genuine Tribe Pride. And therein lies a story, because back in the mid-1970s, we were known as the William & Mary Indians. As that representation fell out of favor, the athletic teams became known as the Tribe, represented by two green and gold feathers. But that too fell out of favor with the NCAA and a new team mascot was sought.

In the end, the William & Mary mascot became the Griffin

Honestly, I was rooting for the Wren. It would have been the perfect representative, in my humble opinion. After all, the wren is a tiny bird with a big voice and W&M is actually quite small with a total enrollment under ten thousand students. Besides which, Christopher Wren was the architect of the building that bears his name

But alas, “Let’s go Wrens!” was apparently a little too geeky, even for a university that arguably prides itself on being just that.

That’s why I chose to stitch a wren feather with Deb Lacativa’s green-dyed floss on her gold-dyed damask in honor of Jen Psaki, whose informed voice will now speak for the fledgling Biden administration (yes, that pun was absolutely intentional). I suspect it won’t be long before her name is added to William and Mary’s list of Incredible Alumni and rightly so.

P.S. Those of you who are longtime readers of this blog may recall that one of our grandchildren is named Griffin and I confess that once upon a time we bought him one of these …

I’m a little Griffin t-shirt

You may also recall that we have a son-in-law who attended William & Mary, seen here in the 2003 Tribe Football Media Guide …

Jake met Meliss six weeks before he graduated in 2006 with a degree in business and they lived happily ever after.

Gotta love those William & Mary grads.

Memento mori

January 18, 2021 – Martin Luther King, Jr Day

I was the older sibling in a classic 1960s nuclear family: working father and stay-at-home mother with two children.

The pattern of our weekdays was a set piece: Dad went off to catch the 7:00 train to Manhattan on the Long Island Rail Road while Mom got us ready for school, then she single-handedly took care of a 50-year-old four-story Dutch colonial, with unfinished basement, three bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths …

Mom wanted to “go to work” too … she aspired to be a real estate agent as I recall. But Dad wanted things to be done his way. So instead of pursuing a career, Mom was a girl scout troop leader and a cub scout den mother. She volunteered at the church and made cookies from scratch for PTA bake sales. And when we got home from school each day, she was there to listen to our endless stories of joy and woe as we drank our milk and ate our snacks.

Then off we’d go to ride bikes through the neighborhood and play with our friends while Mom waited for the arrival of the afternoon paper, Newsday. It wasn’t until recently that I made the connection between Newsday and Robert Caro. As I read his memoir Working, the place names tumbled off page 8 and rang bells of recognition in my head, recalling my parents’ many discussions of the same: Idlewild, Mitchell Field, Hofstra, Nassau Community College, Mineola Courthouse. Scandalous doings that led to Caro’s epic book about Robert Moses, The Power Broker.

Every afternoon, Mom would eat Mister Salty pretzels from a deep blue box as she read the latest Newsday

Curled up on the living room couch, she often dozed off. We tiptoed around, careful not to use the phone between 5:00 and 5:30 when Dad called to let Mom know which train he would be taking home. The call would rouse Mom, who then went in to the kitchen to make dinner for my brother and me. She usually poured some Scotch and sipped it neat. When dinner was ready, Art and I would eat dinner together with Mom in attendance, although she waited until Dad got home to eat herself.

When the time came for Dad to be picked up at the East Williston train station, we’d pile into the car, arguing over whose turn it was to sit in the front. Mom would play the AM radio while we waited for the train. Unlike Dad, who always turned to classical music station WQXR, Mom was absolutely okay listening to rock and roll on WABC.

So it is I remember one cold, rainy evening in April of 1968. I was 11 years old, sitting in the back seat of our 1965 Mercury Comet, windows cracked to keep them from fogging, listening to the radio, waiting for the 7:10 to arrive. Remember because the music stopped for a special news bulletin, that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just been shot in Memphis, Tennessee (and here I pause to note that I found this WABC radio link after drafting the post).

It was a time before cell phones, before the instantaneous knowing of all things newsworthy. The commuters coming off the train were completely unaware of what had just happened. As Dad ran across the rain-drenched parking lot Mom turned down the radio, and as he got into the car she told him the news. Told it with such urgency and despair, that it marked the time and the place forever in my memory. Made known to me the world-changing existence of Martin Luther King.

We witnessed history then and we still do to to this day. What will come of it all this time?


Process notes: thanks go to Malka at Stitch in Dye for the funereal linen cloth, to Deb Lacativa for the variegated floss in shades of gray, and to Rose for the collaged image of rain drops that inspired this patched memory.