Continuing

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.

Essentially

Wednesday is house cleaning day, so I found myself rushing #crayonuary30 … settling for just coloring in the counties we’ve driven through or to in our travels through Oklahoma for the past ten years while trying out yet another new set of crayons …

You’ll notice it doesn’t look much like Oklahoma … the panhandle being noticeably absent. But much as Grace encountered yesterday, I’m having a bit of trouble fitting stuff onto the page. Ah well …

I didn’t do more than copy Acey’s Prompt #7:

Reverse yesterday’s prompt.  Find a collage piece that expresses the essential you perfectly.

Use it in a way that speaks to an important part of yourself that has rarely/never been included in the way you’ve used this type of image in the past.

Then I got to work cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms while letting the prompt work its magic in my mind. After lunch and a minor water leak occasioned by my failure to properly secure the washing machine drain trap (serves me right for being too fastidious), I finally started pulling collage stuff together.

My sister-in-law had recently sent some things from my parents’ former home: a watercolor portrait of my grandmother, seen here with the christening gown that she, my mom, my daughters and I all wore …

Then there was a photo of my family at Wade’s Beach on Shelter Island in 1964 (I’m the squinty 8-year-old who would soon thereafter be diagnosed with myopia) and a 1937 National Geographic about Colonial Williamsburg, where I worked for two decades …

Diane also sent some counted cross stitch pieces that I did in my twenties, including this one of the Geddy House in CW … the poor thing was mounted in Masonite, smashed against glass and then glued into a frame …

Casting about for one last essential thing, I pulled out this almost done family sampler and started putting my HP printer/copier/scanner to work …

Following Acey’s prompt was easy since I’ve never copied and used any of my stitching in a collage before, but what was really new to me was putting together so many disparate elements into a coherent whole …

And once I did, it turned out to be too large for the journal …

But as you can see peeking behind the original, my HP also has a reduce/enlarge function …

Another day in the book …

First things first

Hard to believe it’s already been two weeks since we moved … two weeks filled with unpacking and organizing … placing and re-placing … on and on.

But lest I forget, I want to record the very first thing I did. While the movers were still moving everything else in, I made the guest room bed and put my mom’s sampler quilt on it, the better to keep me company in what will become my stitch studio …

The furniture was part of my paternal grandparents’ bedroom suite … which later served as the childhood bed for both me and my older daughter. We also inherited my grandmother’s maiden name, Snow, as our middle names … and I inherited her love of stitching.

Having read Acey’s recent post on wood, I find myself appreciating how this furniture has served four generations over the course of a century … the bureaus still in active use in our bedroom, the drawers deep, the bases solid to the point of sorely trying the movers.

We likewise still have our own first couch, in the crate furniture style that served our Boomer generation so well …

alongside a desk that belonged to Don’s grandfather, in what will become his painting studio. It is softly lit from the north and filtered by cedar elm trees in the front of the house.

There is so much more to tell, but this will serve for now. The house is becoming home and we are so happy to be here.