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.

Done and done

The second cataract surgery went well(ish) yesterday. Everything’s fine now, but ’twas uncomfortable for a time.

More important, Remember 2016 is now complete, front and back …

I stitched a white flannel backing to the pieced front using two strands of Deb Lacativa’s magical floss, running the stitches to the right side of each patch, zigging and zagging as I went, then running along the bottom of each patch …

which left a wonderfully random pattern on the b-side …

The raw edges of the flannel were turned under, stitched through to the front along the edge, then hemmed and finally secured with a second line of running stitch that did not go through to the front …

Which is probably only clear to me, but I’m recording it here so I can reference it later as needed. I even managed to sorta miter the corners …

And called it done.

Need

It took holding the cloth two inches from the end of my nose, but I needed to do this …

With thanks to all the dyers of cloth and thread (there are several here) … to Jude who taught me how to love nine

And to Ruth for the words and everything she did …

P.S. my cataract surgery is scheduled for September 28th … I’ve decided to remain nearsighted, but at 4 diopters rather than 9 … the better to keep on stitching.