Tuesday, November 04, 2003


I have a special memory of suffering from a case of chickenpox. It was 1947, Dad was in vet school and mom was working on her master's degree and teaching undergraduates when I broke out in those miserable spots. We lived in married student housing (4 apartments knocked into 1 old wooden barracks building) with a total floor space about the size of my current living room. My aunt came to help care for me and she read to me, but Mom stitched while she sat with me and tried to keep me from digging at the itches. She was working on one of the old McCall's designs of pheasants in cross stitch. In those days you bought the transfer and a huge symbol chart in a packet. You ironed all the crosses on your fabric and then followed the symbols to stitch the picture. It was the first linen mom had to stitch on and the first big design she did using DMC. Usually embroidery was done on mundane things with dimestore threads. DMC was really upscale for students who grew up during the Depression and had a kid to feed and clothe and linen was a real luxury. It was purchased with birthday money various relatives gave her to spend on "something she wanted."

Mom not only stitched this design but several others from the McCalls design line and had them framed professionally - another first. When we sorted out her home I brought this bit of stitching home with me. It needs a bit of repair but thankfully, I found the original chart as well. Then I'll have it framed up again for the next generation.

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