Mom's Story


I felt
vaguely uneasy
watching two women
going through
my mother's things
but they were definitely
better qualified than I
to assess the items
I needn't watch
so left the room
to divert
my attention

her plan
was to invest
in a high tech
sewing machine
stepping up a lifetime hobby
into a cottage industry
in order to supplement
her anticipated
meager income
once she retired
buying it at 63
she would have time
to practice and perfect
her approaching

brain cancer
brought an earlier
retirement than expected
and by 65
her once sharp mind
was beginning to struggle
with simpler tasks
and operating
a computerized machine
was quite beyond
her diminished

she was gone
her granddaughter
was to inherit
the machine
and hopefully continue
the family sewing tradition
but the adults were busy
and the equipment
never made the trip
so finally the girl
lost interest

6 years later
my niece in college
and the sewing machine
gathering dust
in my living room
my sister finally agreed
that it was time
to give up
on the notion

my stepmother
an artist and crafter
expressed interest
and even though
it might seem
a strange transfer
I know that Mom
would want someone
with a use and a desire
to have what was to be
her enjoyable future
in retirement years

my stepmother
and my ex-fiancée
pass judgement
on my mother's
fabric selection
pattern collection
finished and unfinished work
setting aside
what they think
I should keep
storing the rest
back in the sewing cabinet
a cabinet
that I put together
back in '99

the deliberation done
and the load complete
Dad and I carry it all out
to place in his car
for the trip north
more items
off the list
of Mom's possessions
to which I fell

I did not offer
and they did not see
my mother's sewing bench
from years gone by
with hinged seat
revealing when raised
her older sewing supplies
including baby food jars
filled with pins
and buttons

baby food jars
originally emptied
well over 40 years ago
to feed my sister
and I
when retirement
and death
were the last things
on my mother's