My mother was frugal and organized.
She was a new wife as World War One came to a conclusion, and her young husband came home from serving his Country.
She was a mother to three little girls when the winds of the Depression began to blow, and the future was fearful.
She had learned “doing without” in her childhood and making every dollar stretch to its limits. She put away some of the money she made by selling the eggs she collected twice a day to create clothes for her girls, work shirts for her husband, often using the feed sacks provided for the chicken feed. She used yesterday’s newspaper or brown grocery bags to create the patterns.
By the time I came along in 1935, they had left the rural life,
Dad had started his own successful business. Mother loved being a housewife and spent some of her much enjoyed free time embellishing every pillowcase, table cloth, and even some curtains. She tatted, embroidered, knit, crocheted, and continued to create wardrobes for her four daughters.
She had brought her pedal sewing machine when the family moved, and I didn’t have a “store-bought” dress or pajamas until I was in third grade.
The secret to her success was shoe boxes. She treasured each one. They held all the tools for her success. Her collection of crochet hooks were stored in one and labeled along with knitting needles, embroidery hoops, and also spools of thread. Mother lined them up on a shelf in the hall closet, and she was a stickler for keeping her collection tidy. She even labeled the shoe boxes, and that’s why she preferred white boxes when available. She parted with one every year when I was in Grade School. I needed a shoebox to decorate for Valentine’s Day to receive the little four colored cardboard Valentines from my classmate.
She lived long enough to enjoy the plastic boxes, where she could see the contents and extended her collection to store a variety of things, especially patterns. An abundance was vital since she often created clothes my sisters saw in a magazine, using one design for the bodice, another for the collar, etc.
Mother, and a daughter who shared her love of sewing, made my wedding gown, three bridesmaid dresses, and matching one for the flower girl. I picked out a picture in a magazine, and they created it all without one single pattern, but from Mother’s collection in a plastic shoe box kept on the shelf in the hall closet.
– Isobel from Hot Springs, Arkansas, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of her life.