Monday, July 4, 2011

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me a Million Times - Chapter 73

(Photo is of my son Colt, his partner Heather, and her two daughters, Taylor and Gracie. There's also a baby bump on Heather that is my newest granddaughter, scheduled to arrive in early October!)
#73 - When blankets get old and thin, patch them together.
If I had a backbone I would have buried my mother with an old blue blanket she loved and had patched so many times that it was as soft as a baby blanket. However, I couldn’t seem to get her in a coffin and in the ground fast enough. This is a very emotional confession for me, and I knew it would be when I saw #73 come up on the list of things mom taught me a million times. The reason I was in such a hurry to bury my mom was because it was so very painful to see her dead, and I’d been looking at her dead for a year. Not physically dead, but mentally – or so it seemed. She progressively lost her ability to talk, to recognize her family, to make eye contact, or to do anything that seemed familiar. It just didn’t feel like she was “in there,” and I was pretty convinced she wasn’t. But let’s talk about patching blankets, because I really don’t want to cry.

I’m not sure if it was because they were around forever or what, but the blankets at our house when I was growing up seemed like old friends - not something you would toss out when they sprouted a hole or stain. Mom’s frugality and commitment to reuse/recycle created bed linen sentimentalism, a trait that my “throw-away,” “give it to Goodwill,” “buy another” generation is loosing, and that seems sort of sad.

Many families have quilts made from the fabric of old dresses, shirts, tablecloths, etc., each piece a memory stitched into a lifetime of memories to hug close and to keep you warm, and those are my favorites – the ones I always want to snuggle into, with a good book on a cold day.  They just seem warmer, softer, more soothing – offering so much more than “bed in a bag.”

I was watching Kevin Costner’s abysmal post-apocalyptic “Waterworld” movie recently and thinking that my mom would have been really good at sewing together scraps of cloth for clothing, as was portrayed in the movie. In fact, she would have been one of those intrepid survivors in a nuclear holocaust – needing little, able to make anything from nothing.

I came across mom’s old blue blanket recently, and couldn’t throw it away. It is tucked away in the back of a closet somewhere, like these memories – not often seen, but never forgotten.

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