Before there were the Bobwhites, there was Sherry. She was the daughter of my mother's best friend, Virginia. Auburn hair worn in ringlets behind her ears, freckles across her nose, brown eyes lit by a smile that was always present. We were Halfway Woods friends and Spend the Night Friends and friends who couldn't bare to do anything without the other.
Our mothers purchased matching outfits of stretch pants with heel straps and matching striped shirts that we wore every opportunity we had to be together. Library trips to fill our arms full, pizza parlor trips, a table to ourselves, and 4-H sewing lessons we begged to take.
Plastic raffia sewing baskets filled with supplies, patterns and material tucked under our arms, our mothers dropped us off at an ordinary looking brick house not far from our own homes. We were met at the door by the tiniest and oldest women we had ever seen clothed all in black, a babushka revealing whips of grey hair. She ushered us down her basement stairs where other young girls were huddled together, their baskets and materials clutched close to their sides.
It was then as she assigned us each to our own long table and peddle driven sewing machines that we realized she spoke not a word of English. She communicated by the waving of enormously large sewing sheers, and the flinging about of a yellow tape measure longer than she was tall!
She was all smiles as she patted Sherry's half yard of floral fabric for the elasticized shorts she had chosen to make.
She had nothing but "Mama Mia's" for me as I struggled in vain with the slippery fabric I had chosen to make a slippery nightgown. My fabric simply would not stay put for me to lay out my pattern or stay puddled alongside my sewing machine for me to take a beginning stitch.
Week after week I sat hunched over my assigned machine, the teacher always hovering near determined not to let me give up. "Nastro Azzurro" she would cheer as she helped me manage my slippery fabric. I had no idea what she was saying.
4-H registration forms carefully filled out our last evening of sewing class, our garments turned over to our teacher, we didn't hold much hope for any success at the fair. But there was our teacher standing by our class display, her arms spreading first to one side and then to another. "Nastro Azzuro!" she greeted our astonished faces at seeing each of has had won a Blue Ribbon.
Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest.
HAVE A JOYOUS EASTER! Elizabeth