Friday, March 29, 2013

Blue Ribbon Nightgown


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


64 comments:

  1. Such precious childhood memories. Such precious friends. I hope my girls have such fond memories of their own childhood.

    Easter blessings, dear Elizabeth.

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  2. SO sweet. SOmetimes you don't have to speak the same language to communicate ;) Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

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  3. Have a wonderful Easter, Dear Elizabeth!! Thank you for the 4-H memory. I loved 4-H and my sewing teacher...such patience she had with the six of us. Most joined because the "had to" learn to sew. I did so for the love of it!

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  4. What wonderful childhood memories! :) All your characters are sooo cute!! Love your new little "fair" banner too! :) Happy Easter, hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed holiday! :) xo Holly

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  5. This was an extra fun story to read! I love the thought of two young friends...embarking on the unknown! And to think that's where your talent with the sewing machine began!
    Love it!
    Erica :)

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  6. Awww sweet memories of a sweet friendship~
    Blessings, Joanne

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  7. gosh. I wish I had your ability to remember things like that. I LOVE your stories!
    happy Easter my dear friend!
    xoxo

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  8. Sweet childhood memories. Have a blessed Easter!
    Laura

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  9. Oh my! I probably would have had the worse giggle fit once I realized she didn't speak English! Ha-ha!

    Congrats on the blue ribbon. ♥

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  10. What a great story! And congrats to you for winning a blue ribbon for a slippery nightgown. This former custom sewing business owner, I shudder at the thought of that fabric!

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  11. HAPPY and BLESSED EASTER, Elizabeth!
    Did you have your surgery?
    Warmly,
    deb

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  12. I love you story and a sweet childhood memories. Have a Happy and blessed EASTER. xoxo

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  13. Wonderful story. I can picture those stretch pants and stripy shirts over them. Have a wonderful Easter.

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  14. I had forgotten about 4-H. I now remember making an apron that we displayed at the National Guard Armory during Steel Days! I learned cooking as well. Your way of telling a story is such a blessing...your memories brings ours drifting to the surface.

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  15. Just found your blog the other day, don't remember from where, but that doesn't matter. What matters is I love it! It is now my happy place. I love your work, your stories and the love you have in crafting. You are such an inspiration!

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  16. AWESOME! She spoke no English but she kept you sewing along. I love it! ;p

    Do you keep in touch with Sherry? :P

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  17. Congratulations to you and Sherry "again" on your "Nastro Azzuro!" Such a darling memory. I was not in 4-H, but my mother would take me to their annual show in the spring. Folding tables and peg boards full of nothing but handmade items. The talent in that one little building was amazing. There were also tables sat up for make-it take-its...they were always so fun! Happy Easter...Best Wishes, Bobbie

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  18. I was 4-H kid, too. Sewing for the County Fair and the Dress Review - was the highlight of the year. My mother, along with several local women, were our teachers. I remember first sewing on lined paper, following the lines as carefully as possible. Dad put plywood over the pool table so we could all cut our our garments. Your story, as usual, is charming - and oh my... she didn't speak English! Love it!

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  19. What a great story! And your creations are adorable! It brings back great memories of going to the 4H Fair with my Grandmother when my cousins were in 4H.

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  20. So sweet! I especially loved the stretch pants with heal straps. What memories that brought back. We lived in those every day for a few glorious childhood years. Thanks for a lovely story that brought back simpler times.

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  21. Wow! What a great story and great little creations! :)
    Susan

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  22. What a fun post and the little critters are THE cutest! I just always have so much fun visiting your blog. Hope you had a nice Easter!
    Linda Lou

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  23. That fluffy pink chick is tooo cute!!! Hope you had a beautiful Easter. I found a planter when I was out junking yesterday for my own Easter parade for next year :)
    PS - I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you'd like to check it out.

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  24. Those are adorably cute. Hats-off to this talent. Got my eye on your next posts.

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  25. I bet you loved that nightgown too.
    I have missed ya, but I am back from my training and back to blogging.
    I hope today is great for you.

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  26. Hi I stumbled across your blog while I was searching my own name.... I am Elizabeth Andrus from Belize (via the US). It is a pleasure to meet you. I have never met anyone (outside my family) with our last name.

    I like your story about the blue ribbion. As a person very curious about linguistics I think the non-verbal communication in the story very endearing. Thanks for sharing.

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Your kind words mean so very much to me. Thank you for your visit! Elizabeth