A reminder of different times.

Cleaning out that master bedroom closet was not just a chore, it was a reminder of my immediate past.  Not so very long ago.  Although it does seem like nearly a lifetime ago.

I have mentioned before that I used to be a sewer.  I spent my days making Joe’s shirts to fit him and his particular preferences.  Purchasing store bought shirts with short sleeves, two breast pockets, and a snap closure front is nearly impossible.

One of the shirts unearthed in the clear out process was one of the last shirts I had made for him before I started going on the road riding along with him then later driving trucks myself.  Seeing that shirt made me remember living outside the city limits of Oklahoma City.  The grocery store was over a mile away.  We had only one vehicle at the time and it was traversing the country side with Joe.  When he would be home for a couple days I would have him take me to the fabric store where I would stock up on fabric, snaps, thread, and other necessary items that would allow me to spend my days productively while he was gone.

One bit of fabric I purchased had the sky lines of New York, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Hollywood printed on the bolt.  This was long before September 2011 and the fabric was nothing spectacular.

A shirt I made for Joe

This print nearly made me bonkers.  Pinning the pattern on in just the right place to make sure I didn’t have one front side upside down – as I have been known to do – and getting the horizontal scenes to line up exactly took quite a lot of thought and care.

Once the shirt was completed I had to search through all the scraps of fabric to find pieces large enough for the breast pockets which would accommodate the patterns to match up.  The left breast pocket piece had to have images of both Washington, DC and Hollywood match up.  Being the control freak that I am it was crucial that this happen.

Left breast pocket

For the right breast pocket I had to find another matching piece that included the Washington Monument as well as the Hollywood city scape.  These two pockets took me nearly as much time to fuss around with and create as the entire shirt did.

Right breast pocket

This shirt has the Twin Towers of New York featured along with the Statue of Liberty.

Twin Towers of New York City

It was so strange looking at this garment standing in that wreck of a closet.  The years and events of the time rushed through my thoughts.  The times I spent totally alone in our home during tornado watches, torrential summer rains, and snowfall in the winters.  In my mind I was still in the front bedroom of that old trailer house hunched over a table with my sewing machine and serger.  Working my days away constructing shirts for my husband to be comfortable in.

Flash forward from 1998 to 2011 and being in Quincy, Illinois checking out trucks we would be taking somewhere I no longer recall.  Joe calling me to hurry up inside to see what was on the television news and seeing the footage of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

One shirt.  One garment.  Hanging in a closet for nearly 13 years.  A piece of my personal history that took me on a “Magic Carpet Ride” back to a time when our unsettled lives were beginning to show promise.  A time when I was reluctant to get into the trucking business which meant being away from home for so long and away from my beloved sewing machine.

Sadly, today, that sewing machine and serger are boxed away in their original cartons and stored in a cupboard.  My fickle creative passion has gone on to be paper crafting.  I now purchase Joe’s shirts with the requisite short sleeves, snap front, and two breast pockets from a mail order company.

Life is ever changing, ever evolving.  Nothing remains the same.  What item do you have in your home that has the same effect on you?  Looking at or holding the item takes you back to a different time in your life?  Was that time on the brink of promise, or was it at the precipice of change?  Are you thankful for the changes life has brought you?

A new year is quickly upon us.  What will it hold for each of us?  How much change will it bring to our lives?



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

4 responses to “A reminder of different times.

  • Jann Gray

    what a treasure! Your words always touch my heart – and challenge my mind to be prepared for change…for new adventures – to be open to a shifting of prioritizes. Good stuff for introspection – thank you!

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Jann. I am thankful for moments like this one experienced from Joe’s shirt. Reminds me of where I have been and the road to where I am now. Being in the moment is a good philosophy most of the time. Sometimes, though, it is stepping out of the moment when you see growth – or potential for growth. My life is blessed by you my dear friend.

      Love you – Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    So much history in that shirt Leslie, have you kept it? The only item I came across when clearing out was two knitted white blankets that a friend’s mum made for our twin daughters – brought back to me a time when I was huge carrying those two babies and was to spend so much time resting, not that I did! We were about to start a new business venture and I was the researcher, buyer and organiser. We were about to start a mobile fruit and vegetable business and went to the auction sheds twice a week to buy fruit and vegetables; I did all the bidding and haggling and waddled around looking for the next bargain! Rod wouldn’t let me go out with him in the van and help sell the produce so I was busy at home preparing the books and entering the invoices, etc. What I hadn’t realised was that there was a great deal of speculation between the other buyers and back office staff about when I was due to ‘pop’!!

    I think there were a few surprised people when ‘only’ two babies appeared 😀 For the next few years those babies visited the auction sheds with us and now they are 26 years old, married with children themselves 🙂

    We have had the last of the viewers this side of Christmas Leslie – we had four in one week last week! Constant housework was driving me nuts, I expect it will all start again towards spring time. I very much hope a buyer comes along soon!
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Lynn! You are hilarious, and amazing! You have mentioned how young you were at the time, still in your teens – maybe freshly 20. The vegetable and fruit vendors probably didn’t know what to think of this little pup coming up to them and haggling prices. I can well imagine you were quite the talk of the town. Little slip of a thing with a growing belly wouldn’t have much business sense. Woe to them that made the mistake of counting you off as a “know nothing” teen! I’m positive you changed a lot of minds during that time.

      Great memories the knitted blankets brought back for you. “Touch stones” that are alive with memories of our lives 😀

      Glad you have a short break from the housework in your home viewing. Spring seems like a long time away, yet again it will be here before we know it.

      Love you – Leslie

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