Today I felt like quilting, but not starting a big project, so I made my way upstairs (the first stairs I've attempted since surgery) and sat in front of my sewing machine with a stack of pre-cut squares. I started putting together this little doll quilt/wall hanging without much pre-formed thought about how it would come out, or much of anything else.
And then, for some unknown reason, I thought of Sally. When I was in fourth grade we moved from Anaheim, CA to Colorado Springs, CO. I remember walking into class, in the middle of the year, the middle of the day and the middle of a lesson. One of those moments when every head swiveled in my direction and I wanted to crawl into a hole. I was sat down in an empty desk next to a tall, willowy blonde girl who became my "first" best friend. Her name was Brenda and in a weird twist of fate, we later discovered in that class (during a geneolgy assignment) that our great-great-great grandmothers were cousins. We were inseperable for many years, even remaining so after I moved to Denver and our parents had to drive us the 1 1/2 hours to visit for weekends. Our families became friends as well and we spent many summer weekends camping together.
When I went away to college, I had no idea that the last time I had seen her would actually be the last time I ever saw her. I thought about her frequently but, as often happens, so much time went by that suddenly we are now as old as our parents had been when we were kids. A couple years ago I found out that Brenda lived in Michagan. I sent her a Christmas card and received one back saying after the holidays she would call me. No call came, but neither did I make one to her. Another year went by, and I sent another card, but didn't get one back. Then I heard from my mom that Brenda's mom was dying from cancer. Her mom, Sally, was a wonderful seamstress. I remember her sewing room, going to FabricLand, where she worked part-time, seeing the wedding dress she made for her son's wife-t0-be. I remember so many random things. She made us "chef salad" with sliced lunch meat and Western dressing (similar to French), she always had a clean house and a little crystal dish with wrapped candies in the living room. She was a good cook.
I assume the connection came because I was sewing and Sally was the best seamstress I ever knew. Although I don't recall her being a quilter and I have certainly sewed hundreds of times since, for some reason today she was on my mind the entire time I was quilting. Last winter I heard from my mom that Sally had passed away and my parents, who still lived nearby, went to her funeral and did see my friend, Brenda. Another year has gone by and still Brenda and I have never spoken. Brenda, if you're reading this, or I should say, when you read this, because somehow I know you will, I want to tell you how sorry I am for not knowing what to say to you when I heard of your mom's passing. And thereby not saying anything at all. Sally was a wonderful mother to you and Jeff, and I know she and your Dad adored each other. I will always think it was her influence that gave me a love for fabric and sewing. So this little quilty thing, which I was kind of calling "Sunshine", is now "Sally's Sunshine" and will hang in my sewing room. Thank you, Sally.