Found in the bottom drawer – my mother’s pillow cases. She loved those cotton slip cases that came lightly pre-stenciled with designs, which she would embroider over in bright colors. Unlike her own mother, my Nona, embroidery was not mom’s specialty. She always made a point of telling me that, how her own mother’s old-world stitches were so perfect. And OK, it was true (although, so what?), on the reverse side of her work I discovered the very same knots, criss-crosses and imperfections that will be found on the back side of my own needlework. This has endeared me to her even more.
Butterflies, hearts, flowers, and some with a grandchild’s name embroidered across them. The beauty in these things lies not in their skillful execution, but in their love. I know that every stitch she made was intended for those that she cared so much for. The bright colors she chose reflect that happiness and the caring thoughts that accompanied these knots and stitches.
My mother also ironed her sheets and pillow cases. This is something that you will never see me do, not in a lifetime! But I will say that coming home to her, sleeping in a bed made up of her clean, ironed, fresh-smelling sheets – resting your head on one of her sweetly embroidered pillow cases – was always a little bit of heaven.
I miss her so much.
So….. to the present…… these pillow cases have been sitting in the bottom drawer of a small dresser, and once again I have been cleaning and organizing in my circuitous way. I took them out, stared at them, held them to my face to see if I could detect even the faintest trace of her….felt the lump forming in my throat.
I have been afraid to use the pillow cases again, lest they wear out or become worn and stained, as they are a piece of her I cannot let go. I know this is silly.
There is one set that are still ironed (from her) I had not used. The crisp creases from the iron are still in them. The rest are not ironed, nor will they be (she would disapprove). I took them all out, washed them, stared at them, laid them out on the bed. I will put them on the “less-used” pillows so that they can be appreciated.
I think she would like that.