Today was an unusual Saturday, in which, it was just Fast Eddy and me. Jon was off participating in Ham Radio Training for the entire day. So once we ate and got the smaller morning walk out of the way, we settled in to our planned activity, to try to finish up the warp on the back beam of the loom. Last night I picked out a colorful sheet from my stash, that I have looked at and put back several times. I finally decided to use it. It was very thin, from years of washing. It was from my father-in-law, Grandpa Tonn’s home, one of the many colorful sheets I inherited . This particular sheet, I unconsciously named, “Vivien’s Dream”. Throughout my weaving with it, many memories and happy times spent in Lansing at his house came to mind. He was such a fun man. His grandchildren all loved and enjoyed him. He was exceptional, in that he cared for his invalid wife for years without complaining. This sheet is one she would have layed upon.
I have a few boxes of familiar sheets from MY parent’s houses, over the years, too. I think of Thornhill, Edenhill, and the Narrow Gauge farms. I can picture the sheets on the beds in those houses. There are sheets that I associate with my boys, exhibiting the wear and tear of growing up.
My mom told me that Grandma often did rugs in threes. One for each side and the end of the bed. Bedrooms of my youth were bare wood floors, which were freezing cold to hop out onto in the winter. Thankfully you could step from rug to rug and avoid the cold boards. My Grandma’s bedrooms were minimally heated, so you would jump into your pj’s and into the welcoming flannel sheets, topped off with a heavy, thick quilt, and a mattress that felt like a soft, cozy, cloud that you could almost get lost in. Just before bedtime she would heat up a flat soapstone in the oven, then wrap it in newspaper and tuck it in the bottom of the bed to warm the feet through the beginning hours of sleep, which was very toasty warm.
Each sheet that came from our family weaves not only a past story in my mind but a new fabric, encapsulated with laughter as well as saddness from times past. The bold as well as the long faded prints, mixed with solids become transformed into something new, ready to go forth with new life. I have given a few away, but it is hard to part with some, unless it is to a person connected with the story. I won’t be able to keep THAT thought for long ! In my Grandmother’s day, she didn’t have a lot to give to the church in the way of money, but she gave her time and talent and provided many rugs over the years for their rummage sales that benefitted special mission projects. She also gifted her children and grandchildren’s homes with her lovely rugs.
During my time at the loom, NPR radio fills the room with news, talk shows and a variety of music. And where I am, you will find my buddy, Fast Eddy, likely “fast” asleep. He often lays haphazardly on his basement bed, close by the loom, where he can keep one slit of an eye on me while he lightly dozes. When he gets tired of sleeping, he comes to me for snuggles and a suggestion we do something else, like maybe go outside for a snowbath, check out the neighborhood for activity, or track the backyard rabbits . He is usually spot on when it is time to switch activities,and so we do.
As for Viven’s Dream, it is a rug that came together from another time and place that I visited today, in which many connected with it, are now gone, but not the memories.