Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The dress

My mom's mom, was an amazing woman. I would have to start another blog just to begin talking about her life. She was an incredibly talented person and it pains me that her talents, along with her, are gone with no record left behind as a guide for future preservation. She was extraordinarily gifted when it came to design/sewing/knitting/crocheting. She was also an awesome chef that would put Batalli and Bayless to shame. Possessing these great gifts, it blows my mind how my grandmother was illiterate until very late in her life. She did not learn how to read and write until her late 60's and I can't forget how every night she would not go to sleep without doing her reading assignment at her little desk. She was so proud and would always ask me to teach her a new word in English. These hurdles never stopped her from always trying to better herself and her family. She learned how to create things with her hands as a way of survival, making beautiful articles of clothing. I tried learning how to knit a few years ago and gave up about as quickly as I started. I somehow felt that I was not talented enough, and didn't have it in me, yet after cleaning out my other paternal grandmother's house this past xmas, I came across just how talented both my grandmothers were and decided that I have no excuse not to at least try. My dads mom was a master embroiderer, if there is such a title, embroidering and crocheting such gorgeous, intricate, and delicate things. I found handkerchiefs and a calender she embroidered that must have taken her at least 6 months to finish. Mind you these items were all created before the times of fancy machines.
So while doing the daunting and heartbreaking task of cleaning and throwing away items of a loved one, I found a suitcase labeled 'baby clothes' in my mother's handwriting. In it I find some of my childhood outfits. and in particular I find a dress that I recognized not by memory but by site. This dress always stuck me as an odd dress when I would see pictures of myself in it. It was/is a baby doll dress of sorts. It was my second Easter outfit and that puts me right about Emma's age now when I wore it, 16 months. When I see this dress in the suitcase, I pull it aside and decide to wash it. I know immediately my mom's mom made it and want to make all attempts to salvage it. Once i am settled back home and I have washed this dress, and I look at it more closely, I realize just how intricate this dress it and I am amazed that my grandmother made this by hand specifically for me. Someone took the time to make me this beautiful dress, with careful thought put into all the details. This dress easily could bring in 300 dollars at BonPoint or Jacardi. The shape of the neck is in a wave-like form that peak into these little spheres. The body of the dress is made up of these scallops/sea shell type shapes. It is simply an amazing dress. I always find myself staring at it and holding onto it a bit longer before putting it away. It is as if I am trying to somehow feel my grandmother through this dress. She clearly devoted more than one day of her life to this dress and as silly as it sounds, I feel there is a part of her left behind in this dress. Her hands touched and worked the thread with such care that I hold the material as if it were holding her hands. I long to see her once more and I miss her above all else, since I know no matter how hard I try or what plane I get on, I will never see her again. She was an amazing woman who came from nothing, lost everything yet managed to raise 4 brilliant children, two who went on to become chemical engineers, one was a teacher and the other a journalist by trade. I know hold onto to the few items that have survived both my brother's and my childhood. Emma has worn all of them, a yellow, a white and a blue sweater and now this dress. All that remain is another dress still too big for her, and actually a costume that my grandma made for my mom as a child. It is another fabulous garment, this red flamenco dress that I got to wear for Halloween when I was 9. It needs some TLC but nothing i wont be able to fix and one day Emma will look fierce as she goes trick or treating. So for Valentines day she wore THE dress and looked adorable.

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