Friday, August 3, 2012

Frieda's Machine

our house is only one of four on a block with views of the gulf islands, each lot with a substantial garden. we've been lucky to make friends with the family next door who have lived here for over 40 years. our kids play with their kids, running through the sprinklers and playing in treehouses and forts together. we feel fortunate to have such friendly neighbors.

the beautiful house behind us has just been sold. it is a beautiful custom built mid-century home and we hope the new owners don't tear it down. the original owner is a lovely lady named Frieda. she lived there on her own until she was 93 and started to need a little extra help though i know she is still sharp as tack. she's is now in a senior's home and according to her family, enjoying the outings and company. we got to know her by waving across our yards and when it snowed we shovelled her walk. we made sure to take her garbage cans back from the curb. we chatted every few days when we saw each other out shopping on our local market street and learned about all of the changes in our neighborhood over the last 50 years. we took over cookies, muffins, and vegetables from our garden. she was always lovely to my kids and they learned to be 'neighbourly'. Frieda would tell me not to sew too late into the night - her kitchen looked onto my sewing studio and she said she said she wished her eyes would still let her sew. she brought over fabric and we talked about sewing projects. my favourite memory of her will be when she hired a maintenance crew called 'men in kilts' to clean out her gutters and spent a lot of time checking that the base of the ladders was secure for the handsome, kilted workmen.

it has taken Frieda's family the better part of a year to clear out her belongings. it must be heartbreaking to find new homes for all of your belongings and then sell the family home. Frieda's family was very kind to donate much of it to charity. we are very grateful for the doll dishes, child's chair, and a lovely slipper chair sits in the corner of my bedroom. but i was most touched to receive the little desk and chair in the picture above. the top folds out to become a sewing table and a beautiful 1963 Singer Touch & Sew pops up. it came with all the accessories and instructions and has knee controls. i can't wait to teach my kids how to sew on this machine and carry on the handmaking/sewing/crafting tradition that Frieda enjoyed. we miss you, neighbor.

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