|Illustration by Ana Varela.|
Eventually, if we are lucky, age arrives to welcome us to its club. In the process of reaching this status, we may notice that parts of ourselves take on aspects of socks lost to laundromats in cities almost to numerous to mention. This past week I received gifts that aided in the roundup of some cherished bits from a specific time and I had not been conscious they were even missing. A formal definition of "roundup" suggests a systematic gathering of scattered people and things. Mine was roundup of happenstance.
As brief a backstory as I can assemble: A few weeks ago, in correspondence with a friend of some years, she told of locating, she thought, the issue of a long discontinued craft magazine (American Home Crafts) for which she had designed a needlework project. After reading her mail, I did a search of my own to see if I could find any additional magazines. What I found was a blogger who had, as of the writing, unearthed a few random copies in a thrift store. She shared photos of some pages and there was my friend's work. The flurry of additional emails brought the two of them together. I posted on Facebook about the much missed publication and a project I had done from one of their patterns. I told that my collection of every issue from debut to au revoir had not made a crucial move some 22 years ago and of my regret for that oversight.
The FB post sparked its own dialogue with a most generous friend who believed she still had all the copies she collected, as I had, in the 1970s. In short, after I described the pages I longed for, she found and copied and sent them to me.
What I remembered as a blue chambray Levi's work shirt brightened with embroidered flowered vines was, in fact, an off-white shirt in the magazine photo, which she had sent ahead to confirm we were both in the right neighborhood.
In case this sounds like much ado over nothing, I need to say that American Home Craft was unlike any craft magazine seen before or, really, since. The photography, the imagination of projects, the pure style made one want to tackle things they'd never done before. It truly was a case of "the best of us," and I dove into the satin stitch pattern worked in variegated DMC threads with enthusiasm. That was nearly 40 years ago.
When the pages arrived in their manilla envelope, I had no idea what sort of fish I'd gotten hold of. Seeing the pages connected me to the much younger woman I was then, the life I was living, the then-husband for whom the shirt was created and produced a telescoping of time that allowed my now rather senior self to delight again in the inspiration of the magazines, eagerly awaited every six months, and the sense of accomplishment at trying something beyond what I thought was my skill level. It was a cellular experience, feeling both of us within the same skin, as though I had taken one simple step backward and gathered up at least some of those missing socks.
|Art by Christina Barsony.|
Among my favorite western movies and mini series are "Red River" and "Lonesome Dove," both of which involve cattle drives, cowboys, stampedes and roundups. I am still quieted by my response to treasures received, by the great and good hearts that sent them my way, by the wonder of restoration that I didn't know I yearned for and by the wonder of the wonder. They say we find our tribe. We also find those who have been entrusted with locating our wandering stock.