I had a dream tonight...I dreamt that I was in Grandma's attic, I was a little girl again and grandma and I were sitting up there sifting through treasures and she was telling me stories. Now, this actually used to happen on a pretty regular basis. Growing up, my grandparents only lived about a 10 minute walk from our house and I was over there all the time. I vividly remember spending time baking cookies, canning fruits and veggies, crafting...we did a lot of that and of course sewing. Just like me, grandma had turned her dining room into a sewing room except we still used theirs to eat in from time to time when we had family dinners. Just like me, grandma had her buffet filled with sewing treasures and I used to love to play with all the bits and pieces she had in there. Grandma loved little things. Little boxes, containers, baskets, etc. and I can remember how much fun it was to open these little things to see what she had tucked inside. She would save...everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING!!! If she broke a necklace she would save all the little beads knowing that someday we would find the perfect use for those beads and we could repurpose them into something new and beautiful. Those drawers were just overflowing with this and that and as a child it really was like finding a treasure chest. She used her dining room table for her cutting table and pattern drafting area just as I do now and she had piles and piles of fabric stashed here and there in that room and I can remember grandpa just smiling and shaking his head as us girls were in our own little world doing what we loved most.
But the real treasures were up in the attic...I used to love it up there! Climbing that creaky staircase up to a wonderland of memories. Getting up there wasn't always easy as I mentioned before Grandma was a bit of a pack rat and often times she would just set things on those stairs for safe keeping. So, often it was a bit more like a labyrinth and you had to choose your steps carefully to make the climb. Oh, and the smell...it just smelled old. Even now, I can take something that I have from there and bury my nose into it and I can smell that wonderful smell. The attic was always either freezing cold or sweltering hot, but I didn't mind. The adventure was always much more exciting. At the top of the stairs was a long narrow room with slanted ceilings and a window at the end. Grandpa had finished off the room when my mom and her brothers were young and the boys used it as their bedroom. It had built ins along both long walls with drawers and little doors that led into even more storage and now they were stuffed to the gills with boxes and boxes of fabric. Most of which grandma never got around to using. but she could recall when and were she bought it and what she had planned to make with it. There were scraps left over from some of moms prom dresses that she would work on until the very last second as mom was rushing out the door. By the way...mom went to all those dances with dad. They met when they were just kids and have been together ever since...and she often made a coordinating hat to go with the dress and of course those were there as well, perfectly preserved in a special hatbox and wrapped in tissue. There were pieces of drapery fabric, and home dec fabrics from various projects. mens shirting and flannel for winter nightgowns. Remember, I grew up in Upstate NY and winters get very cold. There were mountains of fabric taller than I was and grandma had something planned for each and every piece. She had even saved the scraps from the dresses she had made for herself when she was a girl. Grandma came from a large family with lots of children and they didn't have very much so grandma learned how to sew early on and she made her own clothes. She joined the 4H club and thats when her passion really began to grow and develop. Mom has put together a scrapbook of a lot of those memories including newspaper clippings, ribbons, and bits and pieces of the fabrics grandma actually used in those garments and that scrapbook is going to be coming to me.
Oh, how I loved my time in the attic with grandma. So, tonight after I woke from my dream I wanted to write it all down to preserve those memories and to share them with you. Losing Grandma has left a huge void in mine and my mothers hearts. Mom and I talk about grandma daily and we are thinking of ways to keep her memory alive and keeping her even closer in our hearts. Every time I sit down at my sewing machine I feel her with me and I know she is keeping watch over me.
Note: this is not an actual photo of grandma's attic...this one has room to move and is much more organized!