It’s taken me years to write about this. A near and dear story that gets me choked up almost every time I share – and I don’t share it that often. A person or a sewing machine? How about both. Rosie.
Trust, nurture, sew….repeat
Our neighborhood is a full of houses, kids, empty-nesters, and retired farmers. Rosie, a kind woman with turquoise doors, lived at the top of the hill. Often, on my way home, I’d see her walking out to grab her mail and I’d wave each time I drove by and she would graciously return the gesture. Every once in a while I would casually pull my car over to say hello at her mailbox because that’s what neighbors do, right?
Rosie knew I made hats and sewed…a lot. I shared with her one day at the mailbox that I just bought a new workhorse machine. She stated something to the effect of “oh darn, I wanted you to maybe buy mine!” I graciously declined but offered to take a look at it anyways. A few weeks later I popped in to see her amazing, large and intimidating machine that I couldn’t afford. She lovingly showed me her precious machine in her sewing room that faced her mailbox. With great care and teacher-like nature she allowed me to test drive her very expensive machine. After I drooled over her machine – I once again declined to buy it but wished her well.
A few weeks later, Rosie called me. She desired to stop and see my sewing shop in my basement in all it’s glory and operation. Without one bit of hesitation I gladly obliged because any chance I get to show off my shop is surely a treat! As my sketchy doorbell rang, I greeted her shaking hands and resolute manner and welcomed her to my shop downstairs. Impressed, she scanned my shop and in a very stoic manner looked at me (still shaking) and said, “My cancer is back, I want to give you something and I wanted to see your shop first.”
At this moment it’s sort of a blur, she told me she wanted me to have her beloved sewing machine.
Did she just say me?
Even the many many grandchildren in her life she still wanted me to have it? Now who’s the one shaking? My eyes popped outta my head and I gasped. I remember specifically fumbling my words into, “Why me?” She responded, “because I know you’re going to use it everyday.”
Encountering her satisfactory decision, turns out her machine was already sitting in her car. Within a half hour I carefully transported her machine down to my shop (of course after picking my jaw up off my shop floor). I figured Rosie wanted to see her machine in its new home and it made her smile with twinkling eyes. For a moment, her wrinkles and white hair glowed in the light and I held back grateful tears. I muscled through humble ‘thank you’ countless times. She tried to peel off her signature sticker label pasted to her machine and said, “Well, I’m sure you don’t want that stuck on your new machine now do you.” To the gesture of stopping her from peeling it off I said, “Please leave it there as I want it stuck there, forever.”
Trust a Nudge
You would think that I would’ve gone straight away using Rosie’s machine, but I didn’t. Not only was her machine sacred to me but also something I didn’t feel I deserved. Another few weeks had passed, life got busy and her sewing machine patiently waited for me in my shop.
As Rosie’s health was failing, I had an unspoken nudge (and my mom) urging me to fire up Rosie’s sewing machine. With hesitation yet commitment, I finally introduced myself to Rosie’s machine and welcomed her gracious speed, endurance and tenacity into my world of sewing.
Turns out those nudges were spot on. I saw Rosie a few weeks later and she asked about her machine. With gratitude and confidence I assured her that her machine sings a beautiful tune, was in good hands and is getting used everyday. She invited me into her home a few weeks later, we talked patterns, she gave me some fabric and she passed away not long after. I cried.
Thank you, Rosie.