I began sewing Erin's prom dress last night.

Ever since moving to this little apartment, my machine has been set aside
and pulled out for small repairs as I'm limited for space. Bob pulled it out
and dusted it off for me and I got it all set up with a freshly wound bobbin
and matching periwinkle thread.

As I clamped the machine's foot down on the material, I pressed on the foot pedal and watched as the needle dutifully bobbed up and down, thus beginning a creation made of love.

My mind drifted back to the whirring sound I'd hear almost every night as my mother sewed gowns for women — after working in a dining hall all day to make ends meet. I'd kiss my mother goodnight and she'd ask that I shut the door behind me, so the noise wouldn't keep everyone awake.

As I laid my head on pillow, I could hear the soft whir of the Singer sewing machine my father bought her as an engagement gift. Mama said a diamond would be useless; how ironic that she would be right. Also the frequent snaps of the machine's foot being raised from and lowered upon the fabric as she turned and changed direction of the many seams. She made yards of material come together as wonderful cabaret gowns that flowed and danced in the light.

My trip down memory lane was interrupted by my son, John, who came out and asked if what I was working on was Erin's gown. Then my divas, Erin and Katie, followed him into the dining room. As they watched they recalled stories of when I was a stay-at-home mom and the outfits I'd sew for them. Some were my own experimental designs.

I took endless ribbing for the surfer shorts I made for my son, and the girls
went on and on about their communion dresses, one of which I finished with my wrist in a half-cast. Story after story: the costumes I did for plays and Halloween, dresses, and even matching Christmas clothes.

They left the dining room laughing and carrying on and I was glad that one
day in the future, when they hear the soft whir of a sewing machine, they will remember mama. 

*     *     *

The author: chach was born in NJ, and joined the Marines in 1979 after attending Norwich University for two years. She was an MP, then requested transfer to Yuma after some . . . events. :-) Had her first child while in the Corps. Was the first female coach of all-male basketball—made All-Marine. Got out in 1985, while expecting her son. Has three kids: Erin Alana, John Sullivan and Katie (Kat) O'Shea. Currently living in sin in NY state. :-P

>>> Memoir Page
>>> Poetry Page
I Remember Mama