I am named after my great grandmother Elizabeth.
She was awesome. I’ve heard story after story about her skills and antics from my grandma—like the time she painted her kitchen floor green because her husband wouldn’t put in a new floor for her, the pride she took in being the first of all her neighbors to get her laundry on the line each Monday morning, and the love she gave to each of her 9 children.
But until recently I’d never heard this story—-
My great grandmother kept her sewing machine out on her front porch during the warm seasons. (I can’t believe that she took that beautiful treadle machine and parked it outside!) Then she would work her magic making projects like intricate quilts and beautiful clothing while her boys worked the farm and the children came and went.
(Doesn’t that create a beautiful image…beautiful farm wife sewing on a treadle machine out on the porch…laundry blowing in the breeze…kids chasing each other on the lawn…husband out back milking the cows….)
In my minds eye it’s beautiful. However, here’s what I see from where I’m sitting and how I found out her story:
The past few weeks I’ve set up shop on my front porch. I have a card table, my old sewing machine (that goes “cha chunck ca chunck when it’s in use), a folding chair and a soda. And there I sit in the mornings and sew. My kids ride their bikes, shoot hoops, use chalk, etc. and it’s perfect. I can be out there with them and get my work done.
Sure, it’s not as idyllic as the image of my great grandmother but to me it’s a beautiful thing…as for my neighbors every now and then someone will drive by, stop, back up, and ask me what the heck I’m doing. But I don’t mind…by now they have come to understand that I am crazy.
Last week end I was telling this to my mom who told me about my great grandmother’s porch sewing habit. Later that afternoon I confirmed the story with my grandma. Now…if only I could get her mad sewing skills instead of just her kooky ideas….
So what’s in a name?
Mysterious tendencies to move things outdoors that should remain indoors? An unseen force compelling you to repeat history? A deep need to paint things in your home insane colors to drive your husband crazy?
I don’t know. But it’s on my mind.
New baby…new name…new legacy…it’s a big decision.