Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Old Acquaintances Unforgotten

No, this isn't about New Year's Eve -that's spelled "Auld" and this is just "old"- well, not exactly anyway.

I think I mentioned a good while back -maybe last December -about some of the girls from my high school class getting together for lunch once a month, didn't I? If I didn't, well we do this on the last Thursday of the month. We started this with a core group -three of us who grew up together, side-by-side, and three others. The names of these friends are Rose, Kate, Linda, Carol, Sharon and Jeni (that would be me, ya know.) Rose, Kate and I go way back in time -to first grade. Actually, Kate and I go back a little further than that -to probably being each others first "friend" not related to us. Yeah, we go back that far to as far back as either of us can remember -maybe a little before that too -and we're friends because we've always been neighbors, went through all 12 years of school together, belong to the same church, and today, we are still neighbors too. She lives across the road and two houses down from me now but growing up, she lived two houses down from me, on the same side. (Rose lived in between us but didn't move into that house till we were in first grade.)

In school, we all had other close friends too but all our friends tended to revolve around the same core people.

Today, although it wasn't the last Thursday of this month, we had a special lunch get-together as another girl from our class, Lori, was back in the area from Virginia -where she's lived since graduation -and she had e-mailed me to see if maybe we could get together as friend Linda had e-mailed her and told her about our "Last Thursday" group get-togethers.

Lori grew up on this street too -with Kate, Rose and me -and in grade school, the four of us were referred to by the teachers as "The West Clymer Slowpokes." (West Clymer is what this end of our village is called and I don't suppose I need to explain why the teachers called us the "slowpokes" though, do I? Yeah, we were generally late arriving to school almost every morning and if we happened to go home for lunch, odds were we would be late returning then too! Hey, it was a long walk and yes, it was uphill too -a very steep hill I might add -both ways, as Bill Cosby like to say.

All of us in this little group have been married -one is a widow. I'm divorced, as is Lori, the one who joined with us today. Linda is the only one who never had children. We, as a group, have added to the world's population -Rose, 5; Kate and I, 3; Lori, 4; Carol, 2; Sharon, 1. And because some of us had children who also had children, we've then added 34 more souls to the mix.

Rose was captain of the cheerleading squad and her husband, Durv (also in our class) was captain of the football team. They married on St. Patrick's Day in our senior year in high school -a union that many around the village and even from our class, said would never last. But this year, they celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary! Don't you love to see someone beat the odds like that? I sure do. Carol and her husband, Ed (who also grew up on the street where I live) will celebrate their 46th anniversary this October now too.

I marvel that we, as a group of kids who came together way back when are still close friends -enjoy each others company, still have much in common as we did back in those "good old days."

As a kid, I envied Rose, Kate and Lori all very, very much because they all came from large families whereas I was the only child and as such, really was very lonely in that status too. Lori was one of 8, Kate, one of five and Rose -well, Rose hit the jackpot family-wise, in my book, as she was one of 13!

None of us grew up well-off, financially -all of us were pretty much par for the area -typical coal-miner's daughters, you could say. That means pretty much, we were all poor! But heck, back then, just about everyone else in this village was pretty much in the same boat, so there wasn't a bunch of rivalry that this or that person had so much more than anyone else. I always thought of these friends, especially Rose, Kate and Lori, as being very rich though and that was simply because they had the thing I wanted most, wished for every birthday, every year for Christmas too -brothers and sisters. That was my idea of great currency!

Though Kate, Rose and I have no family ties, my kids have grown up referring to them and their siblings too with the title of Aunt or Uncle before their names. Not necessarily do they call each these people Aunt or Uncle in person, but at home, if my kids and I are talking about Kate or Rose or any of their siblings, to keep people straight so everyone knows who we're referring to, those titles get tacked on.

Out of these friends, Linda is the only one who still has a parent still living. Her Mom is 98 and graduated from high school with my Mom. What's more, her Mom is still able to be up and around, plus, she's still very mentally alert too.

Back in our school days, Kate was the star student -valedictorian of our class; Lori was second highest -salutatorian. Carol, Linda, Rose and Sharon -all honor students too! Me? Not so much -I made the honor roll twice in high school but beat that record in college by making Dean's List three times in four years! I'm not saying that to brag -about the Dean's List thing -but rather because the fact I DIDN'T pay much attention to my grades in high school, I was very much a disappointment to my mother. Because of my high school grades, though I'd always wanted to go to college, she was convinced I would never be able to deal with classes like that, the difficulty of them, etc., and therefore, she was never supportive of my trying to go to college. By the time I got around to enrolling in college, my Mom had been gone for 11 years then so she never knew that I went on to school much less that I had managed to make the Dean's List too!

Rose asked me today why I hadn't gone to college directly out of high school and I told her how my Mom felt about me and that form of higher education. I've often wondered though how much differently my life might have been if I had been able to get that oh, so important college degree back during the timespan considered "normal" and not waited till I was 50 years old to graduate. Odds are I never would have met my ex-husband, had the three great children and now, the three best grandchildren ever too then if I'd gone to college, had a "career" early on in my life. I say that with very mixed emotions as there are times I very much wish I'd had that option back then but then, the thoughts about the family I now have come into play and that colors things very differently.

We talked today about all kinds of things -family -our children, grandkids, of course, but also about things we enjoy doing too. Almost all of us like to do many of the "craft" type things -sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery. We all enjoy reading too.

Today, I took with me the item I'd been working on for the past week and which I completed about 2 a.m. this morning. It's a tablecloth -36x36 inches -embroidered but more like crewel embroidery as opposed to using the regular floss. I took it with me mainly to show Kate -to prove to her -that I actually finished this thing! (I have a reputation for starting a lot of stuff and then either not finishing it at all or taking a long, long time to complete things.)

And, I decided to show you all too this tablecloth now as well. (This makes 2 tablecloths (both 36x36 inches) and two table runners I have now completed in the past 4-6 week time span. Quite a record breaker that is for me! But I really just wanted to show you what I've been doing that's been keeping me very busy and away from the computer a lot lately too.
It's not a perfect masterpiece, not even close. I'm not that great at embroidery -just enjoy it. But I was very pleased with how this item did turn out though. I thought the colors, the trim around the border too -which I DIDN'T do, as it came with that edging already attached -to make for a very pretty little tablecloth.

Who knows, but maybe someday it will grace out table here and add just a tiny bit of class to what is otherwise a very "unclassy" home.

Or maybe too, it will find its way to someone else's home as a Christmas gift or a birthday present or some such. Maybe, if it goes to reside with one of my kids after I have gone from this life, it will be something that will be regarded as a legacy type item -something Mom/Grammy made just for that person in my life.

Maybe too, it will inspire one of my girls -or perhaps even my granddaughter -to learn an old, old craft and carry on a tradition of making things like this to kind of pretty-up an otherwise very bland, colorless old house just a bit.

The art of doing embroidery work is to me, like my school friends -an "auld" acquaintance and yes, a very valuable one too.

Happy Crafting to you -and also, Peace!


david mcmahon said...

And peace to you too, Jeni

fermicat said...

That tablecloth is pretty. I like the colors. Wish I had more time and creativity for crafts.

Vic Grace said...

The tablecloth looks great and it would go very well on my dining table I have those colors.

I have a table cloth with one corner finished perhaps I should send it to you to complete.LOL

Millennium Housewife said...

You know, I reckon everyone wonders what may have been if they had had different oppourtunities or parenting. You say you have a reputation for taking a long time to complete things, well maybe that is your nature and how you work, including at your studies. Maybe your mom saw that in you and thought you needed time to take the next step in your education. Just a thought, which presumes a lot so don't take it too heavily. Lovely post, over from David's MH

Suldog said...

Insofar as your life being different: Yes, it would have been. However, I firmly believe that we always end up where God wants us to end up, so the path may have become different, but the destination would have remained the same.

Dianne said...

you know me well enough to know I totally get that "what if" feeling re. our childhoods and our parents

thing is don't dwell cause it takes away from how awesome we are ;)

I love the tablecloth.

Akelamalu said...

I used to love doing embroidery. One of the very first things I embroidered was a small tablecloth with a circle in the middle containing an elephant pushing a barrowload of apples! I wonder where it is now?

Anyway I just popped over from Authorblog to read your 'post of the day':)

Millennium Housewife said...

Jeni, thankyou so much for visiting me and for your thoughtful and intelligent reply. Looking forward to keeping an eye on your blog! MH

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

That table cloth is beautiful.

Sandi McBride said...

What a beautiful post Jeni...and aren't friends the most wonderful possessions in the world???

terri said...

I think many of us who grew up with siblings never appreciated them. I do have some fond memories of life with my siblings, but have to say there are still times today when it's hard to appreciate my brothers, LOL!

It always impresses me that you have maintained such close friendships all of your life. I seem to have lost touch with most of my childhood friends.

Your tablecloth turned out beautifully!

leslie said...

Hi Jeni, I came to you via David and wanted to say that I love your tablecloth! I did quite a bit of crewel work when my daughters were younger, but made them into framed pictures. I did a couple of birds and getting the angle of those stitches for the feathers was really difficult! So I can appreciate those flowers and the shading effect you've given them. Nicely done!

SnoopMurph said...

What a lovely post about your friends and the threads that keep us all together. I enjoyed reading it.

Carol said...

Truly 'ties that bind'! Great post and beautiful crewel work!!

Janna said...

My mother sometimes does ribbon embroidery. She makes beautiful floral designs on purses and jackets.

Your tablecloth is lovely.

I never really got into embroidery; not sure why. I never got into any crafts that involve using a needle.
Maybe I'm secretly worried that I'll stab myself. :)

On a completely unrelated note, I just did a post about Meloncutter. After his worrisome recent post, I emailed him to make sure he was ok.
As per his request, I'm letting people know.

I'm visiting everyone he's linked to in his sidebar, to help spread the word.