Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 352...

I have a box of handmade clothes from when I was a little girl. 

I was in grade school, first...second grade...and every birthday, every Christmas, and sometimes no occasion at all, I would receive a handmade dress with a card attached, signed "your secret friend."

My mother knew who it was the whole time, but I didn't find out until a few years later, when my secret friend learned she was sick with cancer, and her illness had progressed enough that making handmade items was no longer feasible.

The last gift was a store bought coat. one inch box-quilted down; fuscia.  I LOVED that coat! I called it my marshmallow coat. The attached card was signed "Mrs. Bayer."

She had been the secretary at my school, and we had bonded quickly. I loved her. She loved me. I was precious to her; the granddaughter she never had, and she had decided that she wanted to create a little magic for me, so she talked to my mother and worked out the "secret friend" gifting.

I was nine when she died. The same year both my grandmother's died, also of cancer. It was a tough year for a nine year old girl.

I still have all but one dress.  (If I remember correctly, I gave one to my cousin, Lisa.) The box they are kept in is small-ish, with bold, black lettering: CLOTHES FROM MRS. BAYER. Every now and then, I open it up, lift each dress out, smooth the fabric, admire the stitching, then carefully re-fold each one and put them back in the box. The elastics are shot, but the fabrics are solid and strong. There is also the coat, the fuscia marshmallow coat, which goes in last, piece of tissue paper on top, fold the box back over, re-tape...

It's amazing to me, that each time I revisit those dresses, I can still feel the love of one sweet lady for the little girl she chose to cherish and shower with affection...and handmade dresses.

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