Being human we seldom realise or recognise our own talents. I often look at the work of photographers and marvel at the amazing images they produce. Gingerpixel is one and Richard M, who I mentioned in a previous post, is another. I point a camera and if I am lucky I manage to produce something that is almost recognisable.
Praise was not something my parents served up very often in my young days. It was usually “What are you at now? You know you will never finish it.” I suppose those words made me more determined to complete whatever I was at, usually some sewing, and prove I could do something.
I remember hiding away in my bedroom one afternoon to find some peace and quiet to read a book that a friend had given me. My mother called up to me to know what I was up to. “Nothing, just reading” I said. “Well stop wasting time and come down here and do something useful!” she said. I came down as asked and the useful task assigned to me was to peel ½ stone of potatoes for the dinner. Seven pounds of potatoes were consumed on a daily basis in our household, that was when we were small in number, my parents four brothers my sister and myself. When we had visitors, which was a regular occurrence the mound of potatoes grew even bigger. Of course we had plenty of vegetables to be scrubbed, peeled and chopped to go with the potatoes and they just appeared at my side as I was about to finish the spuds.
There were days when Mammy might exclaim “I have nothing for dessert, would you ever whip up a sponge cake. Now this was before we had an electric mixer or a food processor. My only aid was a hand mixer and it took an eternity to beat up the eggs until they were stiff and left the mark of the beaters in the mixture. All that work to see the cake arrive on the table where it was cut in eight slices and devoured in ten seconds!! What is it with eggs? I made the sponge cakes, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. They were about the only things I was praised for.
Mary my father’s eldest sister is the person who fostered my love of a needle. She taught me to crochet and to read a sewing pattern properly. I had lessons on her old treadle sewing machine and she helped to make my first dress. To this day I still see it in my minds eye. Being the early sixties it was simple sleeveless fully lined and had two fringed patch pockets on the front. Auntie Mary was a teacher and had a love for her craft and passed on her knowledge with love and gentle dedication. I have never forgotten anything that she taught me.
Over this past year while working on Elly’s special outfit I thought of Auntie Mary many times. So when I make a quiet toast to Absent Loved Ones on the big day Auntie Mary will be high up on that list.