[dropcap]S[/dropcap]he’s sewed for practically all her life.
When she was twelve, she’d go downtown and stare into the shop windows at Weaver’s. She’d sketch a few fashion designs on a notepad, then dart back home to replicate them.
When I was a boy, she made my clothes. Nearly everything I wore. Mine were the only shirts in the school without tags. “Why don’t my shirts have tags?” I’d ask.
“Because,” she’d answer. “Fancy clothes don’t need tags.”
Fancy or not, I wanted tags like the other kids. Everyone had labels inside their collars. How else would I know if my shirt was right-side-out?
So my mother sent off for mail-order printed tags. She sewed them into every article of my wardrobe. Even my ball caps.
“Property of Sean Dietrich,” the tag read. Then it listed my home address, just in case someone ever needed to air-mail me a lost pair of my underpants.
Like most boys, I was rough on my clothes. A tall basket sat next to my mother’s sewing machine where I deposited ripped jeans and tattered shirts for mending. And that woman must’ve spent half her life patching up my grass-stained clothes.
And on the day I left home, she met me at the door with a little tin box. One of her sewing kits. It was filled with needles, buttons, thread, and thimbles.
“What’s this for?” I asked.
“For you,” she said. “It might come in handy, you know, when I’m not around.”
Well then, I don’t want it.