Aren't I adorable? I love my shoes!
Last week, I encouraged those suffering from writer's block to look through family albums for ideas. I did this a few months ago and made a discovery.
I've seen the above photo all my life. There I am, not quite age two, waiting for my mommy and new baby sister to come home. Grandma got me all dolled up. But I'd never taken the photo out of the album. As I did to scan it, I discovered a note on the back.
"Lori, in the dress mommy made."
I never knew that!
Which reminded me: Mom was fired from her job when her boss learned she was pregnant. They could do that in 1969... and she worked in store that sold Singer sewing machines.
So she lost her job and no doubt my parents had to scrape and save like crazy after that. Naturally, she chose to sew baby clothes, on her Singer, rather than buy. Back then, fabric and patterns were the economical choice, unlike today. I wonder if she resented using her machine, silently fuming at her boss as she worked on the dress collar. Or maybe she was glad she saved and bought it at a discount while she could.
As I grew up, her sewing machine was always out. I tattooed one corner of its cabinet with a childhood drawing, pushing too hard on the paper and carving into the wood. Boy, was I in trouble!
On Saturday mornings, my sister and I would sneak into her closet and pull out her cutting board, a 5 x 7 piece of cardboard, perfect for sock skating while watching cartoons.
Mom also gave me lessons on her machine. I learned to make vests, very popular in the 80s, and a passable skirt or two. But she was much better and could whip up any pattern I chose.
So you see, this photo serves for several plot ideas:
- Discrimination in the workplace
- 1960-1970s employment
- Fear that income loss brings
- Sewing analogies
- Scenes of shopping, fitting, designing
- Scenes of ruined attempts
- Scenes of little girl fashion shows
See what I mean? Has an unexpected discovery triggered your creative juices lately?