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Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Voices Of Women

I grew up in an all girl house. My poor daddy had more pink undershirts - which we wore all the time instead of nightgowns, and which were constantly being tossed in the wash with our red clothes and coming out just the right shade of girlie-girl pink. He had 4 pink ones for every white one. He was always such a good sport about it but then, secretly, I always thought he had a really strong feminine side. When he got enough of us girls he'd put on an army uniform and head off to a reserves meeting. Sometimes I think he went just to get away from us. We were never sorry to see him go because ....

I grew up in an all girl house.

Girl power was so potent in our house that we even swapped the words around from the old Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails rhymes. One we used to quote was "Girls are dandy, made of candy, Boys are rotten, made of cotton."  Daddy would swap it around and say that Boys were made of candy and we'd shriek with laughter and go grab A Rocket In My Pocket (the origin of that one) and prove to him that it was Boys who were Rotten! Once when a sturdy little neighbor boy was playing in our yard Daddy tried to enlist his support by asking him if Boys weren't dandy, made of candy.  Daddy would turn pink himself, with laughter, every time he'd tell that story, which was often - and admit that he knew he was lost forever when little Chris Chavisty looked at him in horror and said indignantly, while making muscles in his skinny little 6 year old arms, "Boys aren't made of candy. Boys are Tough. They're made of Iron and Steel!"

Poor Daddy.

Lucky me. I loved living in that feminine world. I loved it that nobody clomped through the house. I loved it that you never had to explain yourself to someone who asked "Why are you reading that book again?" or "What do you want white go-go boots for? They won't keep the rain out."

I mean - who the heck needs an explanation for white go-go boots?

I had enough girl friends growing up, but I never really had to look for a girlfriend because there was always some girl in the house who could be your friend, once she got over being mad at you for cutting your paper dolls out in the middle of the bedroom and blowing the little white snips over onto her side. When I was a grown woman with a guy husband and a (boy) baby and a broken down car, but no money, I had no idea why I was so unhappy till I was invited to a baby shower for a girl I didn't even know. Surrounded by all those women, in that room filled with soft feminine voices and graceful gestures - even with the laughter and excitement of a party - I realized that if I don't have girls living in my house I better be sure I have girlfriends I can go spend time with. I will forever be grateful for those sweet ladies at the Baptist Church who invited me to that baby shower. They had no idea how badly I needed them. Happily I met a soul mate woman a scant few weeks later and I was good to go for the rest of my life. We're still friends, though our lives have taken us in different directions and since that lonely year of the broken down car, I've made sure I carved out time to cultivate girlfriends and spend time with them.

Image result for tattingYesterday I took a class on tatting - a kind of lace making using thread and a shuttle and tying knots over tiny rings of thread and then joining them in a pattern. It is, so far, the only fiber art that has defeated me and it brought me to my knees again over the course of 6 hours of trying. I managed to make 3 little circles of 10 knots each - which means that it took me 12 minutes to tie the each knot successfully. (Love me some tatting math)

I have always been successful at both the mental skill of reading and following directions and the kinesthetic skill of manipulating small tools.  Even the ugly babies I made when I first began to spin were at least yarn - and I mastered the rudiments of spinning after watching the first 20 minutes of a video. Surely a class in tatting was all I needed to get the hang of this ... NOT. 

I did grasp what needed to be done to be successful, but these old eyes just couldn't see when what was happening suddenly unhappened. I still think I could learn this but it will take time and  a level of concentration I don't have to give it right now. Other things I already do well are clamoring for my attention and I can always do this next year - at Tara. 

But the beautiful gift I did bring home from yesterday's class (at the delightful Rice's Hotel-Hughlett's Tavern ) was the delicious sensation of being in a room full of women doing beautiful things with their hands in a quiet gentle atmosphere. 

Ohhhhhhhhh I love that feeling - that sound of quietness - of busy hands - that experience of feminine creativity. It was like my childhood home after Daddy went off to his mysterious DaddyWorld. It was the most restful relaxation - in spite of the utter failure of my hands. It didn't matter. It was worth it just to be there with other ladies doing something with string.

I have other girlfriends and we share books and health and exercise and family. We share time and advice and experiences and love. But I don't have any makerr friends right now - no fiber friends - no arty ones - and I have missed that. So one more thing I plan to do - someday - at Tara - will be to spend time in a room full of women who make beautiful things with their hands.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I would dispute that you don't have any maker friends right now. Perhaps just not any you see on a regular basis (and we need to remedy that, don't we? :-D ).