Some of the most important work I do is supporting individuals who are making the courageous and often frightening metamorphosis from one way of being to another. One client, a woman just barely fifty-years old, exemplifies both humor and bravery in a manner I have come to admire. Let me introduce her to you as Mystery Ms. I believe her story is best told from her point of view rather than mine. And so, please meet Mystery Ms:
I recently left a career from a company that I helped build from the ground up. Even though I know this was the right decision it left me a little lost. In the same year I have also said goodbye to a best friend and family members who have passed on; maybe it is best to say that they have started a new journey. In the mix is also the loss of close relationships at work and other more personal yet related connections. I again believe that these too have transformed in ways the Universe sometimes knows is best for all involved. But really, did it all have to be topped off by losing Oprah as well? (I just don’t see Dr. Phil filling her shoes.)
So I am looking at the world differently than ever before and wondering what brought me to this new place where I’m asking a huge question:
Where do I go from here?
All this has found me reflecting on my childhood and even though it wasn’t always great, childhood influences are coming up and I am reconsidering the people who gave me memories. Like cream rising in a jar, my Swedish Grandmother “M” (I’m her name sake) comes to mind. She taught me so many things that I am grateful for. She taught me to pray. She taught me how to read. She taught me how to eat! Could this woman cook! Not only could she cook, she cleaned, farmed, read and made every single grandchild feel like her favorite. I secretly know that I truly was the favorite so don’t tell my cousins.
Of all the culinary skills Grandma “M” had, my most favorite was her “rolling ups” which were pancake-like crepes served with three ingredients: butter, more butter and sugar. Next in line were her chocolate cookies. Cooking and all the other activities took place while she wore one pristine apron after another. She was an ample woman so nothing but the heavy duty type could keep up with her. Each apron circled her neck and came equipped with big pockets. Wonderful things were captured and held inside these pockets – candy, gum, Kleenex, clothespins, bobby pins, band-aids and more. It seemed as if anything a little girl wanted or needed to solve an emergency came out of those pockets.
Grandma “M” only exchanged her apron for one other accessory and that was a pair of earrings. This jewelry was reserved for Sunday Service. Trust me she never went to church without her hair done and those big clip-on things dangling from her ears. I don’t ever remember her missing a Sunday Service and when the sun hit those earrings, it was nothing short of amazing! Rap-stars step back because you couldn’t match her bling even though that set of jewels probably cost her fifty cents at the time.
In my search for finding a different road I have stumbled onto several books about vintage linens and aprons and perhaps this is also the reason my Grandmother’s memories are flooding back to me. I think she is sending me a message and I’m not able to discern it quite yet.
She has reminded me of a set of dish towels given to me by a wonderful Mother-in-Law. They were those novel kind called “Days of the Week” flour-sack-make-over dish towels. If you really know your vintage linens you call these D.O.W.s. My Mother-in-Law must have spent hours stitching away making these and to me that makes them priceless. I need to remember to tell her next time I talk with her how much they meant to me. No! I take that back I’m picking up the phone when I finish writing this and I’m going to tell her now. Life is too short to wait.
So this is where you find me. I’m trading in my Ralph Lauren suits and my Cole Haan Shoes and I’m thinking of getting a sewing machine and some gingham fabric and investing in embroidery floss as well. While I’m at it I might need some Birkenstocks to go with my favorite pair of worn-out-jeans. Can you still purchase Birkenstocks?
In addition I’m buying an Airstream trailer and I’m stocking it with vintage table clothes, napkins and of course an apron or two. If you see me coming down Route 66, pull me over. Maybe we could do some tradin’ even if it only ends up in swapping stories.
One thing I know for sure at this juncture in the road is this:
Some apron strings should never be cut!
P.S. I wonder how my new H.O.A. feels about me installing a clothesline in my backyard. I’m just saying…