Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Precious memories from a difficult time

After my recent post about the quilt that I loved to tatters, my mother informed me that she had begun hand piecing it while I was in the hospital. I have many memories associated with that quilt, but not that one, which is perfectly reasonable since I spent the first week in the hospital begging for morphine and the second week figuring out how to walk with a cast that went from the top of my head to the bottom of my hips. Surprisingly, however, I do have some needlework memories associated with that time.


It was the summer that I turned 14 and school had just ended when I went into the hospital for scoliosis surgery. Two years of exercises and braces hadn't corrected the S-shaped curves in my spine, which by then measured approximately 47 degrees on top and then twisted back into another 27 degree curve. The only choice I was given was to have surgery then, or to take a year off before college. I elected to have it right away since I would have to wear my brace another 3 years if I decided to wait.


Being in the pediatric ward, I was entitled to a toy. Mine, for teens, was a 1-foot square rug hooking kit. The pattern depicted a rainbow coming up and out of a raining cloud, which, thinking back, was somewhat inspirational. I enjoyed working that kit since there was very little to do in general, and even less that I was allowed to do. I've never hooked anything since, but I still remember how therapeutic it was.


My second needlework memory is of my sister. Both of us emulate our parents in many ways. I inherited my father's love of history and my mother's passion for needlework. My sister inherited a love for music. In fact, she teaches string instruments to Junior High students and has a successful string quartet that plays weddings and other functions. That summer she decided to make me a present--a stuffed sun bear. We had sun bears in the local zoo, so I recognized it right away. But there was something not quite right about this one. His white chest patch was perfect and his face was adorable, but his arms were sewn on upside down! I could never quite get used to that, and looking at him in the hospital made me feel a little broken too. Being a self-centered teen, I never did thank her properly, but 30 years later I can still recall exactly what he looked like. So, better late than never. Thanks Jennifer! It may have taken me 30 years to say it, but I appreciate the time that you spent sewing that little bear and he really was cute! (And happy birthday to you too!)


It is funny when I think back on that time. Most of my memories are ones I want to forget, but these few are precious.

There are very few photos of me in my cast. I had to dig up my high school year book to find these!
I made my jumper in this photo. Not too fashionable, but it fit over the cast!



  1. How you suffered, friend. I had forgotten about your cast.

    1. Julie: the worst thing about that cast was that I couldn't cut my hair for 6 months! It was the first thing I did when they switched the big cast for a smaller one!

  2. High school is ruff on lots of people and to go through health problems must have been a challenging to you. I took sewing class every year and made lots of clothes and kept them for a while too. I moved around a lot and so I went to a different high school every year, I was blessed with excellent teachers in that class every year learned a lot, along with what mother taught me!