Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Stitches of the past February 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:40 AM
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DECADES LATER I can still feel the slight resistance as I draw yarn through holes punched into light-weight cardboard.

I can hear, too, the grating of thread against pulp, as deplorable to me as chalk squeaking across a blackboard.

Yet, my remembrances of stitching yarn into sewing cards rate mostly as a favorite childhood activity I had long forgotten until recently rediscovering those cards tucked away in a chest of drawers.

I pulled out the cards and studied them, for the first time, as vintage works of art.

The cards are smudged and grimy and creased, corners bent, one even torn. But that adds to their character, to their nostalgic  folk art appeal.

It is during these years of aging, of realizing less of your life lies ahead of you than behind, that the past rushes back.

These sewing cards opened the doors to memories of nursery rhymes…

"There was an old woman who lives in a shoe..."

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”

…and frightening stories of goats crossing bridges where trolls lurk…

"Three Billy Goats Gruff"

“Three Billy Goats Gruff”

…and Cinderella fairy tales with happily-ever-after endings…

...where frogs turn into princes

…where frogs turn into princes

…and vivid recollections of evil roosters that pursued and pecked (for real, not in any fairy tale)…

The real, pecking, children-chasing roosters were not at all this pretty.

The real, pecking, children-chasing roosters were not at all this pretty.

…and calves that needed to be fed and certainly didn’t smell of daisies.

The calves I fed were black-and-white Holsteins smelling of barn.

The calves I fed were black-and-white Holsteins smelling of barn.

Powerful memories are stitched into these time-worn cards that I now prop as rotating art on the chest of drawers once shared by my dad and his oldest brother.

It seems some days that my thoughts dwell more on memories than the future.

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you have a particular possession that evokes strong childhood memories?

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling