A few weeks ago, when my parents were here for a visit, my dad brought an old stack of books he found in my grandmother's home. He'd been pondering how to help me with my restlessness and thought he'd struck gold. In the box was a book made just for me. He proudly presented me with the 1947 edition of The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing. 352 detailed pages of instructions for making tailored pantsuits, money-saving ideas for "remodeling your family wardrobe and gay home furnishings". Over 500 photographs of Barbie in stillettos pinning and tailoring everything just so. Yes. My dad knows me well. My mom passed on many gifts to me, but the gift of sewing was not one. Probably because she didn't have it herself. Both my grandmas were seamstresses to a point, but the buck stopped with mom and I never took an interest. In a tortuous year of home-ec (remember when they called it that? now it's Family and Consumer Sciences), Mrs. French helplessly tried to instill basic skills into one who could barely cut straight- even with the chalk line. Needless to say, hemming means duct tape, and real needle and thread gets passed to Bob who has more skill because of time logged in hemming pigs feet and people. Sorry, dad. Nice try.

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