Friday, November 15, 2013

Nin and June

This post has been a long time coming. It's one that as I write, I have to make sure to use just the right words so as to perfectly portray what I see and the story behind it. The real reason for this post is a love story. A love between a granddaughter and grandmother, a granddaughter and a great grandmother, and especially the love between a husband and his precious wife. The kind of love that was more prevalent 50 years ago than it is today

I discovered this love, or at least a sentiment of it, in August of this year. My family was moving down to Bakersfield, California from Eastern Idaho. Because it was about a thousand miles, we broke it into 3 days of travelling. The last leg of our journey began in Sacramento where my grandparents live part time. Over a year ago, my great grandmother June passed away. Her health had been failing for years and she was under almost constant supervision by my grandparents (her daughter and son-in-law) who had a house an hour away in Napa. They took care of her for years until she joined my grandfather in Spring of last year. My grandparents will continue to go back and forth between their home and my grandmother's until the house eventually goes up for sale. 

We stayed 2 days in Sacramento to visit and catch up. I see my grandparents about twice a year and they're some of my favorite people in the world. Before we left, my grandma brought something out of her bedroom. A large wooden box which she opened and proceeded to tell me about. It was a four-tiered wooden sewing box given to my great grandma June by her husband as a token of his love.

On the inside was something I could have only dreamed of. I spent the next half hour pulling items out of the box and turning them over in my hands, my heart feeling excited and nostalgic. The box was full of my grandmother's old sewing supplies. Everything from old wooden spools of thread in a rainbow of colors, to zippers cut from worn out clothes of the family. There were needle kits, buttons, Velcro, patches, anything the vintage modern-day woman could possibly want for her sewing collection. 

 I love the old fashioned integrity of this company. "Should it be faulty in anyway, we will reimburse you for the reasonable cost of your labor and all materials used in making the article on which it is applied." 

Apparently these were given away at businesses such as insurance companies?

 A collection of buttons from outgrown outfits, extras from projects, and those that 
caught my grandmother's eye in a 1920's drugstore. 

There were at least a hundred spools of thread. Brimming with sentimental value. As I handled everything, I thought of my grandmother and her family zipping, buttoning and sewing. What were they wearing for school pictures? How did their buttons break off? What was my grandmother's favorite thing to wear?

When I reached the end of the box, my eyes immediately filled with tears. Laying quietly at the bottom was the most precious piece of family history. A short sweet card attached to the sewing box when it was given as a gift. "To my honey. From Nin." Even though I knew what the answer probably was, I asked my grandma anyway. "Who's Nin?" "That's grandpa. He got that nickname from his baby sister and it stuck." My heart melted. A simple and sweet love note from my grandfather to his sweetheart. 

In remembrance of my grandfather, Einer (Nin) and his love, June, I've started an etsy shop. It isn't stocked yet, but keep your eyes open for the grand opening. Her sewing box, along with their love story is my inspiration. As I sew, I hope the incredible seamstress in Grandma June will somehow come out in me.

I am reminded of the poem by John Donne,

No man is an island,

Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

Everything we do is connected to our ancestors and our posterity. We must live every day knowing that what we do affects people of our day and exponentially those of the future. By choosing to do good with all we have been given, our legacy becomes something to be admired for generations to come.