*© 2010 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved
When Auntie Rose turned fifty, she suddenly picked up a new skill – crocheting lace. At first we were at a loss as to the origin of this sudden passion, but Teddy, never reticent, asked her outright at dinner one evening why it was she began to spend almost every evening in a chair by the fire, her needles clicking away furiously, for two or three hours.
“Teddy," began Mama gently – “It’s all right, Maude,” interposed Auntie with a smile. “It so happens that I was calling on Miss Amanda Byers,” she began, “and noticed a new vase on one of the small tables in her sitting room. Underneath the vase was the most delightful oval of lace. I had to ask her about it, and she told me in strictest confidence – so this is now a great secret among us as well – that she had been taking lessons in lace-making from the wife of old Tom, her man of all work. She had made it herself. I admired it extravagantly, for I was impressed with the quality of the thing. Amanda was so touched by my interest that she offered to teach me to do the same. Although as a young girl hundreds of years ago” – here Auntie winked conspiratorially at Teddy – “I had worked samplers and edged hankies and the like, I have never been a noted needlewoman. But what could I say? I agreed that I should learn to make lace.”
Here Mama smothered a smile in her napkin; Papa harrumphed gruffly, not at all troubling to hide his amazement. Auntie ignored them both and continued blithely, “I therefore on succeeding visits observed Amanda, paying close attention as she demonstrated the various stitching methods she employed. Strangely enough, when she finally deigned to place a pair of needles and thread in my hands, I found it most soothing to count and stitch, turn and count and stitch some more. So now, Teddy, you have the reason for my new hobby – and if you find occasion to mock my work, you may find nothing but a pair of lace stockings to wear with your knee breeches in your Christmas box.”
At this we all laughed heartily, as we were meant to, and Mama rang the bell for dessert.
~ from the diary of Ellen Fall (1889-1965)
Digital oils from an original photograph shot at the Barnes Museum, Southington, Connecticut, December 4, 2010.*
Tech specs: Photoshop, Filter Forge, Zero, Arkvis