“I forgot about this closet. It’s full of Mom’s fabric scraps.”
Three sisters stared with expressionless faces into the hall closet that still carried the distinct fragrance of their mother. Childhood memories came rushing back at the first whiff of the familiar scent.
Processing the horrendous reality that they lost both of their parents in a traffic accident was overwhelming enough. Cleaning out the house -- their childhood home -- was crushing the life out of them.
“Why did she keep all of these scraps anyway? You can‘t use most of them.” Since the youngest of the three sisters was the only sewer, the other two readily agreed with her assessment.
“Look at all this material! I forgot how much Mom sewed when we were growing up.” Freeing a piece of red velvet from the tightly packed closet, the oldest sister groaned as she slumped to the floor, realizing the daunting task awaiting them.
“Remember all the matching outfits she made us? That velvet is from Christmas dresses. I think there was a black bow on them, too.” The middle sister had always been the most fashion-conscious, so it wasn’t surprising that she was the first to begin identifying the original uses of the material pieces.
“I knew it.” She was also always right. “Here’s the ribbon Mom used to tie the bows. Help me get all this stuff out of here. We might as well dump it on the floor and get started.”
The sisters worked together; pulling a myriad of fabric pieces from the crammed closet.
“Ohhh, look. This was from our Easter dresses; with the bunny peeking out the pocket.”
“I didn’t have an Easter bunny dress. Just you two did.” Being the youngest sister, she always felt slighted because she hadn’t been in on all the ‘matching outfits’. She wore them as hand-me-downs, but she made it clear that it wasn’t the same as being the original owner.
“I loved the dresses made with this polka dot material.” The oldest sister steered the conversation away from Easter bunnies.
“What dresses?” Her two younger sisters examined the material in question.
“Those adorable Christmas dresses. Red? With polka dotted pleats?”
“Oh, yeah. I vaguely ….” the ‘uh-oh’ expressions on the older girls’ faces silently completed the hanging sentence.
“Don‘t tell me … I didn’t have one of ‘those adorable Christmas dresses’ either.” The slightly sarcastic, somewhat miffed voice, combined with the roll of the eyes, let the older girls know that their little sister wasn’t really mad.
“Ah-ha! I remember this material from our Christmas skirts. And wasn’t this yellow flowered material one of my Easter dresses? And you guys had orange and green, right?.” Elated over finding material she recognized, the youngest sister clawed through the fabric pile with renewed energy.
“Remember how we used to stand on a chair so Mom could measure the hemline? ‘Turn slowly. A little more. More.’”
“And we’d take little shuffle steps, just to make her mad.”
“We didn’t do that. You did that.” Raucous laughter filled the hallway at the memory of the middle sister doing whatever she could to ’get Mom’s goat’. The house had been devoid of any laughter since the accident. But at that moment, some of the life had returned.
“I remember trying things on before she started sewing, and getting poked with all the pins.” Flashbacks of feeling like a pin cushion filled the youngest sister’s head. “Just thinking about it makes me feel all itchy.”
“And remember she’d stay up ‘half the night’, as Dad would say, to finish sewing everything, and then go play the organ for church?”
“She wanted us to have our matching outfits for Christmas and Easter.” The middle sister struggled to get the last words out, as another wave of despair engulfed her.
“I can’t believe Mom and Dad are gone. It seems like all we have left are scraps.”
“But look what these scraps gave us today. Memories, laughter, and some crying.” Every time they came to the house, one of the sisters would hold up the other two, and have just the right words to say. Today, it was the oldest sister.
“Earlier, these scraps seemed worthless. But every scrap of fabric has its own story, and together they represent so much of our lives. These insignificant scraps helped us feel Mom and Dad’s love again. And I thank God for putting these worthless scraps in our lives.”
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