“Aunt Cynthia, what can we do?” asked seven-year-old Kerri Bowen. “We can’t go outside.” She stared out the sewing room window, watching rain pelt the trees and bushes and chug down the rainspouts. “Can Jodi and I help you?”
Aunt Cynthia stopped her sewing machine. “No, but I have an idea. How about the attic? It’s the perfect place to spend a rainy day.” She reached for her pins and a length of filmy white lace. As Kerri and Jodi watched, she pinned it to the hem of a shimmery white dress. “I have to finish this dress today. The wedding is next week.”
“Great idea!” shouted Kerri. “Come on, Jodi!” The cousins skipped together down the hall, hopped up the stairs, and opened the attic door. What a mess! Stacked under each window were dusty boxes and trunks. Exercise equipment stood in the middle of the floor. Christmas decorations were piled in another corner.
“Achoo!” sneezed Kerri.
“Achoo!” sneezed Jodi.
Kerri and Jodi stayed in the attic all morning. They played hide and seek, laughed at yearbook pictures of Jodi’s parents, and rummaged through dirty boxes. They found a trunk of 1960’s clothes. Kerri dressed up as Uncle Ed and Jodi put on her mother’s clothes. They stood in front of a large mirror and laughed at Kerri’s wide tie and Jodi’s tie-died bellbottom pants.
“Hey – look!” Kerri said. Reflected in the mirror, she saw a small blue box they had missed. It was tucked behind a larger box and tied with a faded pink ribbon. They raced for it, untied the ribbon, and peeked inside.
“Why would Grammy save this stuff?” Jodi asked as they pulled out a lime green skirt and a pink and green striped apron. The skirt’s hem was uneven, and the apron’s strings were sewn on backwards. “I wonder who made this stuff? Mommy sews really good and so did Grammy. This looks like something we’d make!” She made a funny face at Kerri.
“Let’s ask Aunt Cynthia,” said Kerri.
The cousins hopped down the attic stairs one step at a time. They jumped over Harley, one of their new orange kittens. “Hey, Aunt Cynthia, look what we found.” Jodi held out the box.
Aunt Cynthia looked up from the wedding dress she was finishing. “Let me see,” she said. Her mother took the box from her. She lifted out the skirt first and then the apron. She shook her head and laughed. “You found these in the attic?” When the girls nodded, she shook her head again. “I can’t believe your grandmother saved these.”
“Why? Who made them?” asked Kerri. “They’re really ugly.”
Aunt Cynthia burst out laughing. “I did, a long time ago,” she answered. She touched the twisted apron strings. She inspected the crooked hem on the lime green skirt. “I had no idea these were still around.”
Kerri and Jodi looked at the old skirt and apron. They looked at the stylish dresses and skirts hanging on racks around the sewing room and the wedding dress still in the sewing machine. “But everything you make is so pretty,” said Kerri. “Everybody wants you to make stuff for them. They even pay you.”
“I know, but I didn’t always sew like this. I had to start somewhere.”
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