Sunday, 7 June 2009

A peek into Audrey's life

Do you ever feel that you are taking a clandestine peek into the life of someone you don't know, and who doesn't know you? When you pick up a book at the book fair, do you wonder about the person who wrote their name on the fly leaf? When you pick up a lovely little glass dish at the Vinnies, do you wonder what trinkets the previous owner kept therein?

I like to buy old patterns - knitting patterns and dressmaking patterns. I may never use them, but I like them. Lots of patterns have the owner's name scribbled on the front - maybe to ensure that loaned patterns would make their way home again. I've never really thought too much about it before.

But today, for a few dollars, I brought home a box of old dressmaking patterns from the charity stall at my local fruit and veg market. The seller told me that the previous owner was Audrey, a woman in her eighties who was clearing things out before her move to a retirement village. The seller wondered why I wanted the whole box of patterns. Was I going to sell them off? I could make a few dollars, she thought, by checking on the internet. No, I said, I just like old patterns. I'd take them home, I told her, and look through them with interest. Maybe I could use some, but mostly I just liked the look of them. Well, she said, she'd let Audrey know that they were going to a good home.

When I got home, I started to peek into Audrey's sewing life.

Did she make this dressing gown for her daughter?
Was that the same daughter for whom she had made these jammies, years previously?

And bikini pants? Undies or cozzie, I'm not sure.
I don't know much about Brian's top, but I'll take it out of its envelope and spread it out and see if it's for a boy or for a grown-up.
What about an American Beauty top??
Maybe that same recipient of Audrey's sewing skills grew up and wanted a cowgirl shirt instead.

Audrey drafted a newspaper pattern for Claudia's nightgown in 2000 - the year that The Canberra Times reported on the Buttercup workers' strike, and the last Ministerial function attended by Kate Carnell as Chief Minister.
Audrey scribbled the instructions for Rosemary's undervest on the back of an envelope, literally.
But my favourite of Audrey's patterns is this one. It's for a peg apron, and its the pattern from the apron Troy had bought her when a young lad.

I'm going to make this apron for myself. And I'll think of Audrey, and Troy, when I wear it.
Thank you, Audrey.


Hashi said...

How incredibly delightful.

How's your moving going? I walked on Thursday and Friday, and I'm going to steal 20 minutes from a very very busy day today to walk. I'm travelling for business this week (Pennsylvania!) so I'm going to have make it a priority to move.

Michelle said...

This is so sweet. YOU are so sweet, caring about Audrey's life! I admit that I get curious too, about people's lives, especially when I buy old Pyrex. I wonder about how many cups of tea were made in this old tea pot, and whether they got this coffee carafe for a wedding gift.

Can't wait to see the peg apron! Such a useful item as well!