Crafts, Family, Family Matters

Occasional Quote of the Day: On Whining and Deafness

Two years ago this October, I had the very great pleasure of driving to Armagh, PA, a tiny little town in farming country about one-hundred miles East of us, in West-Central PA, where Mr. Right, my stepdaughter Jenny, our granddaughter and I had lunch at Griffith’s Tavern, a nice little diner of the “hot meatloaf sandwich with gravy out of a can” variety. Good comfort food, reasonably priced. Also, excellent beer. A great time was had by all.

Other than the chance to see and visit with each other, the purpose of the trip was the handing-over of the annual Halloween costume. I’ve been making my granddaughter’s Halloween costumes since she was two, and when I made the trip I’m describing, she was ten. Let’s see: Benjamin Bunny; a chicken; a butterfly; a peacock; an ‘underworld peacock,’ black and sparkly, probably the closest she will ever come to the ‘Goth’ look in her life; a mermaid; ‘Darth Vader, but a girl Darth Vader’—I think that’s all of them. All of them unique challenges. Almost all of them made with stretchy, spangly, slippery fabrics that those among us who sew will recognize as just the worst and most difficult stuff to sew, ever. Still, it’s been great fun, and the bag of scraps I’ve accumulated over the years has come in handy from one project to the next.

This particular year, our granddaughter was ten. A fifth grader. Old enough to be somewhat tuned into pop culture (or whatever it’s called these days). To be paying attention to the news. To go to the latest kid movies. And to surf the web.

What, I had wondered, would she pick for that year’s costume? And would she still be excited enough to announce as she always does to her friends, that “my Granny makes the best costumes?” Or would she have suddenly grown old and jaded, and would Granny’s efforts be cast aside, in favor of going shopping with her friends, and buying something to help her achieve that “Ariana Grande look,” or the skimpy Wonder Woman outfit, or the “Christine Blasey Ford.” Heaven help us.

I need not have worried. Her mother has raised her superbly and with the help of a number of original and rational adages. I’ve already told you one of my favorites, in a previous quote of the day post: “Into each life, some rain must fall, but not into ours. Our lives are where the garbage is delivered.” But there are more. From her earliest days, our granddaughter was brought up to believe that “It is better to do than to watch,” (bye-bye almost all television, till she was about seven years old), and “it is better to make than to buy,” (hello creativity and, among other things, the annual Halloween costume). Bless.

So, every year, towards the end of September, this sweet child sends me a drawing of her vision for Halloween. And I still have them all. Stick figures to start with, then figures with faces, then with feet and hands, drawings of loveliness, beauty, and dreams. With notes and arrows pointing to specific and important materials and features: “Sparkly.” “Shiny.” “Black gloves.” “Puffy.” “Stretchy.” “Feathers.” The interpretation and rendering of the vision and the dream is all up to me, so it’s off to raid my stash, and then to gather up a handful of coupons and fill in the gaps from the clearance tables at JoAnn Fabrics.

The drawing two years ago was of an elegant woman, tall and thin, wearing a little black dress, a big straw hat, elbow-length gloves and black pumps with a (very modest) little heel. Oh, and a pearl necklace.

My ten-year-old granddaughter wanted to be Audrey Hepburn for Halloween. Did I mention that her mother has raised her superbly?

I will confess that I was rather hoping for the My Fair Lady Ascot outfit (something to show off my sewing chops) but the drawing was so lovely and the vision so elegant, I couldn’t but be charmed. And so I embarked on the LBD. “It’s going to look like a T-shirt,” her mother worried. “I hope she doesn’t think it looks like a T-shirt.”

Granny resolved that it would not look like a T-shirt. So it did not. Not from the velveteen bodice to the bomabzine-ish skirt, to the floofy little rosette center-front, to the white lining. Not like a T-shirt at all.

She loved it! She had the shoes. She had the gloves (her mother’s). She had the necklace (her mother’s). She had the hat (her mother’s). It’s this hat, actually, and it’s very flattering, no matter whose head it’s on:

And here she is, Halloween, 2018:

Am I done?

Whoops, no. Quote of the Day, almost forgot.

There we were, sitting at the little diner, eating our hot meatloaf sandwich with gravy out of a can lunch (it’s was chilly outside), and our granddaughter started to tell a story about a little kid she knows. She got to the part of the story that went, “and he just whined and whined.” Then she stopped, assumed a knowing look, and said “I’m not allowed to whine.”

Her mother looked out the window.

“Oh,” I said, “why is that?”

“My Mom has never let me whine,” she said. “And even if I do, it never does any good. My Mom says ‘Whining is spray-on deafness for the rest of the universe.’

Her mother smiled.

Because it is. And it should be.


P.S.  Early word on the street is that “Cleopatra” is the leading candidate for 2020’s costume.  I don’t have the specs yet, but that would be exciting!

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