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Kwan’s Crafts began quite awhile ago. To me, it was just yesterday. But now I am a Grandmother so time has passed.
My Mom, and three friends, Jackie, Isabelle and Eloise first started this little enterprise in the 1960’s in the basement of our house. I don’t know who came up with the idea. I just remember when they would gather in the hobby room and I would hear endless hours of happy voices and laughter. Their big plan for success was to take dried flowers and other small objects and put them in to a resin mold. Once dried, the discs became mobiles that were hung in windows. Every window in our house were adorned with these mobiles. Whenever we would drive anywhere Mom had her scissors and old phone books read to clip and press anything she saw that she thought she might use. I still have found old phone books, underneath something heavy that would press and dry the flowers. They all felt they had hit the big league when a store in Aspen,Colorado began to sell their art. Now Mom could take frequent trips to Aspen to go visit The Tom Thumb Gallery, and see their artwork. Most of the time I would go along with these very enthusiastic ladies. Lunch, and shopping and checking in with the Tom Thumb became a regular routine.
I am not sure when this phase of Kwan’s drew this a close. I think everyone’s families were growing up and other interests came along. But in the 80’s I was starting my family and along came a new Kwan’s Crafts idea. I have always loved sewing and crafts. I even took a sewing machine with me to collage. In the 80’s appliqué was becoming very popular and with that and quilt designs I officially launched my version of Kwan’s. Mom was equally enthusiastic about this new version. My daughters never knew what it was like to wear just a “plain” shirt. If it did not have a design already, I would sew one on. This seeped out to many of their friend’s wardrobes as well. Mom and I and Tiffany and Suki were walking billboards, displaying my latest designs. Mom and the girls would now trek with me to all the Quilt and Fabric stores where I was hopeful to sell my wares. I don’t think I ever topped the enthusiasm that everyone got when the original Kwan’s was discovered by Aspen, Colorado. But I got in to a whole new world, one I never invisioned, the Internet, the Global Community.
4th of July weekend
The second holiday of the summer is now happening. When I was little that meant half the summer was officially gone. Bad news for those of us who loved this summer holiday. As my daughters were growing up it seemed the summer holiday kept getting shorter. Less time for families to plan their anticipated vacations.
Now at this phase of life, as a Grandmother, I am back to thinking it would be nice to have nice warm weather as long as possible. Not to avoid the thought of going back to school, but our bones, we feel better! The upside to getting older is we can take the time, enjoy the moments again. The downside, well, let’s just not think about our aches and pains.
The saddest thought of all, it came today, was, as I sat working on my Blog. The tv was on. I leave the volume off. It is mainly on the news – and we all can recite the news forecasts by heart. -More about mans inhumanity to man. In the 1950’s when I was still pretty young, I remember Dad telling me that after the World War II, peace would be established. That now after the horrible Nazi regime had been defeated we could relax and be partners with the rest of the world. Or at least co-exist. Well, those words,lasted only a few moments. The Korean War, Vietnam War etc etc kept happening. At first I thought these wars were just minor blips to that peaceful world Dad was talking about. I am now a Grandmother. My Granddaughter about the age I was when Dad first uttered those words to me. The world today is still battling it out over every imagined difference of opinion. I remember the Peter,Paul and Mary song, “Where have all the flowers gone,” – we know the answer in that song.
I think of all the different countries I reach on my computer. I think I have made contact with all the continents of this earth, most religions, all races. We all share the love of Art and its beauty. I am so amazed at the beauty I see, on a daily basis, from so many different cultures. If I were an international traveler I would I am sure be totally broke by now, living in a house stuffed with beautiful art from all over the planet. Now with Internet shopping we average shoppers can run that same risk. But I am older now, our family home is already stuffed. I am always tempted by what I see, but it is easier to pass things by. I even appreciate when I see all these wonderful items, just as a picture, not where I can buy it. It is like going to the museum of the good things in life and enjoying the scenery.
Watching the news on this 4th of July holiday, I seriously doubt the world that my Dad was hoping for, will be, at least in my lifetime. If only we could all be artists. Or at least see the world as an artist. As gentle and creative souls marveling at all the beauty that both nature,and that we, create. To see each culture for its beauty and its citizens as our friends. With the internet now creating a global community we should all take time to say hello to our fellow travelers from everywhere on this planet. Let us all share in our diversity and beauty. Not with bullets and hatred.
-From one very, very very small voice.
I was going to go sit on the patio after dinner. I walk out and realize the chairs are still in the sun and the heat is oppressive. I come inside the family room and look out on the patio. No direct sun and yes, air conditioning.
It has been such a difficult 24 hours. When will a new normal feel normal. Life is of constant change. We expect that. Growing up, becoming educated, trying to find a purpose and a career, marriage, children. We step in to each of these stages with enthusiasm and to be honest, equal trepidation. But the flow seems so natural, comforting and nurturing as it gently pulls us along. I remember when my Great Grandmother Johnson died. We had gone to visit her. I had never known her in any other way but as a very frail, elderly lady- with twinkly blue eyes and gorgeous loving smile. She would reach out and hold on to each of her great grandchildren. Hugging us so firmly for such a small body.
Now I think back at my own Grandmother at that time. Perhaps in her late 40’s early 50’s. I thought she was older but not old old. My Mom was in her 30’s. She was the adult/parent class. I would watch my Grandmother gradually get older and frailer as my Great Grandmother had. But I was sheltered by youth and could not feel what this process was all about for either my grandmother nor my mother. I never thought the process would happen to my vibrant, beautiful Mother. As I grew older and she grew older we would laugh and chatter just like we always had. Full of ideas, dreams and enthusiasm. She took a fall on a snowy icy day and from then on we both entered that elderly, aging process. That was about 15 years ago. Mom had always been healthy, full of energy person. I could never let myself see that she was in the same process that I had seen my Great Grandmother and Grandmother go through. I am sure if I just kept thinking of her as she was she would remain as she was. And, to a large extent she was. Especially mentally. In each other eyes I was the silly young woman and she the adult woman inquisitively looking at life. We never stopped to think that our bodies, our bones would grow more fragile and often were filled with pain. After her fall Mom had to go to the Nursing facility for a time to aid in her healing. It was meant for healing, but it was a horrid place. Sadness and sorrow was everywhere. The staff presented some sunshine, but it did not seem real. She could never walk unaided again. Fears of falling were always on both of our minds. I am sure we went through every emotion fighting with AGE to stay away and leave us alone. The most effective process was simple denial. If you don’t think something is true then it can’t be, right? Mom went through her 80’s keeping inspired about our next adventure with my kids and our crafts. I the silly daughter and Mom the wise adult. But definitely not old- never.
And there we stayed for many, many years. My daughters would grow into young women and mothers. But Mom stayed in that same place that did not, could not age. Denial is strong. We were not about to let that thought get remotely close to us. It worked too. We became more careful of Moms body and movements. It was tethered to her ever young self. Full of enthusiasm and spirit. We knew we had to accept that the body may get weaker and need more care. But never did we let the old age thought in to our reality. Great Grandmother Johnson was old and even Nana became older, but not Mom. We kept that door firmly shut and locked!
We all know in our inner most selves we become, we grow and we return. Our molecules are programmed, imprinted with the process. We read it in literature and see it in movies and in our own realities. But until someone who is so close to our heart walks this journey do we really feel it. I could feel her anguish, anger, frustration as she drew closer. The denial door stayed locked. But as with all of life that firmly held door was just an illusion- as is all life. Our words and thoughts would deny its presence, but it still came and got closer and closer. I wanted to make it go away for both me and Mom. If I held her long enough, if we laughed enough, dreamed enough it would be ok. One of the last memories I had of Mom was the two of us sitting on the couch watching movies. Winter was all around us. Mom was always needing to be bundled up a bit more to keep away the cold. When I would sit next to her I would sit as I had when I was a girl next to her. My feet curled up on the sofa too. Mom would become as concerned about my feet getting cold as her own. She would take blankets we kept for her and wrap them tenderly around my feet. She would say I must always remember to keep my feet warm. I felt the tenderness of the young mother with her child, totally wrapped in love.
Sent from my iPad
bless him for this;
when I was 5 or 6
he read to me at night
before I went to bed.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s
is the story I remember best.
It took my father
many nights to read to me
that whole book.
I’d lay curled up
on his lap
while his gentle voice
took me away
with the story.
So loving of him,
to come home
tired from work
and read his little child
the story of a child
kidnapped away from childhood