And this is how our lives are summed up

This past summer my Dad died.  Over the past several months, his widow has been gently releasing some of his things to his kids, his friends, the world, the dump…. Yesterday I collected a few things from his place.  I had two boxes of stuff…old papers, photos and stuff from his junk drawers.  The photos were nice…but many I already have copies of so I will have to decide how they will be dispersed.  The old papers were a mix.  Phone numbers of people I don’t know, bills and receipts, and other such crap that headed out to the bin.  Licences. Birth Certificates. Social Insurance Number (a number you are assigned when you wish to start working in Canada and you have for life.) I kept that ID.  It is a classic hoarding sign but it feels like throwing him away if I throw out his vital statistics! Is this all we are once we are gone?  Does this sum us up?

There were cards and letters from family and friends…stuff that bored me silly-what was it about this stuff he felt the need to hang onto? There was stuff that added to the family tree, stuff that showed new perspectives on things that went on in my family or that I was only vaguely aware of because I was either too young or too uninterested. There was stuff that gave me insights to him and how he thought…. It was like an archaeological dig.  One that had me wondering what people might have concluded about him if this hoard was uncovered 200 years from now.  One thing I uncovered was his first steps into the art world.  3 days before I was born he mailed off an application for a distance drawing class. Dreaming even then. The reason he put on the application for applying was that he wanted to be well-known and to have a few nice things. There is a pile of assignments from that art class. I gave them to my son as he is into the art thing too. They would have been about the same age…both barely adults. I could be biased but my son is better now than my dad was then. Then again, my son had the advantage of going further in a school system that included art class.  My Dad went to school in a more archaic era and he didn’t even finish.  I believe he quit at 14 years old. Mr Victorian and I paid for our son to have one course in drawing.  We also could and did support him with art supplies when he was little.  My Dad’s parents couldn’t afford that. Dad really did improve a lot in University Fine Arts. The thing with archaeology and family history and stories is you don’t always have all the facts.  Someone else finding that pile would have thought he was a mediocre artist at best.  They might never know he improved over the years.  I will never know if he could have been great…life robbed him of his dream…or at least the time to pursue his dream. Life does that to a lot of us.  Sometimes it just changes our dream…

Enough of this maudlin stuff.  I did also come home with the one piece of furniture of his that I wanted…an old sewing machine that is similar to the one I used to have that was my grandmother’s (and that I was stupid enough to sell). It is possibly a Model 66 from 1918.  I think Grandma’s was older (1904-11). A neighbor lady let him have it-he didn’t sew so why he wanted it I’ll never know.  It is now in my new sewing room.

Update: a google search led me to this web site and with their handy dandy quiz I was able to date this current machine as a model 15 from the 1930’s and the one I sold as a model 27 dated 1906.  So as I thought…Grandma’s was older.  Instead of filling a void left by selling Grandma’s machine, this new machine has triggered a desire…an expensive desire…to collect these things!

photo 1

It seems to still work but will need a good tune up before I dare try sewing something with it. All I can see at this point is the presser foot does not drop all the way down when you work the lever.  I’m hoping a cleaning and oil job done by moi will be enough to get it to a usable state. (It came with a copy of the manual…not the original like Grandma had.)  I’d like to make one of my dresses on an antique machine.

The business end of this machine is similar to my Grandma’s…but hers had an Egyptian theme painted on it.  This one needs a cleaning but I have learned from Grandma’s machine that no harsh chemicals for that job…I rubbed off some of the paint on hers…I can’t believe how dumb I was as a teenager… using nail polish remover.  (I can hear the collective gasp of horror across cyber space!)

photo 2

Grandma’s had a few adapters as does this one.  A zigzagging one with original box and instructions.

photo 4

And I’m not exactly sure what this one does.

photo 3

It did come with the instructions so I’ll check that out once I get this puppy running properly.  Grandma’s had a ruffle maker that I’ve wished I still had!  I wonder if I can find one on eBay?

The wood could use some TLC as well…or at least a nice doily or three.

photo 5

I was going to hang these framed cabinet cards on the wall but I think I may have to get more frames and pick more cards to hang on the wall.  Some of these will stay right where they are.

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