So this month’s question addressed fathers. What have we stitched for a father in our life, and have our fathers had any impact on our approach to stitching?
As for the first part of the question, over the years I stitched many things for my parents as a couple. Anniversary samplers, household samplers, etc. But I only stitched one thing specifically for my dad while he was alive. It was a wee little thing…a lighthouse with a saying about fathers not steering our ship but instead providing our guiding light. Maybe it was an old Gloria and Pat design? But it suited him well and I know he was touched. He hung it by his bedside where he could always see it. Dad liked to know that I stitched. I think he saw glimmers of his mother when I showed him my work, and that made him happy. What a sentimental guy he was…
The second thing I ever stitched exclusively for my dad was a Heart in Hand sampler. But it was after Dad was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and for one reason or another I just put it away unfinished. After my dad died, I decided to take it out and frame it with some of his photos. I think I’ll always wish that I had given it to him before he died. I guess that’s part of the thing about Alzheimer’s disease. All of the what if’s and if only’s…but we just have to make the best of it.
OK, so I don’t want to end on a sad note about my dad, because he was not a sad kind of guy. I’m happy that I see many things in my stitching personality that are SO SIMILAR to my dad’s personality. It’s also a little scary, but good scary.
Dad was a serious model railroader for most of his life, starting when he was a boy. And I can attribute every bit of my needlework collecting soul to my father. He was a collector’s collector. And he did many of the things that we needleworkers laugh at ourselves for. For instance, there was always some excuse for running into a hobby shop in any town. And when he retired, Dad went to work at the local hobby shop (how many of us would love to work in a needlework shop when we retire??), and that’s when the serious buying began. It was so serious that Dad would leave his boxes and bags in the car and then wait till my mom went to work before he snuck them into the house and down to the basement to H.O. Railroad Land. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of doing that….I know that my hand is up.
My dad had every conceivable modeling tool and gadget known to man. Little stuff, but big stuff too. Like spray paint hoods. Specialty drills. He even created some tools. And storage? Don’t get me started.
Here’s a picture of Dad at his railroad club. Will you look at that head set? Dad was large and in charge at his railroad club and had the whole hands-free thing going waaaaaay before bluetooth technology came to us mere mortals. Because when it comes to holiday train displays, the trains have to run on time, you know. And that requires constant communication with the guys working the control panel. And now you know why I’m so in love with needlework gadgetry. It’s genetic.
Whenever my dad came to one of our houses, he always, without fail brought some train cars to work on. Kind of like the way I never travel without my stitching bag? He’d come for the weekend, unload my mom’s stuff, then he’d plant himself on the porch or at any convenient table and while Mom and I would run around with the kids, Dad would work away to his heart’s content. This picture was taken when he was visiting my sister’s house, and I can’t quite tell what he’s working on, but isn’t it kind of funny that there’s a bag of M&M’s on the table? Only my favorite stitching snack! And his coffee mug.
And this is me at stitch camp last year. With my coffee. And the M&M’s may not be in the photo, but I had brought with me. They were there somewhere! (Hi Barb!) Jeez, do we ever look alike?
Dad especially enjoyed immersing himself in his hobby and he’d travel far and wide for a train event or show. Especially if they let him drive the train…(Will you look at that concentration on his face?) He loved talking with other people who shared his passion for any part of his hobby, and he was well respected when it came to his modeling ability. I love stitching related travel, and I’d love to command half of that respect when it comes to my stitching. And Dad shared his talents with his children and grandchildren. Each of my kids has a wonderful train set that my dad built for them and other types of models, too. Sailboats. Sailing ships. Airplanes. Cars.
Sometimes I wonder what other kinds of worlds would have opened up for my dad if he was alive right now. Is there a model train blogging community? Would he be a blogger? Oh My. Or would he be a message board kind of guy? Ah well. The Internet will never know.