Courage at Twilight: 60 Year-old Lace

Arriving homing from work, I observed Mom ironing white linen handkerchiefs.  Not knowing people who use handkerchiefs, let alone iron handkerchiefs, I inquired.  She told me that when I was an infant in Brazil—(Dad was a post-graduate Fulbright law student at the University of São Paulo)—she would push me in the stroller down the noisy urban streets to the American consulate to retrieve their mail and to check out books from the consulate library.  On occasion, just for the fun of exploring, she would board the street car and ride it to the “fim da linha,” the end of the line, to see what there was to see.  Hearing of women who sewed lace, she rode to the fim da linha and walked to the little lace shop.  Beautiful hand-sewn lace lined shelves and graced tables.  With little money for nonessentials, she chose several thin white handkerchiefs into which were embroidered white vines and leaves and flowers.  Nearly 60 years later, she held them with care and ironed them free of their wrinkles.  Some of the stitching has come out, but still left are the needle holes and impression patters of where the lace used to be.  Beautiful things made by beautiful people so long ago at the end of the street car line.

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