I don’t remember ever being bored at the cabin. If we weren’t running around outside with our cousins, swimming at the river, or playing games with whoever was up for Yahtzee or gin rummy, there was plenty to do by ourselves. We could lose ourselves in game after game of solitaire, hike up or down the creek or embroider.
It was the 70s as I came into my teens and we embroidered everything from our cut-off jeans and denim jackets to pillowcases and dishtowels.
A long time ago, I foraged through the dresser drawers of my grandfather’s cabin, aka the big cabin looking for vintage towels. Instead, among several sets of long underwear, I found a couple of embroidered pillowcases, the handiwork of my aunt and her friends no doubt. I took one of the pillowcases home. The fabric has yellowed with age but I hardly notice because it is so precious.
Not too long after that foraging excursion, when my niece Lauren was maybe eight or nine-years old I taught her how to embroider and over the next few years she did a lot of it. One year for Christmas she gave me an embroidered dishtowel, which I’ve kept stashed away too afraid to use it. But this summer, I brought it to the cabin along with a few embroidered pillowcases I’ve bought at estate sales. There needs to be some kind of movement to revive the art of embroidery. In the meantime, I’ll hold on to the fantasy of Lauren one day teaching her own daughter how to embroider, sitting at the kitchen table at the cabin.