There are only a few items that my Grandma Ake left behind. She did not have much that was worth anything significant. Working class poor people rarely have items that can be passed down to children and grandchildren. When her mother died, my mom had some serious problems. These problems went on for years. She finally realized that she would need to get rid of all things that reminded her of her mom. Looking back, it sounds pretty ridiculous but I guess the idea was "out of sight, out of mind". She gave her mother's sewing machine - a 1920's Singer brand treadle machine to Aunt LaQuata (yeah, names in that family were pretty crazy)! Surprisingly the red ladder was allowed to stay in our house.
That is me in front of the machine. That is the ladder too!
When I was 17, the summer after I graduated from high school, my mom, her sister Doris, and I went on a trip to Chattanooga to visit family. While there, I asked Aunt Quatzey (LaQuata's nickname) for the machine. She was battling Cancer at the time and I wanted my wishes known before a time came that she was gone. She promised that upon her death, I would get my grandma's Singer.
When I moved out of my mother's house, the ladder came to live with me. I painted it blue and it still resides in my house. However, I still did not have the Singer.
Aunt Quatzey moved in with Aunt Hazel who helped to take care of her as her Cancer progressed. Aunt Hazel claimed the machine as her own when her sister died. My mom would not ask for the machine. She was not comfortable asking for it after they had it for so very long.
Flash forward to 2005, my mom and I went to Chattanooga for my Aunt Matt's funeral. Aunt Matt is on the other side of my mom's family, however, while we were there, we attended a birthday party at Aunt Hazel's house. While riding to Hazel's house in my cousin Charlie's car, I reminded my mom that I wanted her to ask about the machine. I did not want to take it out of her house, but I really wanted it when she passed away.
We're at the house and Charlie pipes up with "Hey Hazel! Shirley needs to talk to you!" Well, mom stammers a bit before he says "Shirley's daughter wants her mother's sewing machine!" Hazel insisted that I take it right now so that she would know I was enjoying it. Before we left for home, Mom and I got it wrestled into her minivan which we thankfully had the middle seat removed.
The machine now lovingly resides in my living room where every time I see it, I think of my Grandma. She may not have had much to leave behind but she did leave me with something I love!
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