Once Upon a Time… Part 1

Once Upon a Time… Part 1

Once upon a time, there was a girl, a guy and a sewing machine…

  The house I feel I “grew up in” is a wonderful old farmhouse that was one of the first built on the block in 1904. It is a lovely two-story Victorian with a huge avocado tree just outside my bedroom (I picked them from the window !).  My room had a nice sized walk-in closet, tall ceilings and lots of windows. In the center of the room, looking out front, there is a bay window housing a large window seat with lots of storage space. In the hallway there is a built-in set of drawers and cabinets that held a bazillion things, including a secret drawer :) I adored the house and it’s grounds. This property is in Southern California, where it’s warm year ’round. Out back, my Father built lovely walk-in aviaries housing a variety of button quail, bob whites, parakeets, finches and more. They were built along the back grapevine/hedge next to the barn. Assorted bird-raising paraphernalia were stored in the tack room of the barn. Neighborhood kids liked to visit and watch the birds.

  When I was in 4th and 5th grade, my best friends lived directly behind us. We accessed each others’ back door through a slim archway in the tangled wall of grapevines. At that time, the family’s 15 year old daughter was the designated seamstress in charge of curtains, clothing repairs and contributing to the wardrobe of a growing family with five children. This girl used an old Singer treadle sewing machine thickly layered in cream and gold paint. She was a good seamstress but the machine was in need of repairs. Her folks didn’t want to spend money on it and had promised to get her a newer machine when the old one was out of commission. One day, this girl brought home a foundling baby duck. It was an adorable little thing that followed us around and enjoyed the constant petting and cuddling. Her Dad was less than pleased and waiting for the novelty to wear off. It didn’t. We’re talking about little girls who had fun dressing this cooperative duck in doll clothes and giving it rides in a wagon. Duck was very content, girls were very amused and happy. Their Dad was not. The day came that Dad tried to put his foot down, stating all the reasons this critter had to go. The main argument was no one had the time or money to build it a cage and it was no longer welcome as a guest in the house. I’m not sure if he was more tired of down feathers in the bathtub or the fact that attempts at potty training were unsuccessful. In any case, the final declaration was, “if you can produce free housing for it by the time I get home from work, you can keep it”.  No problem. Duck-mother wanna-be came over to ask if we had any kind of caging that might work and would we take a trade ? (she definitely had something in mind)  The answer was Yes, and yes. She dashed home with a large cage my Dad gave her and returned pushing the Singer sewing machine. Yes, she really did :)

So that’s how I came to be the new owner of a wonderful Antique sewing machine. I was thrilled; her Dad was not. Down the road a bit later, that sweet little duck grew to be a massive Goose with a mean temper. He would escape from his housing and follow us as we walked to the Library or church. We didn’t realize he was behind us until we arrived, 3 blocks later and folks greeting us pointed it out. Guess who had to carry him home ? Me. Oh well, it was worth it.

shafferhouse Bay window at your left, next to avocado tree. Nice neighborhood with Lovely Maple tree lined streets !



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