The Sound of Sewing


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The Sound of Sewing

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I moved back in with my parents right before lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic never imagining how long it would go on for. Since my mother is a teacher she was at home with my younger sister and me during the entire lockdown. My father still went to work because he works for a city and was part of the emergency response to the pandemic. I remember going to the grocery store with my sister and seeing the empty shelves unsure of when they would be restocked. I remember the panic of needing face masks and not being able to find any. That is when my mother decided she would make face masks for us, our extended family and to donate. She pulled out the sewing machine, which originally was for when my grandmother would come visit, and set it on the dining table. My grandmother used to sew all the time when she would visit us and make my sister and I dresses and even matching dresses for our dolls. It was always a sound I had associated with her. I helped my mother in ordering and looking up information on which materials were recommended by health officials, then she set to work, making hundreds of face masks.

Every morning I would wake up to the sound of the sewing machine and my first thought would be of my grandmother. As time went on I associated the sound with the pandemic, more specifically lockdown. My mother enjoys doing different craft projects and she really enjoyed making the face masks. It was a fun activity that I also enjoyed helping her with. She made face masks for my dad’s work which were donated to the fire and police departments. We also mailed masks to our extended family in New Mexico, California, and Mexico. We wore the masks ourselves if we had to go anywhere during lockdown. The sound of the sewing machine became a regular occurrence during those early weeks of quarantine. The sewing machine, especially the sound, used to only represent my grandmother making gifts for us. In Mexico, where my grandmother still lives, she used to have a small business making and selling clothing as a way to earn extra much needed money. It wasn’t just a hobby at that time, but a necessity for her and her family.

The sound of the sewing machine, became something I not only associated of my grandmother but of the beginning of quarantine and the importance of knowing certain basic skills. Knowing how to sew, and even being able to use a sewing machine, may seem like an unimportant skill nowadays, which was something I used to think. However, that skill helped my grandmother and decades later is still helping the rest of our family.

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This item was submitted on August 22, 2022 by Ana Santaella using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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