About 5 years ago, I visited my Grandma in Wisconsin. She was 85 at the time and I was so excited to spend several days with her, because we all know Grandmas are special people!
We never lived in the same state as my Grandparents or extended family. Every summer, we would road-trip it from Colorado to Wisconsin on my Mother’s side and to Nebraska on my Father’s side with four kids in tow…there are never-ending road-trip stories, but we won’t get into that now.
Since we did not live close to my Grandparents, each trip was special and as an adult it’s even more cherished. I dig through photos, flip through countless albums, ask questions and hear so many fun stories (some more than once:)). This trip was special because it was the first time I was able to spend several days with only Grandma, without countless relatives around (though I do love them too!).
Engaged in my Grandma’s photos, I came across one specific photo of my Grandma as a very young child holding a white kitty cat. Both of her little arms were catching the belly of the kitty and the legs were flopping over. The cat looked as content as could be and my Grandma did too. I asked Grandma about the photo and she explained to me that cat was her favorite toy. She explained that she only had one toy besides the kitty, because kids just didn’t have toys back then. They played outside and created toys with sticks, leaves, pets or anything they could imagine up. This moment hit me hard. I immediately thought of the hundreds of toys kids have today and the thought, “Wow, how the world has changed where we live today.” Then of course I remembered all the fun times outside playing until dark, creating mud pies and climbing trees. We never had a “toy room” and it wasn’t until I started babysitting that this concept ever even crossed my mind.
This thought of having so much at such an early age does make me sad sometimes. I wonder if it takes away the imagination of creating your own toys out of things which aren’t handed to you. At the same time, there are so many wonderful games, books, educational toys and electronics that are certain to drive a child’s learning progression.
You will see as I continue to write these short stories, this is a battle I face in my head constantly. To me, it comes down to excessive consumerism.
And so, it took years to come up with a low impact way I could create without creating excess. The best way I can utilize my talent is to make sewing patterns to serve others. In which, people create their own clothes (or clothes for others) which will be more cherished than something purchased from the store. It’s a feeling of happiness to create and sew, which brings fulfillment, much more than buying something ready-made. It allows the imagination to flourish and gives a sense of accomplishment. When you have your favorite items (such as a little kitty cat), it makes you realize that maybe we don’t need all the rest.
Later, I came across a pile of papers which Grandma explained were here life stories. In her 70’s, she took a story-writing class and wrote down many of her important life stories. What an amazing idea to pass on to further generations! Her stories inspired me and over the past several years, I’ve thought maybe I should start some small stories of pivotal moments during my life and so, “Join Gina’s Journey” begins…