Yesterday, I took a pair of shoes to the cobbler for repair. Today, I mended a pair of trousers and took two typewriters to see if they could be fixed.
Mend, fix, repair.
The cobbler’s shop was over flowing with pairs of shoes needing work. And Gramercy Typewriter’s office was stacked with typewriters in their cases awaiting cleaning, tune-ups, new rollers and ribbons. I wonder if there are stacks of clothes in people’s closets just waiting for the sewing needle?
Abigail May Alcott felt strongly that women should be able to wield the tool of the needle. We finally are able to read the diary entries and letters of Alcott thanks to the new publication by Eve LaPlante, My Heart is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott Louisa’s Mother. Luckily, one can either listen to Abigail’s words on CD or read them in book form. Either format, the solid foreward thoughts of Alcott ring true. Here is an excerpt from “Fragments of Reports While Visitor to the Poor, 1849-1850.” She was constantly thinking of ways for women to earn an income.
I am desirous of suggesting also a sewing class to meet Wednesday afternoon. Our public schools overlook this part of the female education or they leave it wholly unprovided for. Many a girl can wield a pen or calculate a sum, who can do nothing with a needle , that little instrument, so important to a woman through her life, indeed almost the only tool vouchsafed to her, but which she can obtain a subsistence. The free and skillful use of that leads to habits of patient industry, to order and neatness. They might be taught to mend the garments and sew for the charity basket. Teach them to hem-gauge, hem, make buttonholes, and darn stockings.
Reading and writing are important to every human being but sewing is an indispensible art.
Text from My Heart is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott Louisa’s Mother, edited by Eve LaPlante, (Free Press, NY, 2012), p 173.