Theme Thursday - Polka Dots
This week's theme was suggested by Siobhan. For more Theme Thursday posts, click here.
I offer this post with apologies in advance, in case I am repeating myself. It's just that when I saw "polka dots" there was one story that popped to the front of my mind, and I just had to tell it, because it haunts me. I loathe polka dots - with good reason.
I think I was eleven years old when it happened - or maybe ten. It was a turning point in my life, the moment when I saw a door close.
I was a good student, for the most part. I loved anything to do with words or music, and I could hold my own at math and science. There were only two classes that defeated me. One was physical education. I enjoyed exercise, but I lacked self-confidence, so team sports were (and are) torture to me - but that's another story.
My second nemesis was home economics. Anybody who has seen my house knows that I am still, shall we say, challenged in the matter of housekeeping, but at the age of ten(nish) I was completely hopeless. I remember my frustration with cooking class, where we had to measure and/or weigh every single ingredient for every single dish, which I found intensely boring. I would still rather ad lib in the kitchen, thank you. However, I muddled through.
Then came the second semester of home ec class, the half that still makes me tremble with fear. That was sewing. With a machine.
We made aprons. I have absolutely no idea what the apron I made looked like, which is strange, considering what happened in the course of its construction.
We laid out the fabric and applied the pattern, pinning it in place; then we cut out the pieces and assembled the aprons, using straight pins to hold the edges together. I went over to my assigned sewing machine and prepared to sew.
I was dressed that day in a circle skirt. You remember those, don't you? Some of them were decorated with poodles or monograms. Mine wasn't. Mine was a navy blue percale with white polka dots the size of quarters. I was very fond of that skirt. It was almost as pretty as the one Audrey Hepburn wore in Roman Holiday.
You know where this is going, don't you?
I placed the yet-to-be-sewn apron on the sewing machine's work surface, raised the foot, slipped the fabric under the needle, lowered the foot, and pressed on the foot pedal. The machine whirred, the needle went up and down, up and down, up and down with alarming rapidity, and I did my best to keep up. My panic was such that it didn't occur to me that I had any control over the speed with which the machine worked. I just laboured on like Lucy on the assembly line, losing ground with every scream of the motor - and it was screaming, because my pedal foot was in a state of rigour.
Meanwhile, it transpired, one of the straight pins with which I had joined the sections of the apron had become entangled in my beloved navy blue and white polka dot circle skirt. As I - or the demon machine - secured my apron's seam with thousands of tiny stitches, my skirt was drawn up into the maelstrom, and soon skirt and apron were inextricably joined, like Humpty Dumpty in reverse. All the king's horses...couldn't get skirt and apron apart again. My tearful attempts resulted in nasty little holes all over the front of my skirt. I don't know what happened to the apron, and I don't care.
Let's see. There must have been a bright side to the story. Oh, yes. The other girls in my class got a really good laugh out of it - and I learned bright and early that I would never be a seamstress. That saved me ever so much time, being able to wipe a career path off my list like that. To this day, though, I am intimidated by sewing machines, and whenever I make something (once in a while I decide that it can't have been that bad, and I try again) the item I produce looks as if it were made by a ten-year-old. And a search of my closet would not produce a single polka-dotted item.