I have been thinking a lot lately about my mom and the kind of woman she was and the legacy she left. My mom was a seamstress, one of the best, there was always someone coming and going from our house that she sewed for. After she was done with the piece she was creating, she would carefully fold the scraps and put them in the bag for the customer.
Nine times out of 10 the customer would tell her, I don’t want these scraps, what am I supposed to do with them, you keep them Mrs. Testerman. I am now going to tell you all what she did with those scraps.
If there is anyone who reads this that my mother sewed for in the 1970’s and 80’s, you might be astonished, or you might think yup, that sounds like her.
She would take the scraps and make quilt tops; she would work all year long on these things. This was the time of polyester, and colorfulness, so the quilt tops were very colorful. One weekend in November I came upon her and my dad putting all of these quilt tops in the car. I asked what they were doing, my mom seemed embarrassed, my dad said they were taking them to Mother Tucker.
I didn’t know who that was, so of course I pressed the issue, my mother then told me that Mother Tucker ran a homeless shelter for men in Tulsa. You see back then it wasn’t families that were homeless, it was primarily men, mostly Vietnam Veterans that were having a hard time fitting back into society.
I asked my mom why quilt tops and not a whole quilt, she said that the polyester material was thick enough to keep someone warm and thin enough that the person could fold it up and easily carry it with them during the day. She said the colorfulness reminded her of Jacob’s coat of many colors, it made her feel good think of someone wrapped in something pretty in such a bleak circumstance.
I wonder if there is anyone out there that remembers Mother Tucker and the things she did in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I wonder if there is anyone out there that was the recipient of one of my mothers’ quilt tops, if they felt the love she sewed into every stitch.
You see she remembered the hard times of the depression and the many times that families went without. Her heart was with these men and the struggles they faced, she knew struggle and she knew hard times, she wanted to ease someone else’s struggle. I do believe she did, more than she ever knew, she eased my struggle in life, her memory and her life lessons continue to ease my struggle on a daily basis.
If you are reading this and you were one of her customers, or maybe your parents were her customers, please know that your scraps went to good use.