Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some People Are Too Good

When I was ten and a totally awkward misfit and my mother was pregnant, and we'd barely been in America a year and everything was completely crazy, I met this wonderful woman at our local farmers' market.  She wove scarves and spun the most beautiful yarn, and there was this smell about her silk dyes - I'd spend most of every Saturday morning burying my face in her gorgeous weavings and talking to her.  She taught me to spin, and then she taught me to weave.  I went to her studio all the time and sat at her enormous loom, and I learned to weave simple patterns.  She lent me a small loom that sat in our dining room for a while, and I loved it, oh, so much.  I haven't thought about that for months at least, but I realize just how much she looked after me now.  When I got into something when I was little, I would become obsessive - the Tudors, weaving, reading, cooking... those two stuck for good.  And I'd sit at this loom for hours, and bring her my work, and she was the most wonderful person in my life.  Her scarves and other things are absolutely the most beautiful things in the world (and certainly some of the best craft on the Maine coast), and you can find them here.  She also teaches for the Haystack art school, which is very well-known and respected on the Maine coast, and she's a fantastic artist.

I've seen her since then, at farmers' markets and fairs, but not much at all.  She sent me a gift when I got into the National Spelling Bee.  She sent me a graduation present when I got through with eighth grade.  And I love her, enormously.  She still sees my mother, because she sells her granola in some of the same places.  But I was really surprised when one of the dorm staff told me I had a package a moment ago, because I hadn't ordered anything and my parents wouldn't be sending me food three days before Thanksgiving break.  It was a birthday present from her.  There was a card, and she made me a cushion.  It's beautiful, purple and blue with a wide ribbon sewn onto it with cakes - kitschy without being overly so - and she still knows me so well... there was also a jar of jam, and a bar of chocolate.  As I said, she knows me.  Today was terrible for me - I'm really confused about a lot of things and people here, and I'm stressing about midterm exams, and I was so tired - and I nearly cried when I saw the inside of this box.  If there are people like that in the world, who, after six years, will go and find your address and make you a package for your sixteenth birthday, then there's some hope for us as a race, isn't there?  I need to go and write to her now, and then study more than bears thinking about, but I am going to sleep with that cushion tonight and I will think of her and people like her and try to be more like them. 

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