Thirty Three Face Masks

Twenty-three masks just needing their pleats.

I was young enough not to comprehend how old my grandmother was when she retired (she was in her seventies).  Actually I didn’t even understand the meaning of retirement.

But I do remember that she walked from our house (she lived upstairs from us) to the bus stop, about a half-hour away and took the bus into New York City, where she worked in a sewing factory.

I just finished eating dinner and I’m tired.  I spent the day making facemasks.  My neck aches, my brain is numb and I can hardly keep my eyes open.

So I’m thinking about my grandmother, who sewed in a factory for much of her life after coming to America from Sicily in the early 1920’s.   And then when she got older and moved out to Long Island from Brooklyn how it added a two-hour commute to her workday.

I walked thirty feet from the back door to my studio which is a space I love to be in. I control the temperature and listen on my iPhone to whatever I feel like while I work.  In between sewing,  I came in and made lunch when I was hungry, took a walk in the woods after spending some time brushing the donkeys this afternoon, and took a quick drive into town to get a bottle of wine for dinner.

If I had to sit as my grandmother did, day after day, year after year,  at a sewing machine in a factory, I don’t think I’d survive.

I imagine she was grateful to have a job. But I don’t really know how she felt about it.  We didn’t have the kind of relationship where we talked to each other.  I do know that when I think of the photos I’ve seen of the sewing factories in NYC I fall in love with my life all over again.

I know I that could easily have been my life if I were born at a different time or in a different place.

I finished making ten masks today and have twenty-three more that are almost done. Unless  I miscounted, which is very possible, they’re all spoken for.  I’ll put the final pleats in them tomorrow then get them in the mail.

Next week, if I get requests for more faces masks, I’ll gladly to make more.

14 thoughts on “Thirty Three Face Masks

  1. It really is amazing how “good” we have it when we really think about it. I can’t imagine even driving in Toronto’s rush hours anymore, which actually exist pretty much 24/7 (pre-Pandemic). I sure feel blessed not to have to be out there.

  2. I’m making masks too, Maria! But anyway, not to rain on your mask making parade and the beautiful life that you have (which also is parallel to mine, he,he,he) but as I have told you before, we have the same mothers and now grandmothers. My grandmother (who passed on in 2004) was the typical wife and mother who did everything including sewing. We only spoke when we had to but she did make us underwear as Xmas gifts which I appreciated but as I got older it always irked me as to why she never taught me and my sisters and my other cousins how to sew and cook family recipes (asking her to teach us was not an option; it just wasn’t done!). As a teenager I had friends whose mothers and grandmothers gathered the younger generation to teach them things like that. But not my mother or grandmother and that has always been a big disappointment. I’m always grateful for those sewing classes at middle school because by that time my mom or grandmother had no patience to help or offer guidance. Other people offered, taking the time to actually show and teach me. Anyway, like you, I’m glad I have the life I have so I can really enjoy sewing in between my other passions and hobbies. Take care and thanks again for another great story. Lamar in Texas

    1. Wow making underwear Lamar! That’s impressive. I’m glad you got to learn to sew even if it wasn’t from your mother and grandmother. I actually learned in school too. Happy mask making!

    1. Hi Veronica, I’ll be happy to make you a mask or two. And I’m not selling them but if you’d like you can make a small donation to the army of good. I’ll put you on my list for next week.

  3. I would love one of your face masks. I could be a walking ad for a wonderful artist in upstate New York.
    I love the floral and the mosaic, but your next batch might be different so let me know how much they are and I will happily send you a check..

    1. Great Jane. I’ll make more next week and send one out to you. If you want you can send a small donation to the army of good, but it’s not necessary.

  4. Maria-
    How does one buy a facemask from you? Send a check? Here in VT we still wear masks. Well most of us do.

    1. Marcia, just send me your address and I send you one or two. If you want you can send a donation for the Army of Good but it’s not necessary.

  5. Maria-I was planning on sending Jon a check for the refugees/Mansion, so I’ll put some extra in for the masks and include a note for you with my address. Many thanks!

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