The Lie and the Gift

As I have shared in the past, my husband and I met through the mail. We found writing letters to be of great value in getting to know one another before we actually met in person. I must confess, however, sometimes one says things in letters they might not say in person. In our case, when I re-read those letters (and I did save every one of them), I am able to pick out areas where we both – perhaps to impress the other – exaggerated the truth a bit.

Wayne shared a rather impressive list of hobbies and interests in one of his first letters to me. Now that we are very well acquainted (married for 44 years), other than marble collecting, fishing, playing guitar, and keeping aquariums, I haven’t seen him pursue most of those things on his lengthy list with any degree of relish. Likewise, in trying to create an equally impressive list, I may have exaggerated a thing or two (or five) in my response with my own hobby and interest list.

I think I said I really liked playing volleyball and may have made myself out to be a more impressive player than I actually am. I recall seeing “fishing” on Wayne’s written list, and trying to find SOMETHING in common, I told him I loved to go fishing. Well, the truth is, I could count the number of times I had been fishing on one hand and have a finger or two left. I had indeed gone fishing with my dad a few times, and I did love that. Truth be told, I probably loved the time with my dad (and the snacks he brought) more than the sitting in the boat and fishing part. That exaggeration was probably quite evident when, on one of our first dates, Wayne took me fishing and I couldn’t bait my own hook. I am happy to say that I did catch the biggest fish and that I would still go fishing with him today if he wanted to take me along.

1973 – Cindie’s Big Fish

On my not-so-long-as-his list of hobbies, I also said I loved to sew. In this statement, I greatly exaggerated the truth. I was a high school sophomore, and the truth was, I had only sewn in two of my classes: ‘Home Economics’ in middle school (a poncho with big sunflowers on it) and ‘Textile Arts’ in high school (a bathrobe with a hidden zipper). I did enjoy sewing and earned good grades on my projects, but sewing had not actually risen to the level of a hobby yet.

Fast forward to our dating days.

One day, Wayne complimented me on a pretty floral blouse I was wearing. I loved the blouse, but didn’t care for the buttons, so told him I had replaced the buttons with ones that looked like little flowers. Wayne thought I made the blouse myself. I didn’t say I had sewn it, but I also avoided saying that I didn’t. Before I knew it, Wayne told his mom that I made the blouse myself and, much to my shame, I didn’t stop him. My blushing silence on the matter wasn’t even an exaggeration of the truth – it was an outright lie.

I’m ashamed to say that I never came clean on that misunderstanding. It would have been easy to do if I had corrected him right off the bat, but got harder to do as time wore on. So, I stopped wearing the favorite blouse so the lie would just go away.

Fast forward a few more years.

It was September 18th on the occasion of my 19th birthday. Having just been married in July, it was my first birthday celebrated as Mrs. Winquist. My husband’s birthday surprise for me was my very own sewing machine. I could tell by the joy in his eyes that he knew he had purchased the perfect gift for his seamstress of a wife.

A seamstress I wasn’t…but he didn’t know that. I loved the gift, so happily went shopping for a pattern and some pretty material. In retrospect, I should have also picked up a seam ripper, because I would be doing plenty of that in the days ahead. Not knowing much about sewing, I unwittingly chose the hardest pattern I could possibly find. It was a Marlo Thomas dress pattern with a hidden side zipper, a 6-gored skirt, and lots of darts. I wish I had a photo of the pink dress with little flowers – it actually didn’t turn out too bad. I do have a little bit of the fabric left in my sewing stash just waiting for the perfect project.

I can now honestly say, I did indeed learn to sew. Many garments, curtains, costumes, baby quilts and Christmas stockings later, I still have that same Sears Kenmore sewing machine and have been happily sewing ever since. During this time of COVID-19 “stay at home” orders, I have been challenging myself to learn how to insert zippers, so decided to get some practice by choosing Pinterest-inspired projects that would help me with that skill. My little machine has been humming away as I create book/music bags for my grandchildren.

My vintage Kenmore and a book bag in progress for granddaughter #3

My next COVID-19 sewing challenge will be to try my hand at a quilting technique called “string quilting.”

Stay tuned…

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