The world is full of interesting people with stories to tell. This week I finally got around to taking my Singer 404 into the shop to have a cleaning and service. When I get a vintage machine, I don’t sew with it until it has been checked out as safe and functional. The fixer man had told me how to get the machine out of the cabinet, and this was an easy job, so off to the shop it went. A few days later, I got a call from the lady at the sewing machine/vacuum shop telling me that my machine was ready for pickup.
The shop owner is not there this week since he is traveling overseas to his son’s wedding, so they have an elderly lady friend filling in at the shop. When I was writing my check for the machine tune-up, I got to chatting with the lady. She told me that she had graduated from high school in the late 40’s with the highest grade in the school in home economics. Her school was in the Midwest, and in her town the Singer store had a reward for the girl who scored highest in that subject. The Singer company used to have stores that carried their machines, notions, and even fabric. I can remember one in the first mall built in my town back in the 60’s, but I don’t think there are any Singer storefronts left anywhere. Anyhow, the lady told me that the reward was to be a job in the Singer store for the summer. She had a happy time imagining how she would be so professional, selling sewing machines and fabric. When she showed up at the store after graduation, she saw that they had a big front window loaded with boxes and boxes of Featherweights surrounding a table with a Featherweight set up on it. She found out that her job was to sit in the store window sewing on the new machine all day. She was so disappointed, and bored with sewing all day. Plus, she told me, she was humiliated because the high school boys would walk by and knock on the window to tease her. I loved this story, a picture of the past, and it helped me see that nice lady as a young girl.
Today I noticed that they are having a sale at Joann’s, so I got some flannel for pajamas at 60% off. I love sewing on flannel, because it is so cooperative.