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Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 in Uncategorized

I remember my children, when they were in kindergarten, learning, and then singing endlessly, a song that included the words "All the colors that we know...live up in the raaainnnboooww"

It is raining a little today and that means that the bright yellow of the forsthia is absolutely dazzling against the new spring greens in the yard.

When I was a child, my best friend and I used to walk "downtown"...about 3 blocks...on Saturdays, clutching our allowance money, to Woolworth's. We always ended up buying paper dolls.  But again and again I found myself lingering by the sewing-materials department, where there was a large display of thread, all arranged by graduated colors. Coates & Clark, I think was the brand of thread.  Is it truly weird that a 10-year-old child was each week tempted to spend her entire (small) allowance on spools of thread, just so she could look at the colors?

I was puttering today in one of the guest rooms of my house, and happened on this pillow:

Poppy

Several years ago,  I went into a yarn shop and spent my allowance on a batch of crewel yarn in all shades of reds and oranges and pinks; then, using a postcard photo  of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting of a poppy, I created this pillow. It took a long time! But I remember the satsfaction of combining those wonderful colors:

Poppy detail

Poppy details 2

I think I made this at about the time I was writing "Gathering Blue" in which the main character, Kira, is doing the same kind of colorful needlework.

I am rarely in the sewing department of a store these days. (Is there such a department anymore?) But I still linger in towel departments, entranced by the gradations of color.  And if you turn me loose in a hardware store you will never find me by the screwdrivers or insecticides. No: I am always hanging out with the paint chips.

 

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Comments

Guest
ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

First, there were the bells. Three of them, cast from warped shovels, rakes, and hoes, cracked cauldrons, dulled ploughshares, one rusted stove, and, melted into each, a single golden coin. They were rough and black except along their silvery lips, where my mother's mallets had struck a million strokes. She was small enough to dance beneath them in the belfry. When she swung, her feet leapt from the polished wooden planks, so that when the mallet met the bell, it rang from the bell's crown to the tips of my mother's pointed toes….
My mother had a filthy nest of hair, knots of iron muscle in her arms, and, for me alone, a smile as warm as August's sun. by the time of my birth she had been living for some years in a small alpine hut adjacent to the church. No, that is inaccurate. My mother lived in the belfry. She came to the hut only when the belfry, exposed to the mountains' bitter weather, became too cold, or too full of snow, or when she had hunger of the cheese rinds and cold gruel the villagers left for her, or when the sumer lightning storms swept down the valley and struck our belfry--they often did, the bells ringing as if tolled by ghosts. Though she was filthy, and never washed herself her entire life, every week she scrubbed me from head to toe in the frigid water of the stream. She fed me from a wooden spoon until I was full to bursting. I did not then know of how other children played and laughed, how they pretended to be kings and soldiers, how they danced and sang song together. I wanted nothing more for my life. I wanted only to sit there, my four-year-old legs dangling over the edge of the belfry. To look at the mountains. to listen to the beauty of the bells.
--- THE BELLS, a novel by Richard Harvell.
Cheers!

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