Hello and happy Poetry Friday! Please visit Laura at Writing the World for Kids for Roundup.
I've written here before about the power of quilts, and how some of my favorite childhood memories involve the late-night hum of a sewing machine and day trips to the fabric store with my mother. I love the rainbowed walls, the pattern books that make even the most fancy dress accomplishable, so long as you follow the steps -- and the cutters, who always ask and what you're making and genuinely care about your answer.
I still love all those things, and more and more, I am aware of how sewing is both inspiring and unifying, and is an art form that needs to be preserved. And now, this poem from BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson:
the fabric store
- from BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
Some Fridays, we walk to downtown Greenville where
there are some clothing stores, some restaurants,
a motel and the five-and-dime store but
my grandmother won't take us
into any of those places anymore.
Even the five-and-dime, which isn't segregated now
but where a woman is paid, my grandmother says,
to follow colored people around in case they try to
steal something. We don't go into the restaurants
because they always seat us near the kitchen.
When we go downtown,
we go to the fabric store, where the white woman
knows my grandmother
from back in Andersons, asks,
How's Gunnar doing and your girls in New York?
she rolls fabric out for my grandmother
to rub between her fingers.
They discuss drape and nap and where to cinch
the waist on a skirt for a child.
At the fabric store, we are not Colored
or Negro. We are not thieves or shameful
or something to be hidden away.
At the fabric store, we're just people.