You know time rushes up
on all living things
I have always tried to
look forward and not spend much time looking back.
So earlier in my life I
looked for a hobby that I could do well later into my years.
You see I was lucky.
Once in my life I really
needed a job.
I was 28 years old and
had only been sober for the last six months. I had been fired from my job for
I needed a job bad.
I had worked for a
different company over two years ago but it closed its doors and now was
reopening a new plant that would manufacture convertible tops and vinyl roofs
for the car industry. They said they would hire me back if I still needed a
job. God works in mysterious ways.
It was that job where I
was able to work my way up the ladder. After 20 years due to staying sober and
lots of hard work I was given the Maintenance Supervisor / Health & Safety
Coordinator job for plant.
It took 15 years to work
my way up to a Maintenance/Repair Person. It was the highest paying union job
the plant had.
They trained me how to
repair and maintain sewing machines.
At that time in my life,
I somehow knew that this would make a great hobby down the road
However, what I did not
know was what roads it would take me down.
This is the first story
about one of the many roads sewing machine repair has taken me down.
Enough about this old
manâ€™s past, as you know
I like to look forward!
Her name was Jane she lived close to me, just around the corner
and few blocks down the road. She had an old singer sewing machine that was
running slow. She ask if I could come to her house to look at it. Jane shared
with me that she was retired and needed some kind of hip or knee surgery and
lost her husband a year ago. Jane was unable to remove the machine from its
cabinet and bring it to one of the shops I use as a pick up and drop off
I get more money for a house call you know. I have to pack up my
tools and go for a drive I told her but many times the drive itself was worth
it. I love to get out of the house but this time it would be a short trip.
You see God never sends his children anywhere by mistake. You
never know where or what you will walk into when you are going into peopleâ€™s
On Jane's first visit I found her place to be a little ran down
but it was her landscape that I enjoy. Jane had taken four or five old wheel
barrels and made planters out of them and had them setting in her front yard I
loved that look. The house was somewhat clutter but clean. I had to return to
her house three different times, as more follow up on her machine was needed
the motor had need of a deep cleaning.
It was the fourth time I was called by Jane that God finally got
Jane had what I would call a small issue with her sewing machine
the bobbin case had popped out of her sewing machine and she was right in the
middle of a T-Shirt Quilt and Jane did not know how to reset the case back into
As I walked into the house this time, I notice a large pile of
rags setting off to one side of the entrance-way to the room where her sewing
machine was. The rags had many different colors but look to be clean and made
of what looked like cotton.
Never the less I got to work and re-set the bobbin case and Jane
and I talked about her machine. I showed Jane how to re-set the case and how to
keep it oil correctly.
Jane began once more to tell me of her surgery and how sewing
the T-Shirt Quilts helped her to pass the time and keep her mind off her
recovery time and from the loneliness from being shut in during the scary time
Some of the T-shirts Quilts were made in honor of love ones that
had died from the COVID-19
If you are not familiar with quilting one of the customs is to
take the clothing that was worn by your love ones that have passed away and
make a memorial quilt out of the fabric. Many times for men this is there
T-Shirts or flannel shirts.
This for me is a very loving way for anyone to retain their many
memories of their love one for years to come and a great gift to pass down
through the years.
Now what about the rags?
Well you see the last thing you do when you have completed the
cleaning and repairing of a sewing machine is to sew it off in other words make
sure it will sew properly. To do this you have to have material to sew test
strips. I am always looking for material to use because I do not sew. I have
never sewn a quilt or made a piece of clothing to wear however when it comes to
stitching and how a sewing machine works, I am the Sewing Machine Doctor.
Therefore, as I was packing up to leave I looked at that
knee-high pile of rags and began to think, I could possible use some of the
cloth for test strips. Jane told me that they were just rags now and she could
not find anyone who would take the old rags away. Jane said she was just not
able to pack up the shirt material into boxes and throw it away.
At the bottom of the pile under one end of it was a box that
Jane had folded and layer in the box the left over material from the T-Shirts.
She saw me looking at it and told me to take the box if I could, anything would
help. So I picked up the box and took it home to my work shop.
For the next few days, I pulled out some of the material and cut
it up into test strips that I could sew off the machinesâ€™ with. All the
material was clean and even smelled of fabric softener still.
I found that the strips did work OK for a sewing off, but I also
discovered that if I sewed layers of them into squares they made great cleaning
Cleaning the sewing machine as you are doing the repairs or
yearly general cleaning always make for a happy customer and a good-looking
machine to give back to the customer. These old rags still had uses.
As I set and sewed ahead several of cleaning pads I could not
stop thinking how just a box full of old rags that were once shirts that
someone wore. Shirts that had played a part of many a manâ€™s work life and home
life. Shirts that were worn when a picture would captured them in their
Some of these shirts were the very symbol of what they liked the
most in life.
Now are only old rags
I think not
I hope there spirit will know that as I clean and sew test
strips made out of the shirts
I will always remember that even our old rags have meaning and
can be useful after were gone.
The old rags helped a love one cope with your lost. The old rags
helped a person that lost her husband and was in physical pain to cope with
life even in the face of COVID-19
Yes, they even helped an old sewing machine technician remember
that what we leave behind keeps on helping people even after we are gone.
I am so thankful for this truth: God promises to bring
good from the storms of devastation in our lives.
reminds us in His word that there is great gain when we face painful times, as
difficult as it may be.
am ever so aware of this as well, it is never easy to live through.
Yes, if we are ever longing to keep growing in our life moving forward in the worse of time.
No, not ever.
Written By the Sewing
Told by Steven Williams Cooper