I’m becoming one of those people. You know, the ones who talk about the olden days, back when this or that was the norm.
This is not to take anything away from the younger set, of which I was once a member. We do – as we should – go through different seasons in our lives, each one exposing us to new things and teaching us about the world and about ourselves. They are necessary seasons. I can value my own life experience from a my own time and still say “You go for it! I remember when we could only imagine all the things available to you now. Make new memories. Find your own place in the world!”
I don’t ever want to become the old lady who thinks the younger people don’t know anything, that they can’t teach me anything, and that because I’m a certain age, none of them can understand or give me helpful ideas about life. I’ve learned many things from my own adult children and from the changing world around me and I hope that I remain open so I don’t miss important lessons.
But please permit me this one observation: many things are just not made like they used to be. I think I can safely say that as a fact without it being just another random generational comparison looking through bifocal lenses from my comfy recliner.
I recently brought my first sewing machine upstairs from the closet where it has been stored nearly four years now; it was carefully packed in its case at the age of 35+ years and moved aside after I bought my new one with all the bells and whistles and a nice big 10″ throat at the start of my free motion quilting journey. I had no room or need for two machines set up all the time, so storing the old one was the obvious choice.
Earlier that day I had packed up my new machine to leave my house and spend time sewing with a group of ladies – an actual first for me! – and one of them brought an old machine along. I listened to it hum as she sewed and I found myself missing the way my old one sounded. When I got home, I felt compelled to take it out, oil it up, and stitch something on it.
Once the case came off, I was actually feeling nostalgic looking at it. I bought it when I was 13 years old, about 4 years after mom taught me how to sew my own clothes. Because mom had the top of the line Pfaff and I was used to sewing on that, I didn’t want to settle for anything less! My dad – a banker who taught us to work and pay for things we wanted outside the scope of basic needs – advised me to apply for a bank loan so I could start working on my credit rating (LOL) and because he knew that even if I saved for months, the price might go up and I wouldn’t catch up. He co-signed for me, I got my loan, and by working part time in a fabric store owned by my parents I paid off my loan early.
So for me this machine represents various practical and sentimental things and holds many memories. It still works, it still hums, and I love it. And they DON’T make them like they used to.
Sure, my new one is all computerized and does a ton of fancy things (many of which I don’t use or need but that 10″ throat got me…! LOL) and it’s a pretty color and all that. But it’s just not the same.
It’s nobody’s fault; things change, technology advances, manufacturing moves forward, parts get farmed out to keep prices down etc. etc. etc. Sometimes that makes things better, sometimes it doesn’t. And I guess it all depends on what you want the “thing” – whatever it is – to do for you.
Obviously, my new machine does a lot my old one doesn’t do. But it doesn’t hum along without vibrating, and it doesn’t have the same stitch quality, and it doesn’t have the power to move me back to my childhood and teen years of sewing all my own clothes and through my married life of sewing for my husband, my children, and my home, and into my first attempt at free motion quilting that opened up a new world to me.
So I’m going to find a place in my world for using this old friend of mine, even if it’s just going to become my take-along-when-I-leave-the-house-to-sew machine. Yes, it’s heavy. Yes there are lighter and smaller ones I could get for this purpose. Yes, maybe one day I will need to consider that if my arms and back get too sore from carrying it. But for today, in the present moment, I think it will work 🙂
Like me, it has a lot of years left in it to be productive! And if it could speak, I’m sure it would look at my new one and say something like “Hey there, you’re pretty nice looking and you do a lot of cool stuff and I remember in the olden days when we could only imagine all the features you have now! So you go girl, you shine, make new memories. I will always have my own place in time.”
Do you have an old machine that you love? I’d enjoy hearing about it in the comments below!