Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Working at Calico Corners

I had only had the job at Calico Corners for about a year. I was content there; well, I loved the fabrics. I bought them in quarter yard bits to use in my fibergraphics and the selection was mouthwatering.

But now I knew for sure that Pete and I were really
going to be divorced. He'd popped in at the store one day to tell
me, so I couldn't pretend that a marriage miracle would ever take

This meant a feverish rush of activity in all of the art
projects I was involved with. It also meant supplicating my teeny
income at Calico Corners with something else. Pete was giving me
alimony, but it didn't stretch all that far, even though, Lord knows,
I was grateful to have it.

One day when the pillow maker came by to deliver her latest
batch of custom pillows, I chatted with her awhile. She was a dear
soul: full, curly hair, blue eyes, a big smile, soft voice. Lee
Anne. She did beautiful work out of her home. We spoke for awhile
and she mentioned that she was going to learn to be a medical
technician and would be giving up the pillow job. 

I perked up. 

"Do you think you could teach me how to do them?" I asked and then added, "It would be fun to make pillow
cases and table cloths and to-the-floor tableskirts, too"  

"Yes." She said, "All of it!"

I was enthused. Like I said, I Ioved the fabric and I could learn to
sew pillow covers. How hard could it be?

We set up a meeting. The manager of the store was informed of
my desire to take over from Lee Anne and she said she'd give it a
try. So I went over to Lee Anne's house, not even that far from
where I lived, another good omen! 

She had a teeny bird in a cage and we spoke of the bird and his antics. 
Her house was nice, full of carpets and window treatments and throw pillows on all of the
furniture. She took me into her workroom, an extra bedroom that had
been converted to hold a huge work table, an industrial sewing
machine, piles of fabric, scraps of foam rubber and polyester batting
all around, and, against the wall, two or three bolts of really ugly
upholstery fabric. 

I glanced uneasily at those bolts, then went back
to paying attention to what Lee Anne was telling me about the
patterns she'd made for each size pillow and how you have to round
the corners so they don't have kitten ears when you put the covers on
the pillow. Lots of inside information. I asked her about the ugly
bolts against the wall. 

"Oh, yes. You can't account for everyone's taste, can you?" She sighed and grinned at me. "But they pay the same as the customers who pick the pretty fabric." 

She laughed. I didn't. I knew that dream was done for. No WAY could I work with
that hideous fabric, even if Calico sold it. No way.

So I didn't.

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