She was my best friend in the whole world for years and years.
Gail’s house wasn’t like my house.
Her mom was always home. My mom worked.
Gail’s kitchen table always had butter on it in a pretty dish. We used margarine in a tub.
Gail had 2 sisters, one older, one younger. When we met, I just had an older brother.
Gail’s mom was crafty. My mom wasn’t.
I used to wonder at the odd things in Gail’s house. Not just the old fashion rug beaters her mom would hang on the wall, but the tree branches that came out at Easter that had coloured hollow egg shells hanging from it and the giant pine tree that would appear in their living room every December.
Gail was Christian. We were Jewish.
But the thing that always fascinated me, was how Gail’s mom sewed. I don’t remember if she actually made all of her girls’ clothes, or if she just sewed some things, but her sewing machine was always busy. And always nearby was her pin cushion. It was shaped like a tomato and the strawberry looking thing hanging off it was crunchy when I would pinch it with my fingers.
I never asked what that squishy thing was for, just accepted that it was part of this odd object that people used to hold their pins when they sewed. And I used to sit and play with the pins and crunch the strawberry while sitting at their kitchen table chatting with Gail.
I have never forgotten Gail or her mom or her house or that pin cushion.
In many ways I am more like Gail’s mom than mine. I am mostly a housewife with some freelance thrown in. I knit. I cook. I bake.
And now I know that the squishy crunchy strawberry on the pin cushion is for sharpening pins.
Because I own a tomato shaped pin cushion all my own. Just like I always wanted.