Friday, October 26, 2007

Flashback Friday - 1980

(You may have read this story already as I originally posted this on 6/26/06. I've been battling a cold for the past week and as of right now the cold is winning. So I'm recycling stories - if columnists can do it so can I.)

Before I begin this week's Flashback Friday, remember the fingerless gloves from last week's post? Well, Kasizzle wasn't joking when she said she still had hers - she has a photo on her blog to prove it - check it out!

A few weeks ago my son celebrated a birthday. I'm not sure how it happened but we were celebrating his 4th birthday and I turned around and it we were celebrating his 31st birthday.

The year he turned four was the year he received a three-foot tall stuffed Bugs Bunny toy, lovingly made by his mama.

I originally got the idea when a co-worker was selling the big stuffed rabbit for $25. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was ordering one from her. At the time it was a bit of a novelty! After all, this was 1980. It wasn't like you could run to a specialty store in a mall or order anything you heart desires online.

Well, $25 was out of this single mama's budget but I was sure I could make it myself - and for less money! I mean, how hard could it be to make a 42" stuffed rabbit?

I found the pattern at the local fabric store, but no appropriate fabric.

I ended up locating the perfect color fabric at a J.C. Penney store in their fabric department (back when you could purchase fabric in department stores) - a grey velour. Shiny on one side, textured on the other with a slight stretch to it. Not at all what the pattern called for, but I was a single mom on a limited budget and I sure as heck couldn't afford faux fur! I worked on the rabbit every night after the kids went to bed and was so excited to give him to my son as a birthday gift.

He was thrilled with Bugs! But there was a problem. His older sister (by only a year) wanted one too, along with all of the neighborhood kids, and he wasn't about to share.

So being the good mom that I was, I promised to make her one for her next birthday. But she didn't want Bugs- she wanted Sylvester. Even better (I hate making the same thing more than one time). Back to J. C. Penney to purchase black and white velour along with red felt for Sylvester's nose. I cut out the pattern pieces, pinned them onto the fabric, and rolled the fabric up and put it away. Cutting and sewing would have to wait for another day.

That darn Bugs was so time consuming that I just couldn't bring myself to pull out the pattern and work on Sylvester! I dreaded the thought and "another day" turned into another, and another, and another...(oh how I wish I could go backwards and redo the times I thought other things were more important!) until all of a sudden it was 25 years later!
This pattern along with the fabric - with the pattern pieces still pinned to it - moved with me I can't tell you how many times! (Okay, if I really think hard, it was 11 times, but I may be forgetting a move or two.) For some reason I just couldn't bear to throw it out even though I still didn't want to sew it.

By now, the undone Sylvester had become a family legend and a joke, and Bugs eventually was so bedraggled he was tossed out. However, no one knew that I still had the pattern and fabric buried in my sewing room just waiting to be sewn.

The year my daughter turned 30 I knew it was time to finish the project begun a mere 25 years earlier. Along with her other gifts that year she finally got her Sylvester.

Turns out the big stuffed cat was quite easy to make, but then again I had another 25 years of sewing experience under my belt. I was able to sew him up in two nights and then hide him away in anticipation of the big day.

We threw a surprise 30th party for her and after all her gifts had been opened we told her to close her eyes. I went to get the surprise and one of her aunts teased "maybe it's a man!" As I walked into the room with Sylvester, her grandpa teased "oooh, it is a man! and he's really handsome!" She then opened her eyes to see her request as a five-year-old sitting in front of her.

To see the grin on her face - well that's a gift I'll always treasure.
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  1. I must have missed this one the first time around. What a sweet story!


  3. This story brought tears to my eyes. I remember sewing a big crazy doll that you strapped to your feet to dance with, at about the same era as your Bugs. My boys loved it. It got worn and eventually I threw it out. Darn. I don't even have photos of it.

  4. marty5:46 PM

    What a precious memory for you. I missed the story the first time around so it was nice to read. Bet your DD was thrilled with her Sylvester. At least now you don't have to make them for the neighborhood children. LOL! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

  5. Oh my gosh Sharon I LOVED this story! Loved it!

    I concur with Shorty, by the way. You. Are. Awesome!

    (can I have one too? or are you still busy working on my pink jacket?) xoxo

  6. That is such a sweet story and now I feel guilty I have a surfboard with hang ten feet all cut out and ready to be sewed that I was making for my then Boyfriend we have been married 22 years so I know he didn't hold out the ring because of the surfboard. He doesn't have long hair and doesn't surf any more I still think I should pull it out. Thank you for the story and I loved the 80's :)

  7. What a sweet story - that brought tears to my eyes. You're such an awesome mom!!!



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