Recently I was telling a friend that despite the turmoil of the last eight years, I had not given up on dreams. She told me I must be strong and never stop dreaming. This dream seems almost impossible, but I will hold on to it a little while longer. I have long wanted to see Alaska, for a lot of reasons, but two in particular - 1) I knew that the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, who taught me all those years ago, once settled in Nome and on arrival were welcomed by the Sisters of Providence in Anchorage; 2) and, several years ago, while still doing medical transcription, one of my accounts was Providence Hospital in Anchorage. One of the staff physicians, a neurologist, had been educated at the University of Pennsylvania, and I loved the fact that she would expound on what she saw outside her window as she dictated, so the reports were often filled with accounts of moose sightings, and severe snow storms.
I was astounded by how different things seemed in Alaska, medically. Instead of people being driven to the hospital, it seemed that many went by boat, or were air-lifted. Also, the accidents were of a different type from those one finds in the suburbs of Philadelphia where fishing accidents seem rare, at least to the degree suffered by commercial fishermen. I was also saddened by the sheer number of people suffering severe depression from the extended darkness.
I guess we all experience episodes of extended darkness, even if not literally, times when there seems no way out of the dark, to find the light again. It is during these times that I am most grateful for my faith, which comforts me as little else can during troubling times. After faith come my friends, some of which I have known since very early grade school years, and some who are much newer in my life, but just as precious. All are beacons of light when the path is locked in darkness.
It is one of these newer but still cherished friends who encouraged me to dream a few weeks back. Several months ago I received notification about a cruise to Alaska, which will feature workshops for a sweet doll, Bleuette, and the rest of her family. Bleuette was offered in France, from 1905 to 1960. She started out being offered as a premium for subscriptions to a weekly magazine for little girls, La Semaine de Suzette. Before the first issue was ever sent, they ran out of the initial 20,000 dolls and needed to find more, quickly. I won’t delve into the many molds used for Bleuette and her various looks, at least not at this time, but since learning of her a few years ago, she has lodged firmly in my heart, in a place previously held solely by the Mary Hoyer dolls of my youth. I see many similarities in these dolls in that each had not only commercial clothing available, but also patterns for many more items, thus allowing little girls to learn important techniques that would help them when they established their our homes. Someday I hope to say that I have made all 1000+ patterns for Bleuette (another dream), but for now, I shall concentrate on being able to take the cruise to Alaska.
At this moment, it is possible that this dream might come true. It will require a lot of discipline - sewing when maybe I just don’t feel like it - but I know that I have the ability to make this happen, and with good friends supporting me in my dreams, they are more likely to become reality.
What do you do with a wedding gown from a failed marriage? Despite the outcome, there seems something awful in discarding it. The satin is too heavy to be used for anything else, and it lay unprotected for so many years, that I doubt it could ever be worn again, should a granddaughter ever desire so simple a style.
The photo above holds many treasures and remnants of dreams. The Madame Alexander doll is wearing the christening gown I made for my first child, a daughter, back in 1968. It is from a beautiful McCalls’ pattern and was supposed to be embroidered down the front with a tree of life design. Back in 1968 I was not doing embroidery, so instead, I cut the lace corners from my wedding hanky, and appliqued them onto the center panel of the gown. Directly opposite on the left is part of the bodice and sleeve of the above-mentioned wedding gown. The little bear was a gift from a son, and is a favorite. Her name is Guinevere. The scissors are treasured for close work. Pearls are essential to me, even more so than diamonds. The entwined hearts in two shades of purple are shown on one of the hankies I made for the girls in my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding party. What a joy an embroidery machine is but I do love hand embroidery. The tiny bits of pink by the tip of the scissors are earrings in the shape of roses. I believe the company which made them was 1928 or something to that effect. I also have a pair with smaller roses, and pearl drops below the roses. The doll in the center is a Mary Hoyer. All my childhood ones were lost in a hurricane. This is my one and only at present. The roses by the bear’s feet are in a small urn, and are just decoration. The quilt, while not one of my own, is still cherished. I love the colors and the pearls and embroidery on it.