Julia M.L.Whitehead has used writing as life’s therapy ever since she popped her first pimple and didn’t make cuts for the junior high cheer squad. She joined journalism instead! High school English from a poetry pusher helped sprout a hobby that still sees the occasional blossom. With college came a degree in ELED and a love for children’s literature, which has broadened and deepened over ten years of raising four kids on weekly story time. Besides visiting the local library, she enjoys light mountain biking, singing in the ward choir, and foot rubs from her husband. She thanks Segullah for the encouragement to keep her brain in writer’s mode.
“An understanding of our history inspires us to be the women of God we need to be.”1 Sister Beck’s words from the January 2011 visiting teaching message seeped into my thoughts and stayed long after I had shared them. I wondered how studying the lives of righteous women before me could help me improve as a thirty-something mom of four in the year 2011.
A desire to discover led me to some papers given to me by my grandmother several years earlier. They had been skimmed over and tucked away somewhere behind the demands of housework, homework, cub scouts, and piano practice. Today, they possessed an unavoidable draw.
I wanted to connect with a time when people worked on the land rather than walking on treadmills, and when media screens didn’t prevail in the battle of literature versus lights. Prioritizing my task list would hopefully be easier with some wisdom from a much less distracted generation.
As I reviewed the documents, a seemingly mundane tidbit from the life of my grandmother, Villiemine Deem Larkin, caught me. “She patched Pa’s gloves.”
I’ve often heard recited the pioneer adage “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” and consider myself a woman of thrift, to a certain extent. I recycle; I love hand-me-down clothes, and have even clipped a coupon or two. But when my daughter came home with holes in the fingertips of her snow gloves, I was ready to drive all over town hoping to find some replacements (on clearance, of course) rather than break out the needle and thread for this pesky repair job.
My pile of mending grows weekly at my house, and doesn’t go away. I tackle it periodically and find satisfaction in having the skills to do so, but often lack the motivation. When I finally get a chance to sit down, sometimes Facebook just sounds so much more fun!
I imagined my great-grandmother stitching her husband’s gloves, and recalled that my maternal great-grandmother had once made reference to a similar practice. In the six short paragraphs she gave me about her life was mentioned… you guessed it… mending. She said that her mother would help her by picking up a stack weekly and returning it as good as new.
Needless to say, the red snow gloves are fully functioning today. I even had my daughter help with the repair.
“…our history teaches that the same principles that existed in the early church are our foundational principles today.” So, Sister Beck’s words were right on. Provident Living. Mending. Grandma Villie did it, so did Grandma Agnes, and we will do it too. It is a common thread.
1. “The History and Heritage of Relief Society”, Ensign, Jan. 2011, 7
Why do you/ or do you not take the time to mend?