Blue Satin and Love
By Melodie Campbell
“This is beautiful, Mom – where did you ever get it?”
I looked down at the Barbie doll evening gown Natalie held in her hand. Blue satin shimmered under our kitchen lights, and the tiny rosettes were individual works of art that had been hidden away for decades in a basement storage box.
“My grandmother from Sicily made it for me for Christmas one year.”
I remembered those hours Grandma had spent in front of the black Singer sewing machine, arthritic hands working hard to create things of warmth and beauty. Like many immigrant women, she made most of our clothes, which – at the time - was a mark of shame to me. How to explain the embarrassment of wearing homemade clothes to a daughter of today?
“It doesn’t even look worn,” Natalie said, in awe.
“That’s because I never played with it.” Yes, the blue satin was pretty, but in my young mind, it didn’t compare to the black nylon Barbie doll gown you could purchase at Simpson’s. My doll clothes were made from scraps of fabric left over from larger projects. The other girls at school received store-bought Christmas gifts; how I had envied them.
“She must have loved you a whole lot.” Natalie’s voice was soft. She handed it to me.
I fingered the hand-hemmed skirt, the tiny perfect stitches, and as I opened the snaps on the back, something happened to my heart. It flooded with the love that had been there all this time, stuck in a box, waiting to be discovered.
Melodie experienced a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.
Melodie got her start writing comedy. She has over 200 publications and has won 6 awards for short fiction. Melodie was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer Award and Arthur Ellis Award, and is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.