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My Handiwork

March 2023


While the world outside rages with rain and snow and recessionary lunacy, I’ve been busy, wearing my little fingers to the bone!


My purchases, from the past three years, of linen garments from Lithuania, received major updates this past month. The handiwork of this seamstress, focused upon thread and needle and vintage trims from France, has changed her world, in many ways.


I see visions from the past, re-worked, with tenderness and painstaking attention to the details of my life, as it was, and as it will be. For the long ago is not defunct nor is it detritus that must be tossed away, as if those sorrows and surprises from yore must be shoved into the ditch of forgotten time.


In the midst of gleaning the ghastly stories of today, I tell myself that it’s not 1977, or even 1980, when America looked like a collapsing cartoon on the world stage. And, yet, almost on cue, the Labor Unions of Massachusetts are demanding $20/hour minimum wage - to help the recession deepen!


Why stop at $20 an hour to rake off your ill-gotten gains off the backs of the workers you, the Union Bosses, victimize? Just go for it, and stipulate $50!


I now keenly realize how it was that NAFTA and GATT got sold to the American citizens during those early heady days of selling off America:


The labor unions of this embattled and imbittered nation had driven up the costs of making anything to a point where Americans opted for foreign laborers to make products for the U.S. of A.


The labor union thugs still aren’t happy!


I grew up in a New Jersey filled with labor union thugs and their goonish behavior. Just across the river was the garment district in New York City. The manufacturing was about to be outsourced, but during that final decade of proud and productive handiwork, the workers slaved away, day in and day out. The union management got rich off of the talents and timeless skills of men and women who got tossed overboard for that outsourcing of clothing manufacturing that gutted not merely factories and the lives of the individuals working there:


those manufacturing cities got gutted too.


Short-sighted?


I think not.


The craven politicians knew exactly what they were doing in the 1990s. They didn’t care one whit about the marker coming due — on anything. They’d get theirs. It was all that mattered to the “We Care” crowd in Congress, and in the befouled White House.


I used to look back upon the 1970s, the decade of my coming-of-age, and want to flee those memories. The 1990s then came along to replace, or expand, those miserable moments. And then the 2010s emerged!


Before you know it, a lifetime’s been lived, and not the way you wanted it to be — on account of the parasites in life. Those parasites can be many: friends, relatives, neighbors, business associates, politicians, and the professional pan-handlers — who can encompass all of the foregoing groups.


For me, the problem resides in the mere concept of The Group. For others, however, The Group has been, and remains, a bulwark against attacks from the Rich-and-Powerful, the Big Guy, the Boss.


What happens when The Group is controlled, and owned by the Rich-and-Powerful, the Big Guy, The Boss? And The Group gets robbed by the Rich-and-Powerful, the Big Guy, The Boss?


The rugged individualist rarely finds herself in that situation, that dilemma, that impasse in life. She might find herself alone, on her own, fighting her own battles, but, in truth, she is never alone. God is with her, every step of the way.


Look up to the Heavens for help, every step of the way, and not to a lying, cheating Member of Congress, or a supervisor whose unique talent in backstabbing got her to the top.


Rely upon your instincts to assess the lay of the land.


The idea that an overpaid and meticulously preened News Reader is actually uttering The News was a notion that I never bought, perhaps because of my interactions with the News Industry way back when, during those hellacious Carter Years. It still astounds me, the quantity of foul ignorance that is spread so cleverly across the Fruited Plain by the hacks of Broadcast News. They’re men and women, boys and girls you wouldn’t invite to your dinner table!


I’ve enjoyed my many days of handiwork. My focus upon materials and design is a comforting force, one that steadies me and corrects my vision of things around me, and within me. I resolve to resolve questions in my mind, and in my heart, about the phonies and charlatans I’ve encountered because they’ve taken on newer faces in the here-and-now.


When my Dear Daughter was at university, she was confronted with cheaters and liars, seated in the classroom, as well as in front of a few of them. I calmly but somewhat sadly told her to not forget each of those counterfeits at life: “You’ll be meeting a different version of each one of them again, in the future. And you’ll have your weapons of experience for dealing with them.”


A warehouse of priceless experience starts with those initial initiations into the facts and the frauds of life. The goal is to not become jaded or cynical because of having been on the receiving end of deception, hypocrisy, and treachery. The shysters aren’t worth your surrendering to them one smidgeon of your innocence, one iota of your integrity, one speck of your purity.


Perhaps their goal in life is to rob the pure-in-heart of what they, the sneak-thieves of decency, had either never had, or had given up so effortlessly: honor, goodness, loyalty, and faithfulness in virtue. The only fidelity a fraud has is to falsehood.


My handiwork comes in handy whenever I’m sorting out scenarios in life, not to use for fiction, but to inspire me to live each day with the genuine zeal of a woman in search of facing the morrow with courage and honesty and humor and humility. Each day is a gift to me; it’s a gift to all of us. To squander that gift with ire and worry over things that cannot be changed, that act is an awful price for any human, for any human heart to pay.


A few years ago, I learned about the death of a classmate I’d known in high school. He was a gentle soul, a kind spirit who had helped me in many ways during my darker days in New Jersey. I was greatly saddened to hear of his passing away, at far too young an age. He’d lost his cherished wife several years earlier, and I’ve no doubt they are together, this day, in Paradise.


He’d often advised me to keep my sense of humor: I’d need it. I believe the same was true for him. It’s true for every one of us.


And so I end this essay with an amusing acknowledgement of my appreciation that I’ve added all that value to my garments while living here in the United States. The VAT in Europe is the surest sign that the Official Overlords treat the populace like peasants. The peasants, however, have retaliated with the most extensive and effective black market in the history of Europe, a vast and violent epoch that gloriously precedes the infernal EU.


The European Union has added no value to anything, with one glaring exception:


The EU has proven to the world the corrupt inefficiency of bureaucrats, stacked atop of one another in the Brussels Tower of Babel.

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