74 MARCH/APRIL 2015 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
IF I COULD WRITE about my
mother, Peggy, in any medium, I would
want to write in fabric, with threads
making the letters and buttons for
punctuation. This is the medium in
which Peggy was most like a mother
to me. I touch the buttons she kept in
a tin box, letting them tumble through
my fingers like pebbles—brass and
bone and plastic, pink and yellow and
sapphire, rhinestone-encrusted, leather,
fabric-covered. I run my fingers over the
spools of thread, the embroidery floss,
and the lengths of lace trim, the cards
of snaps and hooks and eyes. I slide my
fingers through folded fragments of
yellow silk, pink polished cotton with a
pattern of pussy willows—and the touch
of motherhood is there.
My brother and I used to laugh that
Peggy didn’t even know how to boil
water, and that was really the truth.
My mother didn’t envelop us with her
mothering love through savory aromas
from the kitchen. But she could do
I don’t think anyone ever thought
about sending her to college—her
brother, Tom, went to Dartmouth, but
she really wasn’t a student. At the end of
My mother didn’t cook and
wasn’t much of a caretaker.
But she knew how to sew.
BY SELBY MCPHEE
was married in
which was altered
to fit her.
banter | MY LIFE