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Remembering Juanita |
Creative writings of MAYRA•YADIR, an artist who writes & a writer who practices art. Site includes resources & inspiration for creative writers seeking to expand and cultivate their creativity and stretch further their self expression.
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Remembering Juanita

Not long ago, I misplaced my wallet.

It was frustrating to not have found it and then time consuming to replace my bank cards.

But those annoyances paled in comparison to the pain of having lost the one most irreplaceable item: a handwritten letter penned by my loving abuela* Juanita from years ago; a precious memento I had kept stashed away within one of my wallet’s folds.
(*abuela is Spanish for “grandmother”)

I have been lamenting this poignant loss every day since.

While her cherished letter is now gone forever, my loving memories of my abuela never fade.


Master seamstress

Remembering Juanita by creative writer MAYRA YADIR

Mixed media collage featuring my abuela Juanita amidst vintage sewing notions.

One such memory that’s come to mind in recent weeks is that of my abuela’s impeccable sewing talents.

I recall her sitting near me, her face beaming with pride as she’d recount how she used to help her oldest sister, Sarita, with alterations around 11 or 12 years old (my abuela was born in 1919, so her tween years would have meant these memories went as far back as the early-to-mid 1930s).

The sisters, who were two of 10 kids, would dutifully turn over their weekly earnings to their parents to help with family expenses and such.

As she became more expertly in her alterations, my abuela eventually moved on up to tailoring.

I’m not 100% clear on the details but the story goes something like my abuela got soooo good with her sewing skills that she, at some point, branched off and began sewing clothes for customers independently of Sarita.

From what I could gather, this kind of pissed Sarita off ?? but no matter; my abuela kept building up her own clientele and managed to earn enough to make a decent living (whatever a “decent living” was or meant back then).

Sewing solo

Abuela would describe exquisite garments she intricately sewed for special occasions.

She’d go on to fondly recollect how her clients would rave and rave about her beautiful workmanship.

As she’d share these stitchful memories, I couldn’t help but notice that almost everything at abuela’s house had been sewn by her.

This includes the sheer valences adorning all windows; those were definitely sewn by her.

So were the non-stop-ruffle bed skirts in both bedrooms.

And every single decorative pillow, too — including the fancy sham ones on the beds AND the comfy throw ones throughout her living room.

Oh, and the dining room’s matching tablecloth and place mats as well.

Honestly … the woman had sewn practically every article of decor in her home right from her vintage, Singer sewing machine; a huge clunker-piece of machinery which sat tightly tucked between her bed and bedroom window.

Claim to sewing fame

Remembering Juanita by creative writer MAYRA YADIR

Mixed media art collage featuring vintage sewing notions and themed accents.

Basically, abuela would often say there was nothing she couldn’t sew.

Everything from

  • button holes,
  • pleats,
  • piping,
  • zippers,
  • hems,
  • ruffles,
  • and anything else you can think of …

… abuela could totally sew it.

And boy did she ever.




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