The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:24 am Thursday, August 22, 2019

“Tatting One Hundred Years Ago”

By Marie Craig

I was reading the April, 1919 Mocksville newspaper on microfilm at the Davie County Public Library where this information is now all online at the library website. I found this short article: “Mrs. Jane Binkley has made 45 yards of tatting, pieced two quilts since January and was in bed sick two weeks, doesn’t wear glasses and is 72 years old. Can anyone beat that? If so, let us hear from you.”

Tatting is a slow craft of tying small knots with small thread, and it is astounding that she created 45 yards. Tatting is a craft that I enjoy and have taught since 1980. Because of this, I became interested in Jane Binkley and researched her as if she were my own kin. Through online research with Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and FindAGrave.com, I learned that she, Cressie Jane Tesh, was born in Yadkin County. She married John William Green Binkley, who had served in the Civil War. They had 8 children and adopted one more. She was widowed and died at her son’s home at 82. She and her husband are buried at Joppa Cemetery. He has a tombstone, but she does not. I found a relative online who mailed a photograph of her.

So many interesting people are gone, and we don’t know their stories.

However, nowhere in my discoveries did I find mention that she could tat. It’s too bad that particular information is not recorded in records. Gathering names, dates, and places are very important in writing a personal history, but even more important are the stories.

Another mention of tatting was in the 20 February 1918 Davie Record. “The Embroidery Club was very delightfully entained [sic] at the Methodist parsonage Wednesday afternoon by Miss Ballard, one of our school faculty. Dainty refreshments were served and the time was very pleasantly spent. Some beautiful design in embroidery and tatting were exhibited. Miss Brown extended to the club a cordial invitation to be present at her home next Wednesday.”

Granted, this is not earth-shaking history, but it gives a picture of daily life in Mocksville for some women. These two articles would have been written during World War I. In spite of the worry of loved ones being in the war zone, life continued, and women sought companionship and crafts to keep busy. My book Davie County in World War I found 670 men and 3 women who went to war from our small county.  This book shows the dramatic side of that time period, and these two articles about women give us a glimpse into their social and craft lives a hundred years ago.

“In the Desperate Moments”

By Kevin F. Wishon

“You have to go! I can’t make it.” Eric manages to say.

“I can’t leave you here like this.”

Eva looks into Eric’s swollen eyes and pleads with him to see reason. She wipes the sweat from his forehead, pooling above his eyebrows.

“You must go! Warn others and bring back help. If you stay here, we both will fall victim to this terrible thing.”

“But, what if something happens to you while I’m gone?” Eva insists, hoping one of her arguments will sway Eric, but he is adamant.

“Eva, even if you stay, how does it help us? We are completely out of anything helpful against this, so we have no choice. You can do the most good by warning others and bringing back something effective against this terror!” Eric pauses and adds, “Besides, if I go with you, then I’m leading it right to the masses where it will terrorize our family and friends.”

Eva stands up and wipes tears of frustration from her eyes. She nods, accepting his statement despite her disagreement. Pulling her thick winter jacket about her neck, Eva prepares to leave. She pauses for a moment and looks back at Eric.

“Do you want the white stuff or the pink stuff?”

Eric looks up at Eva with eyes wide open. “I don’t care if it’s green with pink polka dots, just bring me something that works!”

Eva departs as Eric groans and pulls himself upright before flushing the toilet.

“Challenges”

By Gaye Hoots

When I was younger, I liked a challenge, and would race the boys, try to keep up with older kids and try stunts that I saw others do to prove I could. My dad would let me do anything if I persisted. I tried to learn to swim but couldn’t get my toe off the bottom. “I know I could swim if I had to,” I asserted.

“We will see,” he said and rowed me to the middle of the pond where he tossed me over the side of the boat. I came up swimming and swam the rest of the evening,

My father had back surgery when I was in the eighth grade, and he had not asked anyone to milk the Jersey cow for him. I taught myself to milk, and the task was mine until I got married at seventeen. I wanted to try hanging tobacco like the men to prove I could. I mastered this but never volunteered for it again.

My approach to life was the same. I married young and had a family. Later I went to college, earned a nursing degree, and chose to work in adolescent psychiatry. Adolescent psychiatry was a challenge most people declined. The last five years I worked in a community program that was like a revolving door crisis clinic, and felt that I kept things under control.

As I was considering retirement, I asked myself what I was trying to prove by always tackling any task without asking for help. Was there someone I was trying to impress, or was I too proud to ask for help? My attitude has changed as I have grown older, and perhaps wiser.

Now I try to limit my challenges to my own family and circle of friends. I am challenged enough for now, with the twins. I used to enjoy home improvement projects and decorating, but find I do more of this by pinning pictures to Pinterest than by actually tackling the chores. I sleep later and hire someone to do the yardwork. In all fairness, this is related to my allergies, and I procrastinate when it comes to housework for the same reason.

A friend told me of a woman over 90 years old who still mows her yard with a push mower. At one time, I pictured myself doing this. The broken pelvis slowed me down, and that may be part of it, but I have decided to enjoy my second childhood, and I am. Today I am at a Renegade Writers workshop for the day. I do lunch with friends, connect with relatives, and work on family genealogy. If my family needs me to do something, I can usually accommodate them, but most days I can sleep late if I choose to and move at my own pace. It is a luxury, and I am grateful.

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For more information on Renegade Writers Guild, visit www.renegadewritersguild.wordpress.com. Submit a favorite memory of life in Davie County.  Story should be typed and not more than 250 words. Please include your name and phone number or email address.  RWG retains reprint rights. Email to lhb1@yadtel.net.