Sunday, February 7, 2010
Long before Zillow Pillows - One year for Christmas I made little 5 in x 8 in felt pillows for my entire family. I started with my mom, who (at the time) loved chickens and my brother who loved guitars. Then I made some holiday ones with lights and trees. A pig for my friend Jorja, a cat Pez dispenser for another friend. My grandma loved angels, so I made her a white and golden pillow with a triangle bodied angel and a small round head. But I didn't know what to make for my grandpa Hugh. Maybe some background on him before you understand why it was so important to make him a very special one: he was the best person I've ever known. If you'd met him, you'd believe the same thing. So this pillow was more than just a decoration for his chair, mind you, this is the same chair that he allowed my cousin Aubrey and I to curl and hairspray his not too long hair. We played barbershop on his head and he never complained once (in fact, we have pictures!). He paid for braces when I was seventeen, made me an exact replica of a coffee table I saw in the Pottery Barn magazine and I couldn't tell the difference. He and my grandma delivered groceries to my house right after my son was born and when I came out to help, saying "Hi grandpa, how are you?" he looked right at me and said, "Don't get nosey." So he was a comedian too.
Finally, with an idea from a close friend, I ended up cutting out a hand saw from a piece of yellow felt and a handle from some brown felt. I sewed it on and wrapped it up. Christmas eve we opened our gifts at my mom's house and my grandpa Hugh was sitting beside me. When he opened his pillow it was upside-down, he turned it around and began laughing- a grand laugh, both deep and high, almost to tears. Every few minutes between opening other presents he'd look down at the pillow and laugh again or smile. Right before the evening was over he leaned over and said, "Some people have to buy things at a store to give as gifts, some people can't make something as special as this."
I have his pillow again, safely tucked away with other memories I bring out on the occasion of needing a tangible item to squeeze, just to make the memory come to life. Zillow Pillows came after my grandpa Hugh's passing, but the idea of making a pillow and knowing someone will enjoy it or give as a gift reminds me of how lucky I am to have known a man who knew the power of a handmade item.
Here's to kindness...