When I was fifteen, my mother gave me a sewing machine for my birthday. I was thrilled, and embraced it immediately. When Becca was fifteen, my mother gave her a sewing machine, and she did not embrace it at all. There were probably several reasons for this. Paramount was her lingering bitterness, left over from the Handwork class in her Irish grammar school. “I hate it!” she said. “The boys make fun things out of popsicle sticks and we have to sew these dumb little mats.” She only brought home one somewhat finished object, an embroidered coaster, and I could tell that her heart had not been in it.
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