fabrics nov 2010 – letters to the editor



Yesterday, as the sun was setting around 5PM, I spontaneously decided to go outdoors and sweep the patio.  It had been a gray, drizzly day, and everything was damp.  Saw some weeds and knew they would be easy to pull, so I did that.  Then I noticed that one of my three potted chrysanthemums had blown over.  I had been wanting to plant them in the ground, so I took advantage of the ideal conditions: mild temperature, dim light and moist soil. (It had start-ed drizzling again.)

Darkness had fallen by the time I finished these projects, and my next door neighbor hailed me from out of nowhere.  He had been enjoying the perfect conditions for gardening, too, and was bringing in the last of his potato crop.  He gifted me five brown eggs from his chickens as we bid each other good night.

I shed my muddy jacket and shoes, went indoors, combed my wet hair and prepared a late dinner for my husband and me. 

As my hair dried while we watched TV, I noticed that the rain had given it a special softness.  I marveled at the synchronicity of common elements that had made an ordinary experience extraordinary.

Carol (Sept.10) adds, “I like J.R.R. Tolkien’s quote, All those who wander are not lost.




Previously: Lotte is happily married to her second love when she becomes pregnant. He is elated. A detective by trade, he is undercover when she is nine months along. Lotte’s long-time professor friend had been staying with her and took her to the hospital when her labor began.

My professor friend informed my in-laws I was at the hospital and then called my husband’s emergency contact number. Instead of hopping into a taxi, my husband was so excited, he ran to the hospital. When he was nearly there, he ran toward the building, crossing a street without looking. A drunk driver hit and killed him instantly. Though the accident happened in front of the hospital, he could not be saved.

My friend found out what had happened and came into the delivery room. He told me what just happened. I was numb and grief stricken when I gave birth to our son.

Unfortunately, the grand parents — the piranhas — were there instead of my beloved.

Before I had a chance to hold the baby, they took him. I was crying for my husband and asked if I could see my baby. They never let me. I have never seen my child.

As you might guess, I was in shock overwhelmed with grief. According to them and the doctor, it was better for my state of mind, not to attend my husband’s funeral. I was lost in misery. My in-laws arranged for everything.

My state of mind was in total disarray. I couldn’t think straight and didn’t realize what was happening.

My dear friend, the professor, took me to Ottawa, Canada. Friends of mine were living there and welcomed me to stay and recover there as long as I wanted. The professor stayed with me. We remained in Ottawa for months until he was offered a professorship at the University of Anchorage. He asked me to go north with him.

While we were in Alaska, I had to put my mind to something and applied for a scholarship to study grizzly bears. After my friend’s professorship ended, he returned to the east coast in order to find my child. But I heard nothing from him. He never returned to Anchorage, nor contacted me. I finished my college year.

By now five years had passed. I gathered my self together and returned to New Jersey, looking for my friend and my lost child.

I went to my in-laws home town and talked to the sheriff’s department to see if they could tell me where to find the people. Nobody seemed to know anything. My husband’s family seemed to have vanished. Locating them had become an impossible task.

Who knows what happened. Maybe they moved far away. Perhaps took a different identity. They were very wealthy. My husband was their only child. They would do anything to keep his memory alive.

After many years of trying to locate my in-laws, I had to give up. There were no leads– not even a birth certificate for the child! The hospital had no record I gave birth to son.

 The only memory I have of my son is that I gave birth to him.

I wish him well and his grandparents, too, wherever they may be.

Lotte DeRoy (Oct.’10) says, To this day, I know my second love — the great detective he was — could have solved all the mysteries for me. I miss him still.”



On the last motorcycle trip my husband and I took, we traveled part of the way with three other men. All belonged to my husband’s church. One was a building contractor, and the other, an attorney. Rounding the three out was the reigning minister. Except on the rare occasion, I don’t attend church. (Not comfortable there. Feels like a girdle.)

I was clear with the men that politics and religion were taboo topics. But, they insisted on talking amongst themselves about these things — loud enough for me to hear and even directly at me. Then they snubbed me.

We had been about to leave our motel when the pastor couldn’t find his sunglasses. He said, “I need my sunglasses — they are prescription!”

Normally I limited my interactions with those three, but since he really needed the glasses I offered, “Check in the frame of the bike, I’ve often found mine there when they were missing.”

Instead the man walked back into the motel to inquire in their lost and found. He returned to his bike shrugging and empty-handed. He kept looking and suddenly, lo and behold! The sunglasses had fallen and caught on the frame of the bike.

He turned and said something I didn’t hear to the contractor who replied loudly, “Yeah, I’m a male chauvinist.”

No “Thank you for your suggestion.” No acknowledgement. Just passive-aggressive bigotry!

I know that attitude is the guys’ “own stuff,” but it hurt to feel belittled. I don’t share my area’s conservative attitudes about women not speaking up and am often frustrated. Sometimes I feel isolated and just want to go bang my head on a wall!

I stewed about the lost sunglasses incident and e-mailed the story to a friend. She wrote back, “Chauvinist attitudes, can be irritating. Some changes take longer to happen than I have left to live. Luckily, I have choices — and legal avenues for equality are open if I get truly upset. It may have been worse for you since there were no other women in the group. You were really walled-off. Had there been another female or two — espe-cially wives who can withhold sex when angry — the men would probably have cooled their comments.”

Her words reminded me I wasn’t alone and lifted my spirits.

Linda Rosenthal (Sept.’10) ads, “Ninepatch is enjoyable to read, even the painful stories, for they prompt me to count my blessings and say a prayer for those who are struggling. God bless…”


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