Families come in all shapes and sizes and are sometimes made up of special people who are not related at all.  Through a set of unfortunate events, I was fortunate to have not two but three grandmothers. How awesome is that!  And they were all different too.  I had the grandma who was the caregiver, one who had a million jokes and one who was crafty.  

Flora Belle was the crafty one.  While she was not related to me, she was ever present in my life.  In fact, she and Grandma Dee (the caregiver) lived together for more than 40 years. In 1951 in Miami, Florida, Flora and Grandma Dee (Polly) were going through some tumultuous times. Flora had just gotten divorced and Polly had lost her husband unexpectedly. The ladies were neighbors and friends who found themselves having a difficult time financially raising 2 kids each.  So, while both were in their late 20’s, they decided to help each other and moved in together. They became sisters and their children became cousins.  

It was a blessing for both women as they needed each other and their children needed stability. In a time when most women didn’t work, both ladies had to find employment to support their family.  Flora worked at Pan Am Airlines in the customer service department and Polly cleaned houses. Clearly not glamorous jobs, but both were super hard workers and did what was needed to keep the family afloat.  

Flora learned to sew at an early age and because money was tight, Flora sewed for the entire household. Her love of creating and sewing was her hidden talent and was an escape from the hardships of life. She sewed clothes for every day but also for special occasions, including my Aunt’s wedding dress.

Fast forward 20 something years.  The youngest of the grandchildren was born, yep that’s me. Flora and Polly still lived together in a quaint townhouse about ½ mile from our house. I was blessed to see Flora and Polly almost every day. My mom dropped me off at their house before school each morning and we ate Sunday lunch at their house each week. Flora made the most amazing biscuits for Sunday lunch and on special occasions key lime pie.  

As the only girl grandchild in town, Flora sewed frequently for me including clothes for my cabbage patch kids.  Since I was always so tall, children’s clothes never fit me so Flora made all of my church dresses. I vividly remember going into Joann Fabrics and flipping through pattern books to find the perfect dress. Standing in her sewing room with paper patterns pinned to me was not my favorite part of the process, but I always loved the finished product.  

(One of the many Easter dresses that Flora made for me. I would practice the piano at their house while Sunday lunch was being prepared.)

Because of her influence, my creative side was sparked. It started off with cross stitch and simple projects like that. For Christmas one year, my mother bought me my first sewing machine and then a few years later a monogramming machine. I am no professional seamtress but I know that she is looking down on me, delighted that I followed in her foot steps.

I am sure she would be proud, honored and touched that we named our first dress in remembrance of her and her influence in my life.

(One of our many trips to Disney, I was about 4 at the time)

We are so blessed to be able to share our memories and stories with you as part of Wind Charmer.  We are honored that you would choose our clothing as you make your own special memories.  We would love to see pictures of your girls in our dresses.  Please feel free to post a picture of your sweet one on our Facebook page.