Whenever preachers, politicians, or sitcom stars prattle on about “family values,” I think of my great-grandmother’s embroidered linens.
When I graduated from college in the late 1970′s, an aunt bequeathed me a set of bed linens my great-grandmother had embroidered in the 1880′s for her trousseau. I reacted with a mixture of disappointment and irritation at receiving such a useless relic. I shook my head in pity and disgust over all the hours she had wasted stitching those fussy monograms, flowers, and scrolls while waiting for Prince Charming. If I had to keep a memento of a woman I had never met, why did it have to be this impractical testament to her sentimental bondage? How I longed to possess her faded but proud college degree; of course she had none.
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