By Ruth-Marion Baruch

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Additional resources for The Vanguard: A Photographic Essay on the Black Panthers

Sample text

I We had neither The think the world was very young. Rehearsals and costume making went on Colin Frank and we had all around us for weeks. were too young to participate but we watched I in and learned how to make stiff Elizabethan ruffs for a rubber dog we played with while more elaborate ones were sewn for Malvolio. Margaret would become exasperated with Gregory during rehearsals as he altered Shakespeare's wording, protesting that the meaning was preserved. On the day of the performance, when there was a delay, I went in with my friend Martha Ullman, dressed as gypsies and given the task of ushering, and we recited passages to the fascination restless audience.

For the years all I have known Aunt Marie, these drawers have always been carefully packed with linens, individually wrapped in tissue paper, tied of a with thread and labeled, and sewing supplies and some future project, as well as mementos Pennsylvania Dutch childhood. Aunt Marie is for me the provi- fabrics or remnants saved for dence represented by that tidy drawer full of little packages, each of which would have been lifted out carefully to store elsewhere, and she is the absolute willingness to dedicate a bureau drawer or a room, an hour or a lifetime to my needs or my mother's.

When I try to think of my mother making things from materials other than words, I think of food and knitting. Yet I know that with the young girls in Samoa she learned to weave baskets and grass skirts, that ethnography required all sorts of manual skills, and in Blackberry Winter she makes it clear that skill in various arts and craft activities had an important place in family ideas about education. She had few such skills in my childhood. She had great difficulty threading needles, and in later years Aunt Marie always made sure there was a supply of ready-threaded needles in the sewing box for emergency repairs.

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