Jeanne Faulkner June 14, 2014
I remember the day when I graduated from paste to glue and the day I was introduced to the mother-of-all craft supplies – spray paint. It was the week before Mother’s Day and I was in the third grade. The project involved an empty orange juice can, glue, gold spray paint and macaroni. This memory is from so long ago, that juice cans were made of tin, not cardboard and the only types of pasta you could buy were spaghetti, lasagna and macaroni. I remember the light coming through the classroom windows, the stern warning from the nuns not to get glue or paint on my plaid uniform and the smell of bologna sandwiches wafting from someone’s lunch box. It was a big day and I remember feeling like I’d arrived. I was finally old enough for a big kid craft - a gorgeous 100% solid gold macaroni-encrusted pencil holder.
It never occurred to me that my mom had probably been gifted dozens of these holders over the years made by my seven older siblings. I have no memory at all of actually making the pencil holder or of giving it to my mother. I don’t remember ever seeing it on our telephone table or her dresser. My memory is cast in the pure potential the craft and gift held; in the beauty of the paint, the maturity of the glue and the cleverness of crafting with pasta.
I filed that memory away and didn’t dust it off again until decades later when my oldest daughter was in preschool. On my third Mother’s Day I was given a gift of such beauty and simplicity that it humbled me. She gave me a string of thick rigatoni noodles, carefully strung on a shoelace and scribbled with colored markers. My daughter was achingly proud of herself as she placed it around my neck with absolute certainty that I’d wear it daily for time eternal.