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Pillow Talk


Well, I’ve been hunkering down here for a while. You know, phone off the hook, no doorbell or e-mail answering. The reason is a grand project: son the younger needs a pillow for his preschool class. I don’t know what they’ll do with it, because nap time is already taken care of, but ours is not to wonder why. The kid needs a pillow for school, he’ll get a pillow.
But, the pillow has to be a certain size, a size which is not the size of all the pillows available in the stores. It has to have a foam rubber filling. It needs a cover.
Step one: find the foam rubber. Locals, I guess, would instantly know all the foam rubber stores in the area, but I was a bit lost. In our family, the closest thing to a local is the husband, not that he’s from around here, but he’s closer than I am. He made some calls and found a place that not only had foam rubber but gave him a piece free since it was for school.
Step one accomplished. That was easy.
Step two: make the cover. The idea is to sew it, I suppose. (Cue the laugh track.) I did, once upon a time, take a home ec class in junior high, and this was the old style girlie home ec which I chose over shop class despite my budding feminism and desire to move beyond stereotypes, because given the choice to make food or wood shavings, well, get real; and I did at one point make a very respectable elephant pillow as well as a near-perfect green v-necked t-shirt, but despite the sewing knowledge I must have gained, none of it stuck. At all.
So I bought the cheapest bed pillowcase I could find, and some stick-on Velcro strips, and I couldn’t find that tape you can iron on instead of having to sew something, but I brought my purchases home and I’ve been contemplating them for a while. The pillowcase turned out to be stretchy and tough to work with. And I’m pretty sure there’s got to be some sewing involved. The husband has had some clever suggestions involving folds and angles and such, although I’ve noticed he didn’t offer to jump in on this stage of the project. Still, every time I put it all together and think about how it will look completed, only one word comes to mind: pathetic. I can see bringing it in and the teacher just staring at it, in shock at the most deformed pillow that’s ever passed through the preschool. And then every time son the younger gets it out for whatever they’re going to do with it, she’ll give him an extra bright smile so he knows it’s not his fault that his pillow is so hideous and to try to make it up to him for whatever sad home life he has with a mother who can’t even make a simple pillow.
Today, facing reality as well as imagined humiliation, I went to one of those clothes alterations stores in a shopping center. A custom-made pillowcase is 10 euros, with zipper 15. (The unacceptable pillows on sale ready-made are 6 euros or less.) But the zipper’s key. Because if it’s for school, you’ll want to wash it, said the sewing store woman. Of course. She knew exactly what I was talking about. “I’ve made a lot of those lately,” she said.
Naturally. Because Spanish women are working in increasing numbers, or just not the seamstresses their mothers were, chalk this pillow-making gig up as one of the formerly unpaid women’s chores that can now be tallied economically – 15 euros a pop in this case.
U.S. schools require their own labor-intensive parent projects too, despite the fact that in many cases mom’s too busy or not interested, and dad’s equally too busy or unenthusiastic to try to shove it off on him. But someone’s still got to bring in something for the bake sale. Maybe it’s time to teach home ec in preschool.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 1:29 AM | Permalink

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