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Velma's Work
Velma's Sewing Class


August 16, 2006, Wednesday afternoon on the grounds of the Ponca reservation at White Eagle the heat index had to be at least 105 degrees and maybe more. It was so torturous we didn’t want to leave the air-conditioned car to hurry into the air-conditioned tribal headquarters building where Velma, my mother, was holding her sewing class. This is one project she has had to initiate and set into motion all on her own. My “iffy” health with the pneumonia, broken foot, and slow recovery left her with having to ask Addie Cerre Jacobs Rosburough to pick up the roll of helper for her.

Addie is a retired registered nurse with credentials to prove her intelligence and creativity which has been a blessing not only to Mother but to the women who were just learning. Together she and Velma were able to make the newspapers a number of times which encouraged a nice turn out of women who wanted to learn to sew.

Another friend, Delores Pickins, is an expert repair person for machines and she was able to contribute to the classes as well with her knowledge of maintenance for today’s sometimes very fragile, out of the country, designs that are continually breaking down. One of the ladies today gave an account of one such machine. She said after she had taken it back and forth to the repairman numbers of times he told her the cost to repair it so she said she would just take it home which she did. She struggled with it for a while longer and finally walked out to the pool, dropped it over the edge and drowned the thing. I particularly had a good laugh about that one because I, myself, had threatened the man who sold the useless thing to me I was going to burn it in effigy in front of his store. Either that or take a sledge hammer and beat it to a pulp on the sidewalk seemed like a good thought at the time.

At any rate, I was so proud of my little 93 year old mother who has taught a number of women how to sew the beautiful designs of the Ponca; therefore, passing on her expertise to a whole new generation. The women were actually having fun, sharing stories of their family and their plans for the up-coming Ponca pow-wow, last week in August.


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