I’m a rug maker and I still have balls of wool that are waiting to be braided into rugs like this one. Not perfect, but usable. They are thick and hearty and colorful.
Yesterday, I received a phone call from a woman who said, “Are you Mary Matzek? You don’t know me but I saw your name in Reminisce Magazine about three years ago. You were looking for a set of rug braiders and I have them. I’ve been holding onto these looking for that magazine I misplaced, and I finally found it. Do you still want them?” Her name is Marci Van Riper from Pennsylvania. I told her I’d gotten several sets. I have two sizes, 2 inch and 1 inch. Her set was 1 and 1/2 inch. She was keen on me having them after holding them for me for three years, so I agreed I could make a nice thin rug from old curtains for my bathroom. She is 87 years old and I readily understood the idea of re-using things, fabric scraps for quilts, old sweaters for hot pads and baby soakers, , old wool coats and pants-never tossing anything that is usable, like rug braiders.
This rug is thin and lies very flat, and it is very special to me. My mother made the center and the next two rows as a small bathoom rug from cottons. The light blue came from her first pair of “slacks” for which she got scolded from her father, because girls didn’t wear pants in those days. Years later, I put on the last row with a pair of maroon pants I loved because the material was stretchable and allowed me to reach the pedals of the plane I was flying. I hated to give them away when they no longer fit. At the time I didn’t attach any significance to adding a row to a rug my mother made. After all, it’s just an old bath mat. Now, I appreciate that connection. Slacks, that represented something to her and flight pants that meant something to me.
This is also a bathroom rug made from t-shirt strips, hooked through a mesh backing. Rug making is hardly done by hand anymore. I enjoyed making it and using it.
I wanted to pay for the cost of mailing the braiders but Marci would have none of that. She was adamant I not pay for the stamps since her brother had bought from their local post office, every Jenny stamp they had, 12 sheets of $2 stamps. The postal person, said, “you might as well have them all, here is a single left.” Stamps then came in glassine bags that you couldn’t see through. What he was hoping to snag was one that had been printed upside down. His investment paid off and that last single stamp is now worth $50,000. He keeps it in a bank vault. She is still spending Jenny’s that were correct. I found out she collects stamps and we talked for about 30 minutes. What a marvelous woman she is!
My computer was out and my neighbor, Brian came and fixed it this morning. He suggested I put into a pool for the California Lottery. Normally, I would have said no. But, after hearing about the Jenny, I handed him a ten. Fool, my brain said. Ah, what the heck, maybe my luck will hold.