Busy Hands

Part of writing about lives past is understanding the things people used in that time period. I’ve been very fortunate to come from a tradition where women passed their sewing tools and projects down through the centuries. My great-grandmother Martha Margaret March, affectionately known as Bongie in my family, was born in 1850. When she was ten, she watched Abraham Lincoln go on his way to his inauguration in 1861. Not long after her family moved to Kansas. Her parents were Quakers.

She has written about her experiences as a young girl and later, but nothing means more to me than to have the tools that she used to quilt, sew and darn. Such riches are more powerful than gold and they help me when I create a character from her timeline to understand the craftiness and creativity that women’s hands did and still do.