Box sews history together

The highlight of a recent meeting of Montevallo’s Wednesday Afternoon Sewing Club was the opening of the box. The box holds a treasure of memories and afforded the club members a couple of hours of intriguing reminiscence.

Most of the members had heard of the box, but never seen it. For the past several years no one seemed to know its whereabouts; then, much to their delight, it surfaced. The only recorded history of the club is in that box. The contents date back the to club’s beginning in the early 1940s and the box was evidently intended to hold the dues, fines for not bringing needlework to the meetings, greeting cards, rosters of the members and minutes.

It’s a small faded stationary box tied with a white shoestring. The story it reveals is incomplete, but it brought smiles and tears as today’s club members were reminded of long–ago friends. Two tiny notebooks date back to 1941. Some of the early members listed there were from families whose names are still familiar in Montevallo: Frost, Sharp, Baker, Jeter, Bridges, Napier, Lewis and Hubbard.

In those first years of the sewing club there was more structure than there is now. There were officers, minutes, a bank account, dues and fines. At first dues were 50 cents a month, but in the 50s they were raised to a dollar. Membership was strictly limited to 14 and new members were invited by the majority in a secret vote. If a member dared show up without sewing or other needlework they were fined 50 cents.

Today’s club is much more relaxed — no officers, minutes, dues or fines. The only designated person is the new box holder. Not many sew anymore and meetings are just all about enjoying each other. Barbara Broadhead, Sue Dawson, Mildred Doyle and Margaret Eddings are members; as are, Margie Hardin, Beverly Hitt, Elizabeth Kendrick, Dell Lagrone, Lou Thorn and Sue Wilkinson.

Because of the dwindling membership there have been rumors of disbanding the club, but mincing no words, Margaret Eddings explained, “I am the oldest (she will soon celebrate her 100th birthday), and the oldest member, and as long as I live there will be a Wednesday Afternoon Sewing Club and at least one member.”

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net