In the corner of my mother's bedroom was an old "Butterfly" sewing machine. The foot pedal was a bit loose and no longer easy to step on due to its age. The belt connecting the headstock to the spinning wheel had deteriorated, and the leather strips were a bit stiff. The duck feet were worn out and deformed, and the wood grain board of the machine was old and weathered. Nevertheless, my mother can occasionally move out to use. The alignment is already crooked, uneven, I said to my mother, how about throwing it away? I'll buy a new one for you, and buy an electric one to save some energy. My mother shook her head and said, "Although this sewing machine is old, I used to rely on it to sew thousands of clothes and pants, so it is a great credit. When my mother was free, she would take a soft cloth and wipe it several times, then use a small oil pot to oil the key parts of the machine, and carefully cover it with a gold velvet cloth when it was not in use, for fear of dust. This sewing machine has been with my mother for decades and has supported our family of seven children. We moved several times, but no matter where we moved to, my mother always took it with her.
My mother started learning to sew at the age of fourteen under a master. After three years with the master, she learned to cut, sew, iron and plate buttons. After she left the division, she went to the sewing group of the production brigade, and at that time, the food and money were all based on work points. My father was always away and did not come home often, so the burden of providing for the family fell on my mother's shoulders. In order to feed us, my mother worked overtime day and night. As far as I can remember, except for the Spring Festival, she did not have a day off.
Later, when the sewing group of the brigade was disbanded and the machines were depreciated, my mother used the money she had saved to buy the sewing machine that had been with her for many years and moved home to open a sewing store. Every month, she paid the production team an accumulation of money and earned one month's wages. Later, when the production team was disbanded and the rural land was enfranchised to the households, in order to support her seven children, my mother decided to expand and bought a bee sewing machine and a hemming machine made in the sea. My mother took on an apprentice, and after the master apprentice left, the family was short of hands, so my second sister and I had to drop out of school to help the family. My grades were always good and I was petite, while my second sister's grades were different, but she was tall and strong, and she had just graduated from elementary school that year, so my mother decided to let her learn to sew. At a young age, she stayed home to help run the business and take care of her younger siblings.
Her mother was very good at sewing and was kind and friendly, and she had an endless supply of clothes to sew and business to take on every day. She only hated that she had too few hands. She often worked late into the night. Especially at the end of the year, when families bought new clothes, my mother worked day and night with a pot of charcoal and a pair of palm socks (the kind of socks made of palm mats, which were hot to wear), so that everyone could wear new clothes during the New Year.
As the siblings grew up, they would sometimes get involved after school, and the handy ones would help their mother thread the needle, sew the buttons and lock the edges, cut the threads, and iron the clothes. The clever ones would deliver and collect money. The clumsy ones cooked and took care of their younger siblings. The family was clearly divided and functioning. In order to increase our participation, my mother will give us appropriate pay, lock buttonhole nail button three cents per piece of clothing. Ironing a piece of three cents, a week a settlement. In those days we kids had a little pocket money in our hands was a kind of happiness, you can buy their favorite candy to eat. Later on, when the children were a little older, they were able to sew their own pants and undershirts on the machine and these simple things.
The rituals of the New Year were mainly reflected in wearing new clothes, eating good food and setting off firecrackers. Mother's business is busy, regardless of the affluent or strapped for cash, will certainly buy good fabric to sew a new set of clothes for each person. I remember one year on the twenty-ninth day of the lunar month, after busy with other people's clothes, it was already night, in order to let the children can wear new clothes, and then late or one by one for us to tailor the clothes. That night in the mountainous countryside was so quiet that the sound of my mother's sewing machine was heard from far away. No one knew how late my mother had been working. But when I opened my eyes in the morning, I found a new set of clothes at the end of each person's bed. It was as if my mother's body heat was still on them. When we got up and dressed, our mother had already cooked some big, round dumplings waiting for us. After eating the dumplings, the siblings went out in a flurry, standing on the street like little gods, their new clothes neat and stylish, attracting the envy of their friends. Every year, the Spring Festival was our happiest day, and our mother would take two days off after a busy year to cook delicious food for us and sew and wash for us.
It was a pity that the second sister dropped out of school, but with her participation, the remaining siblings could go to school without fear, and with her participation, the family's life became better and better. When the second sister got married, her mother gave her a newer Bee sewing machine to keep as a souvenir. Perhaps dropping out of school broke her heart, and she never returned to her old job after she married, but the sewing machine is still in her home today.
In those days of material scarcity, the sewing machine was the most valuable thing in our family, and with two machines, my mother was able to support our seven children. After we finished school, some of us graduated and became civil servants, some became teachers in primary and secondary schools. Some went into factories, some became micro-enterprise owners. The aggrieved and hardworking second sister went to school for the shortest time, although she did not complain, but our hearts are still guilty, siblings have more respect and gratitude to her. Although the seven children's achievements are ordinary, but all family happiness, harmony and happiness
Mill said that mother's love is the greatest power in the world. Over the years, my mother's face seemed to be invisible to worry, often with a light smile. Mother often proudly said that her life's achievement is to raise our seven children, all the savings are in the seven children. The children are old and the mother is getting old, because when she was young she was accompanied by oil lamps all the time, her eyes have long become ill. Although she had glasses, she always walked with a high step and a low step. At night, it was even worse.
Now, whenever I go back to my mother's house and see the sewing machine in the corner, I feel as if I see the figure of my mother when she was young, and I see the way she worked, and the clattering sound keeps echoing in my ears, like a beautiful song. This song grew up with us, warming our childhood and teenage and the joyful home. Thank you to our mother for bringing us into the world and for raising us to adulthood. And thank you for the old antique sewing machine. Thank you!