2020 was the year that sewist became the Rosie Riverter’s of the world! We fired up our machines and Masked America!
As a child, I would play the game “let’s go on a lion hunt” with my cousins and friends. We began by sitting in a circle, clapping out a beat, clap, clap, then two more claps on our legs, to build momentum for what was to come. As the beat became louder, we would shout “got your hat, got your coat, got your boots, got your gun…” Once we felt well equipped for what lay ahead, someone would shout “Let’s Go” and off we went on this imaginary journey.
If you have played this game, then you are aware there were obstacles to overcome, the first was usually a wide river. The clapping would stop, and, as we assessed the situation, someone would shout, “can’t we go around it”? The group would reply, “NO”. Can’t go over it, can’t go under it. Then the next question was asked, “can we go through it”? The reply, “NO”. Then the decision was made to go through it together. Again, someone shouted, “Let’s go,” and in unison, the clapping began to meet and defeat every barrier we encountered. After each victory, we always said, “WHEW, we made it!”
It’s funny what I remember most about this imaginary journey. It’s not seeking the lion, but it’s the faces of the ones I was with, the circle made up of my brothers, cousins and friends. I recall how we came together in unison, marched to the same beat, and each time an obstacle was conquered, we looked back and said “whew, we made it!” It’s kind of like this year.
Many of us had a vision of what 2020 was going to look like. I know I did. Just 10 months earlier, I had taken on one of the most exciting positions in my sewing career. But, only weeks away from carrying out my new duties as the director of Workroom Central, all plans came to an abrupt halt. Together we had to assess what our next steps would be. We were on hold.
Fewer than 24 hours later, I received a private message, asking for my help to spread the word that the Boston area had been hit hard by COVID-19. The first responders in this area desperately needed masks due to the shortage of PPE. The very next day the group Mask America was born.
Perhaps like me, you did not think you were equipped to weather the storm of a pandemic, but unknowingly you were. Each of you put all selfish thoughts aside and stormed the group, armed to meet each obstacle together. We had talent, machines, supplies and fabric. When we ran out of supplies, you were innovative, caring, supportive and resilient.