Pockets! Who knew?

tl;dr? Poetry in the form of prose is found in the oddest places.

Although this post would seem to be about pockets, it is about expertise. Celebrate the trades and the arts which may seem simple but benefit from repetition, skill, and experience — in this post, I consider pockets.

“The less I know about what you do, the easier it is for you to do it.” – Anonymous

A hobby An obsession of mine is sewing. A dear relative tripped across and sent me the Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.:Tailored Pockets booklet, Copyright, 1916, by INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING COMPANY. Copyright in Great Britain. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

And on opening the booklet, this piece of poetry in the form of prose is on the back of the front page, (my bold):


When a garment is ready for its pocket, or pockets, it has arrived at the first door of destiny, for upon the success of the pockets depends the care and deliberate pains with which the remainder of the garment is completed.

There is a feeling of responsibility when a pocket is to be made — to the skilled worker a delightful responsibility, to the less sure, an anxious one. But the moment the stitched slash is cut and the edges turned, pride take the place of concern; and from that stage to the last, the work will be interesting and painstakingly done. So skill should be at one’s command at this vital moment. Pocket-making should be happily anticipated, and pockets, no matter how simple or elaborate, should be so perfectly done that they will always prove a genuine satisfaction.

-M.B.P. , Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.

Wow. The pocket has arrived at the first door of destiny, and we are responsible, and skill should be at one’s command at this vital pocket construction moment. And wait. What? But this is just a pocket. Yes, this is a pocket so lightweight but it is loaded with the gravitas of tailored construction. Who knew it weighed so much before it is even loaded with our marbles?

Tailored pocket sample provided with the instructional booklet for Tailored Pockets, Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa. I presume this pocket was constructed by students of the institute as they practiced professional pocket construction.
I’m not going to load it with marbles. It is a thing of beauty.

A reminder that 1916 predated women’s suffrage (1920); a woman’s value was still vested in her home-making skills; WWI was underway. Over 100 years later, the attention to detail for construction of a pocket seems other-worldly. But today for this OCD sewing enthusiast, I celebrate the expertise and the painstaking construction and … the documentation!

Tailored pockets. Flap variations.

Should I need to recreate any of the above flap pockets or some patch pockets or welt pockets, I have the detailed instructions. All 37 pages. I just need to turn the page and step through that first door of pocket destiny.

For today, please consider your hobbies, activities, career, and or interests. Revel in that which causes time to stand still and “always proves a genuine satisfaction” upon completion for you.

Writing this blog is one of mine and I smile.


Post-script: I’m dropping a couple more photos from the booklet. Hands-down I would flunk the exam laid out below.

Tailoring is serious business. Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, Scranton, Pa.: Tailored Pockets, Copyright, 1916.

Question (15): What determines the width of stitching on a pocket? Answer: Duh. Well, I do!

Which is likely the wrong answer. I haven’t read close enough to find the answer but then, I have never even ever questioned that something other than me determines the width of stitching when constructing pockets.

The Table of Contents itself is an illustration of “the less I know about what you do, the easier it is [for you to do it].”

Table of Contents, 37 pages of pocket construction. Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences: Tailored Pockets, Scranton, Pa. , Copyright 1916.

The comfort of old media!

Well, maybe it is not the comfort of old media — see also this post on the New Hampshire Gazette —  but the remembrance of uncomfortable history, the recollection of past events and the effort required to preserve fight for democracy, struggle a more perfect union. Administrations lurch along the long arc of the moral universe in its bend towards justice. And it seems to me we’re on our way to peak lurch, but I digress.

The New Hampshire Gazette, (Vol. CCLXII, No. 15, April 13, 2018) reminds us that Viet Nam Veterans had to stand-down the United States Supreme Court some 47 years ago! There was no comfort. It was complicated. Enlisted troops sent to disrupt the protests were contemporaries of the protestors. It was dirty. And the war didn’t end until 1975.

But Viet Nam veterans struggled the union.

Keyboard warrior-ing away in the comfort of Frood’s¹ living room, I’m reminded by a print newspaper that I have been complacent in the belief that the long arc of the moral universe would bend without any action required on my part. But Black Lives Matter marches, the Women’s March on Washington, the March For Our Lives , voting rights, women’s rights, and all the rest — it’s nice to be complicitly lulled into complacency — are reminders that freedom is protected, guarded, and earned by feet in the street and it ain’t easy. It is not comfortable. It is not without risk to livelihood, life and limb in the pursuit of liberty. 

Struggling a more perfect union is work. It has been since 1776.  

Buckle up.

And the print media dramatically reminds us that Wolf the Quarrelsome had a style that our current politicians, try as they might to disembowel us, can only aspire to mimic through enactment of policy, laws, and entanglements.

Keep trying, Ted!

And over the weekend at the annual White House Correspondents annual roast, comedian Michelle Wolf the Quarrelsome disemboweled reminded us that the media — the barking dogs in a race to see who can bark loudest but not longest or rightest — are in on the current ugly lurch.

“You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off him.”

Michelle Wolf, April 28, 2018 WHCA dinner

And then to prove that’s how they make their money her point, the media-internet-immediate-Twitter-verse went wild. Apologies ensued from the media to paid pathological liars who pretty as they are or aren’t, lie. Liars in a room full of media barking dogs who can’t take the time to lather find the truth, rinse stick to it, and repeat.

Flint, Michigan is still without drinking water.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Puerto Rico is still without power.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I eagerly await the next issue of the New Hampshire Gazette.

¹ Still not her real name, but it’s growing on me. 

George Orwell on blogging.

For all of the references to George Orwell’s 1984 predicting the age of Newspeak, government control, war is peace, etc. the pundits forgot to remind us that Orwell captured the essence of blogging:

“It was curious that he seemed to not merely to have lost the power of expressing himself, but even to have forgotten what it was that he had originally intended to say.”

And here we are off on Vivacation! A place of peace at last for a bit of solitude and reflection with the exception of jack-hammering away a concrete pier, the coming and going of trucks taking loads of busted stuff off to where or away, the high-pitched hum of a mosquito landing strip close by …

Aside from all of these things, setting all these things aside …

We set off to make a point …

Which was …

Something something … Orwell …

Ah yes! Blogging and the power of words. Isn’t it wonderful that 33 years past the actual year of 1984, I am reading or rereading, I don’t recall — the plot, the characters, the words seem so familiar and yet so new —  the book 1984?  And that the power of words published in 1949 reach through time and capture this blogger’s lament? Timeless.

The struggle is real.