Now that my memoir, Sidonia’s Thread, is published, I think it is a good time to recall the blog post that originally initiated this website, “Why I Decided to Write My Story.” With the book’s publication, I can finally reveal the secrets that I have held inside my whole life. We all have them, yet we are reluctant to release them to even the best of friends. Perhaps we feel we will be judged too harshly by others or that no one can relate to them. The reasons need not be rational. Sidonia’s Thread reveals the pride, extraordinary talent, self-reliance, resilience, deep love, and yes, the secrets that shaped me into the person I have become.
Keeping secrets with my mother had a stranglehold on me. Not a day went by when I didn’t think about asking the questions my mother didn’t want to hear—about the identity of my father, about the real reasons for her isolated life, her fabricated age, and more. But I never could bring myself to pose the questions. When I finally discovered the truth about her secrets, I never revealed it to her for fear of driving her to the point of madness. In the end, we both held our secrets tight on the inside, too afraid of hurting the other.
But ultimately, most secrets between parents and children need to be revealed. I wish I had begun to share my discoveries with my mother before her death in 2006, and to tell her I loved her no matter what I learned about her past, but her descent into dementia over the last three years of her life made it impossible. It was too late to bare my discoveries to her, but there was still time to share them with others. Writing my story about my relationship with the person who was my only family as a child not only allowed me to come to terms with my conflicted emotions about my mother, but to share her unique, determined, clever, and talented character.
My mother had a way with thread whether sewing by hand or sewing machine. The stitches she crafted resulted in the most stunning, head-turning garments, attracting the attention of many women in our area of New England. Our bond during our life together centered on our partnership in showcasing her genius for fashion design and creation.
The themes of my story contain a common thread with the stories of millions of others in America and around the world—immigration and passage to a new country, sewing and handicraft, single parents and their children, trauma survivors and their families, fashion, strong women, and Holocaust survivors and their descendents. I hope my story inspires and resonates with you.