A friend of mine, Verna Moss, posted a picture of a pin cushion on Facebook. I made a comment about it and was treated to this wonderful story. I asked permission to share it, and graciously, my friend has allowed me to share the picture and the lovely tale.

verna's grandmother

My grandma, Hannah Burton-Hall-Warren, my dad’s mother, made this pin cushion when she was 90 years old and totally blind. You can tell by the long, running stitches that she had to do this by feel and what she could “see” in her mind. She made many projects such as stuffed dolls, aprons, and pin cushions without assistance other than she would have us to match up fabric, lace, and thread, etc. We would put a safety pin on the “right” side of the fabric so it wouldn’t be wrong side up.
Grandma was born with limited vision – she could read by holding a book up close or using a magnifying glass. She had a cornea transplant in her 60’s but it failed and she was then totally blind for the remainder of her life. Because of her poor vision, they didn’t send her to school; but, she outsmarted them by teaching herself how to get by in life. For the most part, she raised 3 children by herself – her husband, Marian Burton, had TB and died at an early age. Grandma took in laundry; ironed clothes; raised big gardens and canned; she raised, butchered and sold chickens and eggs. . She did whatever she could to feed and clothe her family – she didn’t live on welfare or handouts – she worked hard to survive. Grandma was very independent and came up with many creative techniques for everyday life. To prevent overfilling a cup, she would put her thumb inside the rim to judge how full the cup was; when writing letters or shopping lists, she would put a rubber band around a stenographer notebook to determine where to place the ink pen and then roll the rubber band down the paper to prevent writing on top of each line. She would have us sort her money out and then she would fold each bill a different way according to its denomination – she always knew exactly how much money she had. To sweep, she would sit in the floor with an old rag and a dust pan and “sweep” the dirt into the dust pan. She died at the age of 97. She never considered herself old, in her late 80’s, she would still say, “When I get old …” She was quite a lady!! I wish her great-great grandkids would have had an opportunity to know her; she was a master at storytelling and loved nothing more than spending time with children. After my mother died in 1955, both of my grandmothers, Grandma Hall and Grandma Angel, helped Daddy to care for us. Grandma Hall came to the “old store” and helped Daddy care for us and the store until he remarried in 1956.

Grandparents are such a treasure!