Ninety words for Sara
A gift for Sara, on her 90th birthday, from her son.
A fabric cover for Sara’s memoir embroidered with ninety words taken from her printed text.
Before her ninetieth birthday Sara decided to write a memoir. Her son Yaacov assisted her in the publishing of her book. Sara’s wish to tell her story and her hopes that it will bring the past closer to the present, brought about the idea to create this gift; a gift that will serve as a bridge across family generations and symbolize the connection between past and present.
The gift was a fabric book cover, tailor-made for Sara’s memoir and embroidered with an excerpt from her text. The cover consisted of embroidered napkins Sara had made “when she had time, during one of the wars” and had given to her son Yaacov as a holiday gift.
Next to Sara’s embroidered hems and flowers, were ninety words from the memoir. Although the words describe Pesia, Sara’s mother, their use in the cover illustrates the transition from the mother to her daughter and portrays Sara as a moral and inspiring person, just as her mother was.
And so, the napkins given to Yaacov are regifted to his mother Sara, and the words of appreciation she has used as a daughter to describe her own mother take new form and come to describe her own son’s appreciation of her, as his mother.
The ninety embroidered words (translated from Hebrew):
“I had a happy childhood mostly thanks to my mother. She taught me to stand for myself and instilled in me the best of her qualities – social sensitivity, decency, integrity, thoughtfulness and compassion. My mother gave meaning to my life. For that I thank her. She made me who I am today.
My mother had a great influence on my perception of life. From her, I learned the importance of persistence and the meaning of independence – obligations as well as rights. She raised me on values of tolerance and human dignity, compassion and helping those in need. My mother instilled in me the curiosity to learn, the desire to know more and the love of books.“
When I asked her what the embroidered words on the napkins say, at first, she did not recognize that I chose to use her own words in which she described her mother to describe her. When she realized this, tears came to her eyes.