A Featherweight with Weight

Every once in a while I hear a story that just can not be forgotten.  A story that needs to be written down and shared.  Today is one of those days and I pray that I do it justice.  It is a story about a family whose love and devotion to one another is evident even in death.   I was honored to be able to hear this story and pass it on.

The Kline family has been friends of ours for so many years that I cannot imagine not knowing them.  Our parents were friends and our moms had a friendship which lasted over 60 years until recently when Virginia slipped into the arms of her heavenly Father on the same day that my own father passed 18 years ago.  This past week we all had the opportunity to see a few of the family and catch up and it was a wonderful time of sharing.

This was a family with a lot going on. With 6 children there was always something happening and add to the mix that it was a preacher’s family and that always added to the excitement.  It is going to be difficult to limit my words today because I want to make sure that the background is set but let’s just say that this family saw its fair share of trials and tribulation.

Bob was a young father married to Ida Mae with 2 small little girls, Roberta and Rebecca.  A tragic accident occurred in 1953 and Bob lost his Ida Mae and was faced with raising a 6 month old and a 2 year old on his own.  Enter Virginia Mae.   Yep, same middle name.   They fell in love and married when the baby (Rebecca)  was about 2 and went on to have 4 sons together.  Their marriage was a strong one that saw 50 years before Bob’s death in 2004.

Throughout their lives Bob and Virginia always provided for their family and surrounded them with love and support and respect.   They sought to live out their lives as the good Christians that they were and were always concerned with making sure that their children were safe and knew that they were loved.   They wanted things to be fair and equal and I am sure with 6 children that was a struggle at times.

With the death of their mother the children gathered together to grieve, plan and share what needed to be done to handle the estate issues that always come with the death of a loved one.  Virginia had fretted at times about making sure that things were fair.  The one thing that caused her the most concern was a sewing machine.  You see Virginia was an avid quilter.  Her casket was draped in a quilt as quilting  was what she loved to do.  The machine that she went back to time and time again was a vintage Singer Featherweight machine.  But even that machine had a story.  It was a gift from Bob to Ida Mae, which was later, passed on to Virginia Mae because it was such a wonderful machine.  She used that machine with love to sew clothes for her growing family and to work on the projects that she loved so much.

You can imagine that she was torn when she thought about who would get that machine after her death.  She wanted to be fair.  One of the girls should have it, after all, since it was originally the machine that their mother had been given.  But how to choose?   The oldest?  The one who sewed the most?   There seemed to be no answer.

As the family gathered to plan the service and take care of all of the things that need to be attended to during this time the son who was named the executor of the estate said that he thought he needed to take care of something.  He disappeared and when he returned he had not one but two Singer Featherweight sewing machines in his hands.  As the family looked on he explained that their mother had fretted over not being able to be fair about giving the original sewing machine to both of her daughters.  She searched until she found one that was an exact replica of the original machine.  But she did not stop there.  She took the two machines to a sewing machine repairman and asked him to totally overhaul both of them.  Take them apart and oil and put them back into perfect working order.  As the machines were handed to Roberta and Rebecca they were also told that not only were the machines in perfect working order—-their mom had requested that all of their parts be mixed up so that both had parts of the original machine.   The gift of a most generous mother touched my heart.  I am sure it touched yours.

Thank you, Robie and Rebecca for allowing me to tell your wonderful story.   God bless you. 



  1. This is such a beautiful story! And what a great way to solve the issue of who gets the sewing machine!

    • Isn’t it a fabulous thing??? I was in tears when Bill told us and I just was touched by the love. I thought he was going to say that she found another machine and had the repairman work on them and then not tell her which was which but she took it a step farther. A mother’s love indeed! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Amy Prentice says:

    I have tears in my eyes Beth Ann….what a wonderful story of a mother’s love! I can only imagine how touched the two daughters were in receiving the sewing machines. Thank you for sharing a beautiful story!

    • Thanks, Amy! It was an awesome gesture, wasn’t it? And the girls had absolutely no idea that she had done that. Amazing. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Wow. This story is incredible. Beth Ann, you need to submit what you’ve just written to a Christian publication. Does your church have a magazine that includes feature stories? You could easily develop this into one with the addition of vintage photos and current day photos. This needs to be shared with a much wider audience. Thank you for sharing this incredible example of a mother’s love with all of us.

    • Thanks so much, Audrey. It was an amazing story to me and I am sure it could be fleshed out and made much better but this was my first attempt at relating it. Thanks for your sweet words and encouragement—-I will see what I can search out!!!! 🙂

  4. Here you go, make me cry again… what a beautiful story and a beautiful gift Virginia left behind for her daughters. May they always cherish it!

  5. Rebecca Innerst says:

    WIth joy and love for mom, I read the story. You told it so beautifully and I thank you for sharing on your blog. Our friendship will continue and my “second” mom who lives nearby will always be cherished too…..we are blessed by the friendship through the years….now I must print this off and place in my treasure chest of memories! Love you!

  6. A wise and thoughtful woman.

  7. Wow. I hate to take away from your story with my words, so let me just repeat myself: Wow. Wonderful. Well told.

  8. Believe it or not,,, I got goosebumps. What a wonderful story. And a “hybid” heirloom, who’d a thunk it..

  9. Beautiful anecdote, Beth Ann!
    That was so loving and thoughtful of her: to mix up all parts, old and new…Wow.
    Touching, indeed 🙂

    • Thank you so much!!! It was an amazing story to me and I am so glad that Rebecca and Roberta said I could share it with you!!! Thanks for all the likes along the way!!! They mean a lot!

  10. Sandy Cox says:

    What a beautiful story!

    • It is indeed a wonderful story, Sandy!! Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to share—-it is one that I think needs to be spread around.

  11. Oh, I LOVE this story, Beth Ann! What an amazing metaphor for a mother’s love. Thanks for sharing it!

  12. Helen Brown says:

    I am so blessed to have had her as one of my best friends for as long as I did. I have been touched by the story. Remember, I said that you should not expect an old sewing machine. I have a newer one that has not been used much. You told the story well.

    • I know that you miss her already, Mother, and I am sorry. 😦 I am so glad that you had wonderful years of friendship that you can remember, though.

  13. Wow… what an amazing story, and what an amazing lady… you are so lucky to have had her in your life….

  14. Great story, Beth Ann! I would never have thought of that, going to the extent of swapping parts to be fair. She must have been an amazing woman.

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