Monday, February 24, 2014


Rosanne, Ellen & Claudia in the RAIN

Many of you have seen the Facebook update I did Saturday, in which Ellen Benson, a Hip Stitch customer & dear friend, passed away.  She battled cancer on and off since February 2011, and dammit, it overtook her body.  I last saw Ellen 2 weeks ago, when I had the privilege and blessing to be able to help finish her sewing projects and visit with her.  When I left her, I hugged her and told her I loved her.  I had hoped at that time I could visit her, maybe once a week, and laugh with her, which is what we did much of together.  No one knew 2 weeks ago how fast the cancer was spreading.  I can only imagine the grief her husband is going through, and her 3 precious children.....what they understand and don't understand.  My heart aches.

If you don't mind, I'd like to share my memories of Ellen, and what she brought to Hip Stitch.....

I met her soon after our little store opened.  She came for sewing lessons, and brought her old, heavy Singer sewing machine, which if memory serves, was her grandmother's?  I taught her how to use her machine, and we struck up an instant friendship (which I'm confident everyone can say about Ellen).   She enjoyed sewing so much, she told her husband what she'd like for Christmas, and lo and behold, Walt came into the store before the holidays to ask me just which machine to buy for her.  Our friendship grew....she came in to sew when she could, being a busy mother to 2 and 1 on the way.  I learned she did photography, and approached her about taking some store pictures.  A memory I'll always cherish is of Ellen, about 8 months pregnant, climbing onto the cutting table/counter of the store to get just the right shot.  I stood below her, nervously saying "are you sure you should be doing this?"  She just casually said "psh" and kept shooting.  As her due date approached, I asked her to let me know about the arrival of the baby, not thinking I'd really be in the loop to get information of the baby's birth.  Another cherished memory:  coming in to the store and listening to messages:  her husband Walt's voice, leaving a message to let me know that baby Marek had been born, giving me the date, time, weight.

THAT was the moment:  when I realized Hip Stitch is so much more than a store.  When I realized that we'd been creating relationships, friendships, bonds, gathering the community in so many more ways than sewing.  Ellen was the force behind that moment.

So thank you for allowing me to share my memories, and shed some tears with you.   Because I know you all are ok with that.  Because you all, like Ellen, are Hip Stitch family.

1 comment:

Diane said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I got news yesterday of a past teammate that we lost suddenly over the weekend. Too much of this going on. Remember to hug your loved ones.