For Whom the Pillowcase Waits

HB-pillowcasesI just may burn in Hell for it, but I’m using my Holy Bible pillowcases. I purchased the pair for $4 at a church garage sale on a summer Saturday morning. I was drawn to the hand stitched Bibles and flowers and crocheted lace trim in shades of yellow, pink, blue, and green. Crisply starched, pressed, and never used, the pillowcases had been hand stitched by a church lady some time ago. She may have been old or she may have been young, but in either case she was a talented crafter.

I collect and use vintage cotton pillowcases that feature handmade handiwork. A few were made by my grandmother, but most were carefully stitched by crafty ladies I never knew. I’m always delighted, while at the same time, slightly saddened, to find such fine examples of domestic art left unused.

I’m not the most religious person. However, it seems to me it would be an original sin to not use beautiful pillowcases, particularly Holy Bible pillowcases, for their original, fundamental purpose — to cover a pillow on which to rest a weary head, on the seventh or any other day. Thus, I wonder: For what purpose had the stitcher been saving them? Why had they never been used? And why did they end up at a garage sale?

Perhaps the stitcher, or more likely, whoever cleaned out the stitcher’s home after she passed on, didn’t need any more pillowcases. Perhaps the cleaner-outer was not aware of the love and care sewn with every decorative stitch. Or maybe he or she simply thought that Holy Bible pillowcases could likely find a buyer at the church sale and fetch a few bucks for the local House of God.

I have questions about my pillowcases’ backstory. But whenever I lay me down to sleep, an embroidered Bible below my head, I need not ask for whom the pillowcase waits. It waits for me.

Laura Sternweis

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