Readers, my mom—and my textile-history-rich hometown, especially its schoolchildren!—need your help.
I may have mentioned my amazing mom Beryl Reid a time or two or three zillion. My mom is the kind of woman who can do ANYTHING. When she's visiting I might come home from work to discover she's reupholstered all the furniture in fabulous fabric with lovely piping, sewn up 67 cloth diapers and a bevy of baby carriers, repaired the bookshelf, designed several dozen intricate three-dimensional building models to appear on Google Earth and done some intense genealogical research--all while my daughter was napping after a fun-filled trip to the Central Park Zoo.
Well, maybe not all in one naptime. Anyway, I bring her to your attention once again because her Lowell collection--200+ three-dimensional models of buildings in my hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, which you can see on Google Earth--is one of only 6 finalists worldwide in Google's "Model Your Town" contest. Guys and gals, this is a really big deal! And she needs YOUR vote to win! (You can vote here--make sure to click on her set of models before voting, or it'll accidentally vote for a different set).
What's the sewing connection? Seriously, it doesn't get more textile-tastic than Lowell.
- Lowell is a national historic park. Really, my hometown is a park, dedicated to American textile history. Everywhere you go, you'll see canals, old mill buildings, working trolleys, giant spindle sculptures... and that's because (from the park website):
Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers [Mikhaela note: the famous "mill girls"] – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Explore Lowell, a living monument to the dynamic human story of the Industrial Revolution.
- Today, Lowell is the home of the American Textile History Museum and the New England Quilt Museum.
- Our minor league baseball team is called the Spinners, and the logo is... a spindle. Yes. We are serious about textiles.
- Typical class projects and field trips for Lowell public school students include: learning how to spin, weave and quilt.
- Knitters take note: until recently, Lowell was the manufacturing home of Classic Elite yarns... sadly their production has moved overseas and the Hub Mills factory outlet store I used to frequent when I was learning to knit is gone to a nearby town, too.
Also, if my mom wins, the prize is a donation of $25,000 to the Lowell public schools—very fitting, since my parents are both retired public school teachers, and my brother and I both attended the Lowell public schools. Lowell is a large, diverse working-class city made of up immigrants and their descendents from many eras, from the Irish workers who originally worked in the mills in the 1800s to Cambodian refugees who resettled in Lowell in the 1980s. And the schools could really use the funds.
P.S. My husband and I had our wedding in Lowell, in a park right by one of the old boarding houses the mill girls used to live in: