Miss Mary Mack by La-D-Da stitched on Lakeside Linen "Vintage Nutmeg," 40 ct, with one strand of Kreinik Silk Mori in black. I am doing this as a stitchalong with Chelle and others.
I've never worked on a project and been so aware that the image I was stitching was evoking all sorts of specific thoughts. While I was stitching Miss Mary Mack --having restarted it, since you cannot do this over one with silk mori and stitch a full cross--I thought of so many things. The most obvious is the hand-clapping rhyme itself, Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack/All dressed in black black black. I thought of the girls I used to do those hand-clapping games with: Ashley, and Sue, and Pam, and well, Jessica was too cool to do them, but her too.
Then I remembered this thing on Zoom, "Soandso loves jam but hates jelly." It could have been Miss Mary Mack, but I don't think that's quite right. Children of the 70s? Chime in! It was in the Zoom book that I had, which is probably still in my parents' attic. Anyway, the "joke" was that the person hated one thing but loved something very similar. I can only remember the jam/jelly example. But you can't think of Zoom without remembering Bernadette. "I'm Bernadette!" Cue music, butterfly arms, butterfly arms. Remember that thing she used to do? She was so cool for someone named Bernadette.
Then I was thinking how much I hated it when people used to say "merry-mack" or "mary-mack" for the town I grew up in, Merrimack. The "i" is short, people, like in sick. I was so young to be so annoyed with people all the time (we moved out of Merrimack when I was 10). I know there are other Merrimac(k)s that are pronounced more like "merry" than "meri," but it irked me.
I kept thinking, too, how dense the silk was. I don't mean the actual number of stitches, more the color. It's a matte black and it seems like you can see the light being sucked out of the atmosphere and into that black. And for some reason, that reminded me of Victorian mourning. I think it's the long dress and unfashionable shoes she's wearing. It seems a little Victorian. All that black too.
Which reminded me of a Joyce Carol Oates novel I read. There was a character who was tall and old and dressed rather unfashionably and all in black, if I'm remembering right. I think it's Mysteries of Winterthurn. I can't remember precisely, but there may have been the suggestion that she murdered her child. That part may be confused. I'm not sure I finished the book.
And how could I not think of the Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. "O is for Olive run through by an awl." That's the only one I can remember. But they're all so sick.
Then I started thinking about the hair. It's very Medusa-like. But then I confused Medea, the mother who fed her children to her husband, with Medusa, the gorgon. And I can't think of women killing their children without reminiscing about my dissertation.
And then it was time to go to bed.