I told you a little bit about Nadezhda in an earlier post, but I wanted to add some things I found out about her while we were having tea together.
In her flat I saw several large, framed, cross stitch pictures. I asked about them because they were so intricate and delicate. Beautiful lilacs, roses, and other designs were on pictures, table runners, and pillows.
I was so impressed that Nadezhda had done them all. I couldn't cross stitch my way out of a paper bag with the instructions in "Cross stitch for Dummies" style and the picture pre-printed on easy to stitch cloth!
Rita began to tell me the stories behind the pictures. It was unbelievable to me the lenghts she went to in order to create something of such beauty. The picture of the lilac's really caught my eye. The colors were gorgeous, and the stitches so even and perfect. It looked like it had come from a very expensive pre-made kit. It picqued my interest, so I asked about it specifically.
Nadezhda apologized for the look of the material that the picture was stitched on. She told me she couldn't wash it because it might fall apart. I was thinking, "well, it looks very old. so that is probably why it would fall apart." When Rita explained to me WHY it would fall apart, I was even more amazed at the beauty of the piece.
The picture was done during WW II, and there were shortages of everything, including thread. Nadezhda had collected small pieces of colored thread off of worn out clothes, towels, sheets...anything that she could put her hands on. Because she could not purchase matching thread at a store, she had to collect what thread she could and match it herself. And because she was using whatever thread she could get ahold of, some of the pieces were long and some were very short. That would make it very difficult to clean because of the differing lenghts of thread. I studied that picture and could not believe something that beautiful came from bits and pieces of throw away materials. What patience it must have taken!
That was not the only surprise I got during that visit. This little 5 foot package of womanhood had more to her than fabulous cross stitching abilities! She was the Ukrainian version of "Rosie the Riveter". Sort of...
She didn't actually rivet planes and such together...but what she did amazed me in so many ways!
Our little Nadezhda, sweet little thing with a HUGE heart, the one who looked like she wouldn't hurt a fly...was a truck driver during the war. Not only was she a truck driver, but she was a munitions truck driver! She drove those big trucks from the munitions factory to the front line areas where they would disperse them to troops.
Nadezhda...drove a munitions truck? Rita called it a "Studebaker" truck. I'm still shaking my head over the fact that she drove several hours with a truck load of ammunition in the back! What courage and determination that tiny little lady has!
I'm just so blessed to know her, and I am VERY glad that I am on HER side and not going to have to "go to fist city" over ANYTHING!!