Snowmen. Candy canes. Wreaths. Strung together with green fabric, white fabric, red fabric, it’s a colorful display — one that Carson created but cannot see.
Carson, 94, has been completely blind since February, but she continues to produce the Christmas ornaments for sale and for friends and relatives.
“When I came to this home, I could still read, but then I wanted something to do,” she said. “Then, my eyes got bad, and then I thought, well, I’ve got to do something. … I had to keep my hands busy.”
Carson said she has sewn throughout her life, starting with doll clothes she made for her daughter, Shirley. She estimates she has sold between 30 and 40 ornaments, and she plans to sew hearts for Valentine’s Day and crosses and colorful eggs for Easter.
The native of McKinney, Texas, said she often dreams up new designs for her creations.
Though her hands shake as she assembles the gifts, Carson said she has never cut herself. A pair of pink-handled scissors hangs from a white necklace of yarn. With precision that defies her lost eyesight, Carson knows when and where to cut.
Carson no longer sees what color yarn is in her hands, but she knows whether she’s working with white or red based on from which chair-side drawer she retrieved it.
Lately, Carson has taught some friends how to create the ornaments.
“I’ll leave here in the afternoon and I’ll be so happy that we finished something, and I go home,” friend Pat Cowan said, “and then I’m back in the next morning, and she says, ‘Guess what, I got a project, we’re going to do this.’
“It’s never a dull moment. Her hands are always moving.”
She has also taught at churches and at the Lolly Hansen Senior Center, said Cowan, who is a regular visitor to Carson’s room for sewing lessons, along with Linda Spence.
Though she’s 94, Carson has a sharp mind and a quick Texan wit. She remembers the exact day she moved from McKinney to Tracy — Jan. 29, 1941 — and notes that back then, about 4,800 people lived in the railroad town.
Carson remembers when the J.C. Penney department store and three dime stores made up downtown. She claims to have hosted Tracy’s first garage sale, on Dec. 1, 1962, saying she sold everything by noon.
She didn’t say any one thing or another helped her live a long, healthy, active life. She did say that she has never had a drop of alcohol and that she looks to religion as her passion.
Regardless of the reason, her friends are happy she’s around.
“She’s a godsend,” said Cowan, who met Carson through Journey Christian Church. “I was lost, doing whatever, and she’s given me a purpose. I’m having more fun with this. When I visit my grandchildren, they sit down and do these crafts with me that I’ve learned from her. I think God really did bring us together.”
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