by Adam Grobman
When Natalie Damrauer started sewing in school during the 8th grade, she knew that she was learning a skill that could come in handy someday. She just didn’t know how important that skill might become.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, many community members, finding themselves maskless, are wishing they hadn’t set their thimbles down all those years ago. That’s, at least, one thing that Natalie doesn’t need to worry about.
“I had not been sewing masks, but when a friend asked if I made them, my response was ‘No, but do you need?,’” she says. “Of course I made them, and now I’ve lost count of how many I’ve created.”
Natalie has been busy stitching her way into the hearts of fellow community members, creating protective masks on request out of whatever material she has on hand. She sells them for between $5 -$8, but provides for family and members of her synagogue Chisuk Emuna free of charge.
This is not the first time Natalie’s creativity has been on display. When her wife, Kim, died on Valentine’s Day 2019, she began creating MemoryBears from Kim’s clothing to share with Kim’s office and cancer infusion site. “People were thrilled to have her ‘energy’ with them through these KimmyBears,” she says. “Now, I’ve been contacted and sent articles of clothing from others who have passed to create MemoryBears for them!”
A regular member of the JCC’s Senior Adult Club, Natalie is thankful to be able to see her friends on Zoom, and in addition to sewing masks, has kept busy by knitting, crocheting, and playing the ukulele. “I miss being able to socialize face-to-face!” she says.
As many with sought-after skills can relate, Natalie says that she hadn’t planned to become the community seamstress, but is nonetheless happy to help. “This wasn’t a choice, but I wasn’t about to turn my dear friend down when she asked,” she says. “Word spread!”
To order your own protective masks from Natalie, inquire by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.