Once, several years ago, Anastasia’s parents had had a huge fight about sewing. Her mother was sewing some buttons onto something at the time and had just pricked her finger with the needle, and she had the tip of her finger in her mouth, sucking it, when suddenly she got mad.
“This is the most sexist household in Cambridge,” she had announced angrily. “Why is it that the wife gets stuck with the sewing? Myron, you do some of the cooking. Will you tell me one good reason why you don’t sew?”
“Because I don’t know how,” her father had said, chewing on his pipe.
“I’ll teach you, then.”
“Thank you, but I don’t want to know how to sew.”
Her mother sat there for a minute, sucking her finger, looking madder and madder. “In that case,” she said finally, “thank you, but I don’t want to do any laundry anymore. Ever.”
“In that case,” said her father, “I don’t think I want to be an English professor anymore. I have always, if you must know, wanted to be a beachcomber. So I think that from now on I will walk on empty beaches — all alone, by the way — and recite poetry to myself. Of course that means that there will be no more paychecks.”
Anastasia’s mother folded the shirt which was still missing two buttons, very neatly, and laid it on the table. “As a matter of fact, I have been wanting for a long time to go to the Cotswolds and live in a small cottage with a thatched roof — all alone, by the way — and paint.”
Anastasia had scurried away to her room, terrified. If her father became a beachcomber — all alone — and her mother went to the Cotswolds, whatever the Cotswolds were — all alone — what would happen to Anastasia?
But after a while, she heard her parents laughing. When she went back to where they were, her mother was giggling and had her father’s pipe in her mouth, and her father was sewing a button on his shirt.
Since then, her mother had always done all the sewing.
From: Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry