071016 Human Condition.jpg _lowres

Advocate illustration by JOHN GIPSON

I’m mourning the impending loss of Hancock Fabrics just like I would the death of a good friend.

I have spent countless hours browsing the aisles and searching for the perfect piece of fabric for a household project or costumes for my daughters.

We lived near one for 26 years, and it was always easy to zip into the store to get whatever the project called for. It just always seemed welcoming, comfortable and cozy and had that “at home” feel. The staff was always willing to help and knew what I needed to accomplish my task. And if they didn’t know, then they would find somebody who could help.

Whether it was fabric for a bassinet skirt, buttons for a First Communion dress or upholstery fabric for the family room’s window cornice board, I could usually find what I needed.

When it came time for a holiday, or if LSU was in the middle of football season, there was usually something that would work. By the time I checked out, I had my fabric, pattern or embroidery floss in hand and knew what I had to do to achieve my goal.

I recall the endless supply of ribbons to make hair bows for my daughters. And I can’t forget the years when I needed hundreds of sequins for their dance recital or school costumes. The seemingly endless supply of thread, glue and glitter was always readily available to help complete the project.

I could spend an hour or more casually looking through pattern books for Halloween costumes that would make my daughters look like a witch or Cinderella. And then I would carefully scan the rows and rows of fabric to find just the one that would work.

At Mardi Gras, bolts of purple, green and gold fabrics could be transformed into outfits for our family of parade-goers. At Easter, there were lots of bunny prints for dresses and even baskets to welcome the Easter bunny. The July 4th red, white and blue prints seemed to scream “Independence Day.”

No holiday went by without a trip to Hancock’s. Stockings (and stocking stuffers) were not complete without initials or names upon their cuffs. In later years, lots of odds and ends showed up by the front door or at the register, triggering thoughts and ideas about how this or that might work into the project I had in the back of my mind.

And then, of course, there was the remnant table — a place where I found a gorgeous piece of rose-colored moiré to cover a scrapbook for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. I still remember the moment I found that fabric, almost like a diamond in the rough.

I never sewed for myself, opting instead to create just the right look for my two daughters or my home. If I was uninspired when I went into Hancock’s, I usually came out happy and ready to create.

So long my friend. I treasure the good times spent within your walls. Memories started there. I, along with many others who love to sew, will miss you.

— Trick lives in Baton Rouge

Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. There is no payment, and stories will be edited. Authors should include their city of residence.