The Story of Mama’s Miracle

My mama,

whose name was Grace

My mother was a true Southern lady. She loved to entertain friends, and her delightful table settings were as important to her as the food. Some of my earliest memories are of her standing at the sink with one of her damask or lace tablecloths in hand. She would hold it up to look for stains and then put it into a large pot to soak. My own head barely came up to the pot.

Mama had an enormous collection of linens, some of them from her family and others collected along the way. She often talked about how much love and how many hours someone had put into making each piece. It was up to us, she said, to return that love by taking care of the beautiful things they had made.

So we did, but we also used them daily. I think my love of vintage and antique linens comes from Mama’s influence: To her, they were the symbol of a gracious lifestyle. Even as a single mother, she wouldn’t give in to reduced circumstances. Our beds always had crisp white sheets and pillowcases with deep crocheted edgings. Guest towels were embroidered with pretty little flowers, and the table had an ever-changing wardrobe!

Shelley Stewart

Stains from food, spilled wine, or simple use were inevitable, yet Mama’s linens always looked fresh and pristine. No matter how how bad the stain was, she never used harsh bleach that would harm the fibers and eventually cause a hole. Instead she used her own hand-mixed ingredients—the same gentle blend I now call Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak.