Mary Anne is visiting the Stones' farm one day when Mrs. Stone asks her if she enjoys sewing. When Mary Anne tells her that she does, Mrs. Stone suggests that she meet Mrs. Towne, a neighbor of hers who does fantastic needlwork projects. Mary Anne is interested, but doesn't know how she'll arrange a meeting when she's too shy just to just go up to the door and introduce herself. It isn't until her club meeting later that someone suggests that she call Mrs. Towne. Well, DUH. Mary Anne does so, and Mrs. Towne invites her over the next day. They have tea, and talk gardening and sewing for awhile. Mrs. Towne has filled her house with her own work, and Mary Anne is impressed. She asks Mrs Towne to give her lessons, and they schedule the first one for that weekend.
When Mary Anne arrives for her lesson and knocks on the door, no one answers. She tries again before letting herself in, worried that something might be wrong. Something definitely is; Mrs. Towne had fallen and broken her ankle. Mary Anne calls 911 and her father, and they get Mrs. Towne to the hospital. She's okay, other than the ankle thing, but Mary Anne still decides to stop and and see how she's doing as often as she can.
Mrs. Towne wants to go ahead with Mary Anne's sewing lessons in spite of her injury, and when Mary Anne arrives for the first one, she notices something. Mrs. Towne's house, which had been pretty clean up to that point, is starting to get a bit cluttered. Mary Anne wants to help, so she does a little tidying and straightening. Then, Mrs. Towne gets an idea: instead of paying money for the lessons, Mary Anne could help around the house until her ankle is better. The arrangement works pretty well at first; Mary Anne is learning some new sewing techniques, and Mrs. Towne is getting the help she needs around the house. Fairly quickly, though, Mary Anne's duties at Mrs. Towne's are getting in the way of everything else in her life. She's late for a BSC meeting, has to leave a few meetings early to help Mrs. Towne, and bails on plans with her friends. It's not as if Mrs. Towne even needs all the help she's getting from Mary Anne; her ankle is healing nicely, and she's able to be up and active with the help of canes. Mary Anne finally decides that she needs to have a talk with Mrs. Towne, and tells her that while she doesn't mind helping out, she can't always be available to do so whenever Mrs. Towne wants. Mrs. Towne apologizes, and decides to hire a housekeeper to help her around the house from time to time, so she can relax and enjoy things a little more.
While Mary Anne is receiving sewing lessons, she's also giving them to a class comprised of (who else?) baby sitting charges. The kids decide to make a quilt as a get well present for Mrs. Towne, and they're all having fun with the project. They're having fun, that is, until Buddy Barrett and Nicky Pike leave the class. Someone at school had been making fun of them for being involved in a girls' activity, so they go overboard trying to be macho and manly. They're back in class in time to finish the quilt, though.
Thoughts and Things
- I'm really surprised that Ann didn't write this book, since she's so into sewing herself.
- Oh, lord....Carolyn on the cover. She looks like some reject from an 80s music video. No...an 80s exercise video.
- I wonder if the title is supposed to be a pun. "Maid Mary Anne" sound like "Maid Marian."
- This book was better than I remember it being when I read it before.
- Lots of "Dawn wants to go back to CA" foreshadowing.