Yesterday would have been my Memaw's 109 birthday. She was born February 13, 1900 and in 1913, she was 13 on the 13th. It was so easy to keep track of her age because she followed the years on the calendar. Memaw left this world in 1983, I was pregnant with my second daughter. She was feisty right to the end and was only sick for a brief time. I write this post surrounded by some of the yarn projects that I have started because Memaw is the person that taught me the love of yarn and crocheting, her teaching skills were great but knitting sort of escaped me until recently.
As a little girl I always remember her riding the city bus to our house, she would call and tell us that she was coming and a little while later, my sister and I would cross the street and stand at the bus stop and wait for her. As soon as she would get to our house she would round the corner into the dining room and reach under her dress, make a few quick unhooks and pull off her girdle and hose in one motion. She had to have that girdle for the 10 mile bus ride!
She had several unsuccessful attempts at driving that would deserve a post all their own...or maybe a short novel. She lost her husband, my Papa to cancer in 1962 and the city bus was a great source of transportation for her and in later years when bus service was not as good, her children and grandchildren were her transportation and despite her lack of driving skills she always managed to tell us how to drive.
She would allow us to sit on the back of the couch and brush her hair. It was an activity we always fought over. She had thick, naturally wavy gray blue hair and it must have fascinated us because we never tired of brushing it. Her fingernails were always painted a bright red and she had beautiful long fingernails. I did not inherit the wavy hair or long fingernails!
What I did inherit from her was her love of knitting and crocheting and all things yarn and fibers. No matter where she went she always had a bag of yarn and a project that she was working on. It fascinated me to see the metal needles and hooks flying through the yarn. I loved the colors of the yarns, all fuzzy and soft and the shiny metallic of the hook or needles flying through it. She was the source of potholders for my Mom, fancy ones with flowers on them, ponchos and sweaters for me and when potholder vests were in style, (the 60's that some of you may not remember) I had the coolest ones.
I was probably 12 or 13 when she started to teach me to knit and crochet and while that was probably not something that you wanted all your friends to know that you did, I loved it. I struggled with it...learning to loosen up, learning to get the tension right and most of all, learning to follow a pattern without her looking over my shoulder constantly. What patience she had with me!
As I started this afghan yesterday for my new granddaughter that will arrive in June, it prompted me to remember Memaw, the things that she taught me that I hope to pass on to my grandchildren, not the needlework skills, but the time and patience and love that she always had for me. After all these years, I still miss her.