Thursday, January 29, 2015


I want to tell you a neat story.  I grew up with a lot of craftsmen and craftswomen.  Most of the men in our family worked with their hands in the construction industry.  My mother was a craftswoman who did wonderful embroidery.  I still have and treasure some pillowslips she made.  One of my grandmothers tatted and another grandmother made some quilts.  But the person I want to talk about today is my Aunt Thelma.  

Aunt Thelma was a remarkable woman.  I was only twelve years old when Aunt Thelma became a widow.  It was not until many years later when I became a widow at an early age that I truly appreciated what she had been faced with and what she accomplished over the years of being a single parent.

She did not finish her college degree before marriage.  She married and had her family and, all of a sudden one day, she finds herself a widow when my uncle suffered a heart attack and passed away.  I am sure there was not a lot of money saved up at this time.  They were simply too young to have amassed a large nest egg.  She was left with two children to support.  One on the cusp of being a teen and another who was a teen.

Besides providing food and shelter she needed to see to their education.  She went back to school and got herself a teaching certificate that allowed her to get a job in the public schools.  She became a very beloved teacher over the years and many of her students were grateful to her for the start she gave them in their elementary education.

During all of these years I was aware that she was a craftswoman.  She crocheted the most beautiful table cloths, baby blankets, and doilies.  You know, those doilies that were starched to stand up with the ruffles around the base of a lamp?

In her later years, she was suffering some health issues.  Her children by this time had moved out of state and my mother had passed away.  I went to visit her from time to time and we would have wonderful conversations.  She was a little annoyed with me because I left class room teaching and was pursuing jobs in sales and advertising.  She thought I was wasting my education.  She knew how valuable her teaching certificate had been to her and she knew there would always be a need for teachers and that I should keep my teaching certificate and practice up to date.

During these visits she was often crocheting something.  One of those times she was making this beautiful piece with butterflies on it.  I admired it and she explained the pattern to me.  She said she would make it one block at a time and then join them.  I understood what she was saying.  I later came to understand that what she was talking about at the corner joins would be called a "secondary pattern" formed by the four blocks.

On this particular day she asked me if I could crochet.  I told her I knew the basics.  She said she thought I was smart enough to read a pattern and that she knew I could count.  So she gave me the table cloth she was working on and told me to take it and finish it.  It was a stack of blocks that I needed to assemble.  She did explain the joining stitch to me and I thought I got it.  Not so much when I started working on it later.

I did try to finish it, but I am only a casual crocheter (is that even a word), and there was no way that I could put all these blocks together as well as she did.  So I put it in a drawer for safe keeping and thought that someday I would get someone to help me.  That day has not come.

Recently I was talking with her daughter and the subject of her mother's work came up.  I told her that I had a piece of her mom's work.  My cousin then told me that the wedding table cloth that her mother had made for her was lost in one of her many moves.  And that table cloth had been promised to my cousin's daughter, Aunt Thelma's granddaughter, when the cousin passed. 

I may not be smart enough to finish a table cloth made by a master; but I am smart enough to know when I have something in my possession that should live with someone else.  I want her granddaughter to have her grandmother's table cloth.

It took me a few days to find it.  It has been stored away too long.

So this beautiful table cloth is going home. . .  
Yes, this is where it belongs. . .
I am sending it with a lot of love for and beautiful memories of a woman that I admired when I was a young girl and came to appreciate much more when I became a widow with a small child in my adulthood.

Enjoy this piece, Lydia!!!  It is certainly a wonderful remembrance of your very talented grandmother.

See the beautiful butterfly in the center?

And another one develops when four blocks are joined together.

It is not everyday that I have the opportunity to pay it forward in such a meaningful way!  


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story. It touches my memories as well. There is so much comfort and healing in creative activities. And now you've blessed yet another family.