Somewhere…in a mound of disorganized photos sits a pic of me, wearing the same “Granny squares” scarf, vest and beanie as worn in this sweet pic of our “DD” (dear daughter) when she was six years old. One day…I’m gonna organize family photos into some digital order.  But still, I remember the day DD and I found these pieces and she couldn’t wait to try them on.  Camera hog or model? 😉 I’m not sure, but it was fun to see how excited she was to try on mom’s ‘old stuff’.

The ensemble DD has on is a very vintage knit set, gifted to me by my talented “Grammarie” in 1972, I think.  Her name was actually Grandma Marie but as a kid it was too much of a mouthful, so sister Lisa I shortened things up to the run-on “Grammarie”. She didn’t mind.

I’ve learned thatgranny squares’ made a comeback as fun, nostalgic fashion fare.  Fabulous, I say! I hadn’t thought about the design for years until I found the pieces in a bin of family treasures, long forgotten. In addition to the set you see in the photo, Grammarie was famous for her doilies.  They were everywhere in her house. If she wasn’t crocheting dramatically intricate, white, lacey doilies, she was knitting sweaters, mittens, hats…or making granny square items.  Her hands were always busy. 

I’ve written before about my incapacity for crafting and lack of coordination with sewing, knitting – textile arts of all sorts.  Maybe I should try harder, just as a tribute to Grammarie?  As much as I love and miss her, I don’t think I have the patience.  But I have the memories – evoked by finding these sweet granny square pieces.  Marie was a treasure…even without considering her crochet talents.  I’ll explain.

When my parents fell in love, they were both married to other people.  It was a horrible, awful, terrible scandal in a small town.  The only thing the warring factions of families agreed upon? Ostracizing my folks.

Sister Lisa was born as a preemie during this challenging time and while the magnitude of her disabilities wasn’t apparent at first, there were concerns. I often wondered if more knowledge about Lisa’s frailty might’ve tempered the venom my parents endured from friends and family.  If not for Marie, mom, dad, and Lisa would’ve been homeless…as my dad recalled years later, “without so much as a pot to piss in”.

Marie wasn’t an actual grandparentShe became one, by choice, because she “adopted” my mom and dad.  Lisa, too. When they had nowhere to go, she gave dad at job tending bar at the small-town watering hole she and her husband owned.  Marie also offered mom and dad an attic apartment, to live in rent free above the bar.

If not for Marie’s generosity, I’m not sure my parents would’ve made it.  The financial and medical hurdles related to Lisa’s care were overwhelming and the strength it took to summon the courage to deal with the loss of their support systems?  I can’t imagine it.  It takes hearty stock to navigate those waters.  But they did it and despite other hurdles in their future, I suspect those early days of riding out storms served as relationship cement – bonding my parents together. Forever. 

When I think about the scant keepsakes I have from Grammarie, I realize how precious the lovingly handcrafted granny square items are.  Symbolic, tangible artifacts of one woman’s kindness to a little family in need.  Mom and dad always thought of Marie as family and for thirty years while Lisa and I grew up, we never questioned her role in our lives.  She was family in every way that mattered.

Someday our DD will decide who these precious, handcrafted items belong to. Grammarie’s kindness and love lives on in them and the fact that granny squares have made a comeback? How awesome is that? I think she’d love it…and I can almost hear her say, “Glory be…I never knew they went OUT of style!”

Vicki ❤

20 thoughts on “Granny Squares & Love

  1. Hello Victoria,

    Thank you for sharing this incredibly rich post with all of us. Every “square” inch of it was loaded with meaning.

    When you share from you heart, it is literally impossible for me not to be moved by your writing.

    May God love us all—and let us know one another at a much greater depth than mere appearance. 🙏🧡

    Liked by 3 people

  2. First of all, those grannie-square pieces are very, very good as well as very, very special. Secondly, the story of your parents’ struggles and the unconditional caring of Marie is a powerful reminder that our strongest bonds aren’t necessarily because of blood ties. In fact, often quite the opposite is true. Thanks for sharing this, Vicki.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jane. Yes — Marie’s unconditional caring made a world of difference. You are so right about that. Her love of my parents came with a cost — she lost some friends and family of her own by being so big-hearted with them. Sending hugs to you! ❤😘❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the deep story in this post – and how you made it come full circle…with squares! The story of how Marie helped your parents and it made her one of “your people” for life is incredibly touching. So inspirational and hopeful. Love it and you!! XOXO!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I second everyone else’s comments (is that legal?), a beautiful story!
    My 26 year old daughter is super into making Granny Squares and turning them into things. As Huey Lewis sort of said “It’s hip to be (Granny) square” 😁

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Lovely story Victoria! Funny how things come back in fashion. Love too how the story shows how the smallest of kindnesses goes a long way. I’m sure she thought she was just helping out a young couple in the neighborhood, but she helped give your parents a start and years later you still remember her and are touched by the kindness. A loving gesture goes a long way. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww…thank YOU for reading, Brian. You’re right – she was a special lady doing what she thought was right and probably had no idea of the long-term impact. Such a good example of doing good stuff…just because. xo! 😉

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  6. What a special lady Granmarie sounds like. And these pieces are truly treasures. It’s always humbling when someone gives a gift that they put thought and hard work of their own into. When you add in the role she played for your family, they’re treasures for sure. Just a beautiful post in so many ways, Vicki! Had me feeling all the feels. 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

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