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 that ‘granny 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 grandparent. She 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!”
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