I don’t know if it is because this is her birthday month, or because I am a grandmother myself now. Maybe it is this hankering I’ve had to crochet something. Whatever has precipitated my longing, I have been thinking a great deal about my paternal grandmother lately. She’s in my dreams and seems to be sitting on my shoulder, guiding me these days.
I see her when I look at my hands.
I have my Yia Yia’s hands. She had small hands and so do I. Like Jo’s hair, which sister Meg cries is her one true beauty in Little Women when Jo sells it,, my one true beauty may just well by my hands. They are older now and showing their wear and tear, but, they have served me well – and I can still wear a pair of children’s gloves!
I love to take pictures of hands, especially of this little darling, just learning to pick up bits of cereal to put into her mouth. I love young hands and old hands and all hands in between. They tell a lot about a person, don’t you think?
When I was in high school and on the student newspaper, I had the opportunity to meet the actress Carol Lawrence. Besides being married to the handsome Robert Goulet, whom all young girls at the time pined for, she was a singer and dancer and star in her own right – and a graduate of my high school. I remember the sponsor of the newspaper remarking that Miss Lawrence was so talented, and she was a hard worker as well, just look at her hands! I did, of course, and they were the hands of someone not afraid to use them. It is funny what things we notice in life and what things stay with us.
My grandmother did beautiful work when she crocheted. My sister has an intricate doily that Yia Yia made, long before we were born. It is long and made with ecru thread and spells out our family surname. My sister displays it and I admire it when I see it, glad that it is in a good home. I wonder however Yia Yia came to craft it. She couldn’t read or write, yet, somehow must have followed a pattern to create such lasting beauty.
There is among the family lore, told around the dinner table, passed around like dishes laden with dolmades or spanakopita or pastichio, a story of how our Yia Yia crocheted. It seems our cousin Mary Jane, while still very young, did or said something untoward about her mother. My grandmother heard it and quickly retorted, in her broken English and strong sense of rightfulness,
“Mary Jane, you don’t crochet your mother!”.
Of course, she meant appreciate, but, the message got across just the same.
Do you crochet or knit?
More importantly, do you crochet your mother?
What do your hands say about you?