« It's in the mail | Main | Choose your fiber »

30 June 2004

Storytelling

The modified Galway hat is still pinned to the blocking board. I worked on Tasha last night, instead, finishing the 2nd back/front and knitting both edge bands! I cast on for the side/strap and knit a few rows on that, too. I brought it to work and hope that I can work on it a bit today. I think it's Aunt Lydia's denim-something that I'm using for this bag -- whatever it is, it's wound on a big ball and it gets very twisted. I really do love how the fabric feels, though; I was surprised. I will admit that I didn't swatch at all for this project -- hope it doesn't bite me. I'm not too concerned with the size of the finished bag, so, whatever.

(Warning: the rest of this post has absolutely nothing to do with knitting. It's really a bit of a ramble, again, stemming from so many things -- old pictures and grandparents and wooden bowls -- and going pretty much nowhere. It just wanted to come out, the connections from the heart to the key-tapping fingertips pretty much by-passing the brain today.)

Thanks for your comments on my mile-long cable and the Catalpa bowl. As I wrote to Ann, I think it's the story/history -- or even the perceived story/history -- behind almost any object that makes it nearly impossible to curb my packrat tendencies. I love stories. I especially love hearing them, but I also love telling them. As a child, my mother called me "elephant ears" -- I'd never go play with the other kids, but would rather sit and listen to adults talk and tell stories. (Be very quiet and don't ask questions and usually they wouldn't notice.) I'm still that way. I think that's why I like big family gatherings so much.

I think my interest in family history and genealogy is all tied up in the telling of stories and collecting of things, also, and I do it in a similar fashion. I prefer to do my research quietly and alone, in courthouses and libraries. I'm not real keen on prodding people for stories and information, but will listen intently if they're inclined to tell a story after they've had their pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Or share objects. Or pictures. The sharing of an object that has a story -- any sort of story -- is a treasure.

My Grandma K's treadle sewing machine has a story. Not trusting the quality of ready-made clothing, she would reinforce the seams of every clothing item she bought from a store. I was only 8 when she died, but I still remember where that sewing machine was located in her dining room, and the plants she had on the top of the machine that left the water rings that caused my mother to paint it green and apply an "antique" finish to it in the late '60s. We used to "sew" things on that machine when we were kids. The belt was a little loose and usually came off; it wasn't loose enough that we didn't have to really work to get it back in the groove. Mom said that Grandpa was always fooling with that thing. I wish I'd taken better care of it.

It's Grandma K's china featured prominently in the mosaic table I made last summer. A reminder. One little thing that can trigger so many memories. Memories that I like to share with my kids. The way the toast would practically fly out of their toaster, the unique smell of their house, the way Grandpa liked his Cheerios -- the only person I know who put honey on them instead of sugar. I always think of Grandpa when I smell honey. Grandma would go off on cleaning jags that led to actual scrubbing of the rafters in the attic. She never had her laundry on the line before the neighbors, in fact, she was usually last, but hers was always the whitest.

There are so many other things for which I have A story or part of a story, but not THE story. The picture of Eva, my Grandpa B's grandmother who died in 1896. She had a special place in my heart before I even knew what she looked like; a portrait was unearthed in a relative's basement a few years ago, and I have a copy tacked up on my computer desk. She's inspiration. I've visited the cemetery and photographed the iron cross that marks her grave. Was it a photograph or a plaque once attached at the bottom of that cross, long since gone? She was only 40. She may have died in childbirth, and the infant, too -- the infant may have been a twin. It's all so fuzzy. I wish I knew how it came to be that she and her sister married brothers, and why those brothers both went by the same name -- one as Jr. and the other as Jr. 2nd. (I swear to God, it's on legal documents.) I wish I could perceive Eva's story/history more clearly. I sometimes wish that I could make it up, create a story for her. I've thought about that quite often, but the collision of the real and the un-real makes me freeze up.

When my Grandma B was working on writing her memoir a few years ago, she told me that she would try to write something every evening. Sometimes she had to fight hard to come up with a "worthy" thought, idea, or memory. Other times, the thought of just one, seemingly insignificant thing would let loose a flood of memories, one triggering another, that it was hard to stop. Exhausting, too, I imagine. That's how I feel today. Melancholy, sentimental, frustrated, and exhausted already. But happy, too.

Comments

This post is especially meaningful to me this week. I just received a large package from my cousin, who has been sorting through our recently deceased grandfather's papers. The treasures she sent me are amazing. Among them are my grandmother's report card from 8th grade (1933), a picture of my grandfather's mother (the only one I have of her), and a travel journal my other Great-Grandmother kept the summer of 1949. I'll never know who most of the people mentioned in the journal are. My grandmother (her daughter) was the person in our family who knew everyone's story--how everyone was connected and related. I've been think a lot this week about the loss of them and making sure my daughter has some of my memories of them, even if they are just mine.

So thank you for adding an extra perspective for me.

I am very lucky that a cousin of my dad's and his wife shared my family history interest -- at least on the B-side of the family -- and that I live fairly close to where my ancestors settled and lived. The "cousins" made the people connections (unearthed that picture of Eva in an uncle's basement) while I hit the road (cemeteries, libraries, courthouses, historical societies). I've been interested in genealogy since I was 12 when Grandma B showed me a hasty family tree she had put together (school project) for one my uncles. My momentum to discover more would increase each time (3) that I added a sprout to the family tree. Sometimes I'd hit a brick wall, and other times I felt like Nancy Drew solving a mystery. And sometimes, it's just fate. A few years ago I worked in an antique mall. A dealer had a very small, German-made notebook in which the owner had kept record of the money she made doing sewing. She also had a page for each month of the year and had written in the birthdays and anniversaries of relatives and friends. I recognized MANY names in that book; turned out she was related in a round-about way. I am still flabbergasted. You just never know! My kids used to roll their eyes and mumble, "family tree stuff," but even they, as they've grown, have at least an appreciation and an awareness of their history, if not a full-fledged interest. I blame it on Laura Ingalls -- she made me want to know who MY pioneers were!

That is such a cool story, I love family history and keep promising that one day when I have more time I will do more research and come up with a family line. I am hoping that it will get easier as more information is available online. Though I am trying to talk my dad into helping me research some stuff now, and tell his story too!

What a great story. I'm the only one in my family interested in our geneology, so I get any photos and goodies as they come up. I have started our family tree but always run into dead ends. Very frustrating but interesting detective work. I have written out family trees in calligraphy for others but I must fill in some more blanks before I do my own. I have my grandmother's tea cups - so far, no breakage for mosaics! and a few other cherished pieces.
I too, was inthralled with Laura Ingalls!!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Facebook Flickr Google Plus Instagram Other... Pinterest Twitter Instagram Follow Me on Pinterest Rav_link
free short rows knitting class at craftsy.com
Online Knitting Class
Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 03/2004
Victoria Mothes (knitorious) participates in affiliate advertising programs. Some of the links herein are designed to provide a means to earn a small percentage in advertising fees.