Once upon a time, when life was simple, before
full hormone riddled teenage-hood had struck I had turned 13, my mother was probably one of my best friends.
I know now, that she always was, but your mind becomes blinded, round about the time you become riddled with hormonal changes, & rebellion starts in your confused, teenage heart. There begins a time when everything, from your misshapen -in your eyes- body, to your pimple ridden face, is all down to your mother.
It is also her fault you are so thick at maths. Her fault the boy you had a crush on, seems to have a crush on someone else. Her fault that your younger brother is the bane of your life. The list of things that are her fault, grow with the advance of confusion, & burgeoning bodily functions, & breasts that poke out when they are badly wanted, but not necessarily enjoyed, or comfortable.
Of course it is her fault your father has gone from your life, her fault he has found another 'wife' to bear his further children. Her fault she has to work, to support you. Her fault she is small, dainty, & short, & you, ..you are like some giant from another species. You are tall, ...& lumpy. Where did you come from!
I digress. Back to pre- teendom. She had finally managed, to teach me to knit. I was left handed, she was not. We danced many a tussle filled dance, with me trying to master the art, & she, valiantly trying hard not to lose her patience.
I had my Grandmother to try to instruct me also. She was the more patient of the two, but still, the art eluded me. I can still see my Grandmother propped on pillows on her bed, to rest her stiff leg, plying her knitting needles, & trying to instruct me on the intricacies of the art of Knitting.
I did manage to master the art, finally. I knitted right handed, which may be why I had trouble learning. When I eventually taught myself to crochet, I taught myself lefthanded. I went on to teach several neighbour children, & adults, to crochet lefthanded. I learnt with my Mother, who by then, I recognised for what she truly was. My best friend. I used a mirror to follow the pictures, in the right-handed instruction book, & it was very successful.
Once I had learnt to knit, I had to try out the fancy stitches. Dropping stitches, being frustrated, but learning how to pick up the dropped stitches. How to create the lacy patterns, the fairisle colours. I loved knitting.
When Winter came around, in those early teen years, my mother & I would embark on a trip together, to the closest city, with the large woolshops, with a huge selection of wonderful yarns, to choose from. Hand knitted jumpers, cardigans, boleroes, vests, were all fashionable. Every one was wearing them, & hand knitted was desirable, & sought after.
I can still remember the excitement of a trip. My mother would have the day off. Perhaps I would be taking a day off school, to make the trip. We would set off, just the two of us, my mother driving her little car. A small heater in the car, providing some warmth for our early getaway.
The choosing of the lovely yarns, to knit a jumper, or cardigan. Fashions changed, colours came in & out of season. A creamy flecked yarn, my fondest memory of a cardigan we knitted together. I did the sleeves, my Mother the back, & the front which had a pattern. We shared that cardigan, through bitter times & happy. It finally wore out, holes in the elbows. I think we both realised the value in that cardigan.
It represented a traumatic, stormy time we lived through. It represented good times we lived through, close, & great friends. Later, myself, a hostile & nasty, hurt & bitter person. Hurling cruelties at the my mother, in verbal form.
goodness knows, sometimes those barbs hurt most of all. I cringe at the memory. But I still remember the sharing of that cardigan, even through the bitter times.
I still get a warm memory, when I think of how we chose the yarn, together. How we shared the memories of the creation, & the occasions, of wearing it, having it admired. Acknowledging each other's contribution to it's creation. It was another tie that bound us.
In our later years together, we often talked of that cardigan. Talked of how it had become a sort of benchmark for our love for each other. The love that had been woven, knitted, into it's creation, stayed, long after the mere garment had ceased to be.
It left a legacy of thought, pain, joy, & love. I am so glad we had Once Upon a Time, to build up our later relationship. Loving & generous. You can't ask for more than that, from your life.
Seals & Crofts, I'll Play for You.
Tuesday, June 3
Once upon a time, when life was simple, before