Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mamaw's Thread

I'm thinking about the stockpile of presents I'm creating and how I'll document them as they're given. I'm thinking about the crocheted hat I made for a friend and about my great-grandmother on my father's side. She was the one who always crocheted. She was the one who taught my aunt, who taught my cousin, who taught me.

And then I remember somewhere in middle school I brought my new skills to my mother's hometown. I sat at my Papaw's house with thin mercerized cotton, a #10 Boye hook and the beginnings of a pot holder. My Papaw watched me for a moment, then walked away. When he returned he had something in his hands. It was the top of a broom handle poking through an oval of wood. He'd made a stand for my crochet thread.

Later he brought out several old spools of unbleached cotton and offered them to me. Poked in the hole of one of them was a piece of lace, maybe a doily, begun by my Mamaw before she died. I never met my Mamaw, but I'd been named for her. Her name was Frances, called Mickie. My mother Suzi was named for her grandmother, and so the tradition continued. But my mother didn't crochet.

It makes me wonder what my Papaw felt, seeing this namesake granddaughter engaged in something her grandmother enjoyed. Somehow the same thread traced the bloodline across generations who had never met. From what little I know of my Mamaw, it is beautiful to know this:  love blooms through our hands and works its way out in crochet stitches and lace. Though I've never seen her face-to-face, I know I am like her. I am a dream beyond her imagination, and we would have been great friends.

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