Sunday, November 7, 2010

For Pat.

My "stepmother" Candy's mother is a lovely wonderful woman.  Though Candy and my dad are not married (long story...), Pat welcomed me warmly into the family from day one. When her mother died well into her late 90's, her jewelery was shared with me as though I was a rightful heir to it. I always had a spot at her table and when I went off to college, I had a better send off from Pat than from my own birth mother.

So when I found out she was losing her house of 50+ years (through no fault of her own, for the record), I was devastated. Though I'd only known that home for 14 years, it was more of a home to me than any of the 29 places I'd rested my own head.  I had this mix of anger over the situation that led to her going from paid off for over 30 years to foreclosed on an "equity" loan. I raged against the family member that pissed away the money on a new truck and next-gen console gaming systems. I raged against the system that allowed a $45,000 house get $91,000 in the hole. I lamented the loss of her things, her late husband's things (sadly, I never met him), her mother's things, and just her space in general.

But then I calmed down and I thought about the VA apartment she was going to get to live in now. I remembered the way I was able to blossom as a person when I moved into the dorms at my university and saw how her new place was like a senior dorm. She was going to have other women to hang out with, parties she didn't have to set the table for, and a space of her own for the first time in her life. I even started hoping a little that she could meet a nice man and have an autumn boyfriend.

So I got off my duff and made a housewarming gift.
Pat is a very old fashioned lady - really a page right out of a 50's Better Homes and Gardens. Her husband, Don, built a fallout shelter in the backyard... and it still stands today. Sadly I doubt that was a selling point at the sheriff's auction.
I went old fashioned with my gift and crocheted a nice set of coasters and a doily. Since it's getting to be that "most wonderful time of the year", I picked out a pretty Christmassy yarn.
Round little donuts of Christmas  
I've just learned how to crochet this summer. I do living history and we're all a little strange. At a friend's birthday, the boys all went out in the garage and talked about guns and jeeps and moustaches or whatever dudes talk about when chicks aren't around and the women sat in the living room drinking and stitching up various historical costumes. Without a chatterling (I'm sure I misspelled that) to create, I was taught how to knit.

 I wasn't half bad for being pretty drunk at the time. My friend sent me home with a pair of needles and a ball of yarn so I could practice on the long, long drive home across southern Michigan.
Almost as soon as I got home, though, I lost one of the needles. I put my project down for a moment to get the phone, or save the bird from the miniblinds, or wake the boyfriend... I dunno... and when I came back the needle was just GONE. Still is gone!

The doily. You can tell I've just learned to crochet, but I think it's charming in its own way.

I found a crochet needle for 49 cents soon after though, and taught myself how to crochet from a book called Get Your Crochet On! by the gal that makes hats for Common. (Disclaimer: I've not yet figured out how to make money off Amazon links, so I'm not just pluggin that book for cash.) It was really awesome and though I never finished a hat in the time I had with the book (I got it from the IMCPL who, by the way, NEEDS your money), I learned how to crochet in the round and started making some cute bun covers and will make a snood for myself soon.

So here I am with my little old fashioned present for Pat. I really hope that it helps her feel at home when she gets it. I think of her new gal pals coming over and having tea, setting their mug down on this happy circle of Christmas joy (while making it, honestly, all I could think of was the Italian deli on Northwest Highway in Edison Park... Boy do I miss Chicago), and thinking that Pat really has it together.
I know that a lot of her stuff is going to sit in storage for most of the winter... and honestly, nobody is very sure what exactly they were able to get out of the basement. Is it all crap? Well, we'll find out soon.
 I couldn't fit the doily into the box, so it became the decoration. Now I don't have to wrap it! Yay!
I'll be giving it to her, and seeing her new place, Sunday night, so I should report back on what she thought of it. I'll report back. Hopefully, I will have figured out better how to post photos and stuff so I can not look like a total blog noob.

No comments:

Post a Comment