Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!


on August 8, 2008

In the past five weeks we have lost two very close members of our family and extended family. The first one was the man who owned our house, the man who we saw every day, the man who taught my kids how to milk a cow. The second one was my Gramma, and that is who this post is about.

My Gramma was tiny, maybe 4? 9? at best, but she was ferocious. She led an interesting life, one that I wish I had have taken more time to ask her about. She lived all over the world, traveling with my Grampa who died nearly 20 years ago now.

She was the ultimate in craftsperson. She was an artist. She knit, she crocheted, she embroidered, she did needlepoint, she made the most beautiful pottery, she sewed, she designed her own clothing, she was a weaver. Most of all, she was a Gramma who was so involved in our lives. She was at every birthday, every graduation, every bad music or dance recital. She reveled in all of us, and adored to be with her great grandkids. She was proud of me, and I knew it without her saying so.

It was from my Gramma that I found my love for creating. My Mom is left handed, and that made it hard for her to teach me things. Gramma would put the basics down there, and then Mom could help me tweak it when Gramma wasn’t around.

She patiently sat by me and taught me to crochet when I was 8 or 9. She oooed and aaaahed over my first raggy attempt at a crochet block. She cut out dresses and skirts and showed me how to sew them. She was particular and made me a bit crazy with her attention to detail, but now I can see how important that is.

Not long after our son Ephraim was born, Gramma brought me some needles, some yarn, and taught me to knit. She had attempted it many years ago, but at the time I wasn’t interested. I remember her patience, I remember her explaining the difference between a knit and a purl stitch. I remember her showing me how to tuck the long straight needle under my arm to keep it steady.

Many many years ago, she was so excited to finally get a serger. It was the ultimate in sewing, and she set it up, learned how to use it by herself, and then subsequently taught me. I always loved her serger. I’m not sure if I loved it because of what it could do, or because of the memories of her teaching me to use it.

And now? On my sewing table…

Whenever I use it, I think of her. A little bit of Gramma comes through in everything that I sew. The hours and hours and years of usage, the idea that my hands are creating where her hands once did, it’s a bond that connects us over time.

There is a legacy that I’ve been left through my Gramma. In remembering her, I will teach my children to do all of the things that she taught me. And they will pass it to their children. She will live on through those things, through the useful teachings, through her handiwork.

I miss her, and I can’t wait to see her again one day.


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