September 21, 2009
Grandmother exhibited many talents, from gutting fish to knitting a knobbly sweater, all in a day's work. There are remnants of her exhibits around my home, minus the scaled fish. A quilt she made me in college, a denim apron with my nephews handprints painted on it (great for chemical patina protection), to a pillow that converts into a throw. When I was little girl I resented her encouragement to learn these finer female crafts. Outside was always more fun.
Grandpa was a welder. By the time I was born his 4 car garage was a wonderland of greasy dark finger chopping tinker tools that provided no hope for a car seeking respite. Against Grandma's wishes us grandkid's loved to sneak a peek at the urinal in the back of the garage. It was a porcelain idol for men who knew tools and drank beer in the afternoon. When Grandpa would weld, the orange sparks would fan out but we didn’t dare look as our eyes might shrivel up as if we were looking into an eclipse.
After the final funeral my heart went out to my grandmother and the activities that I refused her. I wonder if I told her that I can garden, knit and crochet, learned long after I set up my own home. I see her sewing machines, left now abandon, and wish I had had her teach me to sew. So I collected my inheritance from her studio. Her scissors, needles, crochet hooks, a pin cushion (because like a good woman she had three) and a collection of vintage German glass buttons I gave her many years ago that I am sure were a bit too fancy for her work.
And now I stand on the other side of that life. That generation has passed and now my mother is the grandma and I am no longer the granddaughter. Grandpa, I'll see your metal with some wire and raise you a crochet hook from Grandmother and may I build a strong family fabric to bring it all together.