My maternal grandmother taught me to do many things during the summers that I spent with her and my grandfather in their somewhat-Craftsman style house. She taught me to make a bed, use a dust mop, wash dishes in the sink, hang out clothes on a clothesline, water a garden, pick a garden, shell peas, snap beans and many other necessary life skills. I also learned to sew on her treadle Singer machine. But the greatest thing she shared with me was teaching me to crochet.
During the years we lived in the Philippines I had watched the Filipino house girls every afternoon as they pushed the babies of the families they worked for around in baby carriages. They walked, pushed the baby carriage, chatted with the other girls in their native dialect, and did this thing with yarn and two sticks. I wanted to learn to do the thing with the two sticks. I asked my mother who sewed beautiful clothes for me if she would teach me to do the pointy sticks thing that the house girls did on their walks. She told me that she did not know how to do the pointy stick thing. I had wondered if anyone would ever be able to teach me. Our house girl did not know how to do the pointy stick thing either. I really wanted to learn.
It was almost time to come home from a visit when one night my grandmother declared that she needed some new potholders and pulled out a container with a ball of ivory colored yarn and a red plastic stick and soon a square began to form as she worked the stick in the yarn. I was astounded! My grandmother was doing the pointy stick thing, but only using one stick. As she worked I asked questions, as I was prone to do. Why are you only using one stick? I only know how to use one stick. How do you know how to do this? I learned a long time ago. My questions continued until she asked me if I wanted to learn to crochet. Yes, yes I want to learn. But I want to do the two stick thing. I don't know how to do the two sticks came the patient reply.
She finished the potholder and cut the thread. Then she showed me how to make a chain. This took some doing for a 6 year old to master, but she was patient and offered encouragement. Pardon the pun, but I was hooked.
(to be continued...)