My Granma Amy taught me to crochet and has been gone for almost 5 years now. She was born in 1907 to immigrants from Czechoslovakia and grew up on a farm. She married the son of Austrian immigrants, who was also a farmer. My mother is one of their youngest children.
As a family, they endured the hardships of farming and my mom decided she wanted to leave farming behind and moved to the city in the 1960’s where she met my father who had a similar background. So I was a city kid for the first 23 years of my life.
As a child, they wanted to show me more of their lives as young people and I would spend about a week every summer with my grandparents on the farm.
I loved those times in my childhood. I felt that I was where I SHOULD be during those visits. It just seemed RIGHT. My most vivid memories are of following Granma Amy while she fed the chickens, or took lunch to my Granpa in the corn fields, or listening to the radio and watching her hands move as she crocheted afghans for her daughters.
She had the most magical craft closet on the planet. The woman could make ANYTHING! She was resourceful. She had plaster and paint and brushes and canvas and hand-dyed turkey feathers and fabric and yarn and jars full of buttons and shiny things and OH so much to fill a rainy day with color and fun.
So to keep grand daughters busy when they energetically came to visit, she would put me to work at a project so that she could go about the business of cooking and doing her chores without a child in tow. By the time I was 10 she had successfully taught me to crochet. I loved sitting with her, finally able to crochet my own projects with her borrowed yarn and hook from her magical craft closet.
As you can tell, my Granma was very special to me. She connected with my creative side, she connected me more to my own mother, and she helped to make me who I am. I would sleep in my mother’s childhood bed and imagine I was her while climbing hay bales or walking by the pond.
I have been a country girl for nearly 20 years now, and I often draw on my memories of time spent with her to create my life and bring those things that comfort me so to my family.
Granma Amy loved to sew quilts, and I have 2 of them that have she gave to me as a child. Before she died, she had been working on one that my aunt found to be nearly complete. That aunt finished the backing and a matching pillow recently and asked her sisters if they would like a final gift from their mother. My mom spoke up immediately and said that she knew who would cherish it the most.
It has been hiding in my mom’s craft closet for several weeks now, tied up with a bow. My parents’ birthday gift to me brought me to tears yesterday because it was also a final gift from my Granma Amy.
Isn’t it sweet and lovely?
And it seems to have immediately whispered “comfort” to Cali the wayward cat…