Thursday, April 17, 2008

An important object

I face an internal conflict every day. I want stuff. I like yarn. I like dolls. I like clothes. I like things. And much of the time, I wish I didn't want so much stuff, because stuff generally doesn't bring you genuine happiness - family and friends and sunshine and fresh air and good health usually do that for me. But every once in a while you come across something, a thing, that is important and should be protected and preserved.

My friend Robin in my knitting group asked me to repair a crocheted afghan for her. It belongs to a friend of hers, and it was kind of falling apart. So naturally I said yes.

This afghan was made of about 20 colors of old acrylic yarn. It was hard to tell how old it was, but this thing has existed for a long time. It is composed of multi-colored granny squares, edged with black yarn. It was large and heavy - I had to stand up and hold my arms over my head to stretch it out and get a good look at it. Many of the squares were separating from each other, and two of the squares were actually coming unravelled. So I sat down and started to repair it, this thing.

It smelled kind of funny. Sort of like an old person. At first it bothered me, but then it grew on me. I took a closer look at this heavy, aromatic thing. It was covered in pet hair. I couldn't tell if it was a dog or a cat, or if it was one pet or more, but definitely pet hair. The blanket was very warm. And I began to think of the person it belonged to. I've never met her, but I get the sense she might be older. Maybe the pet is her only companion. Her pet and her blanket. Maybe they watched TV together, and the pet snuggled up next to her on the blanket. She obviously loved her pet, if she let it on the blanket, and she obviously loved the blanket, if she was having it fixed. I wondered if she made the blanket, or if someone made it for her.

I have a blanket that my aunt made about 30 years ago. It is yellow and white variegated scratchy acrylic, a big granny square afghan. I stole the blanket from my parents when I went to grad school, and I kept it when I moved back home and got an apartment in Philadelphia. It went with me to my apartment in Roxborough, and now it is with me and my family in our house. The cats like it, the Banana likes it, WT seems to like it, and I like it.

Banana got 5 handmade blankets when she was born. She loves all of them, but one of them is her favorite, and has been since she was about 3 months old. It's crocheted, in four colors, and it's just the right size and weight for a little girl. I don't even know how I knew that it was her favorite blanket when she was a baby, but I figured it out. She always went for that one, even though she had multiple choices. She can't sleep without it. She talks to it and kisses it. She takes it places, even though we leave in the car for fear of losing it. She loves that blanket.

What is it about a blanket? And not necessarily just any blanket, but one that someone made for you? Maybe it's because it's like a big hug. It's so comforting. Or maybe it makes people feel safe - I remember cowering under blankets during thunderstorms when I was a child, feeling protected. But it's more than that - I just can't explain it.

So yeah, some things, some objects, are valuable. People always talk about what they would save in a fire; I remember Liz discussing that on her blog a little while back. After ensuring the safety of my husband and daughter, I'd save my photos, because those are memories, and I'd save my mother's ashes, which are in her copper watering can on my bureau, and then, if I had time, I'd save the blankets.

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At 7:48 AM, Blogger Guinness & Shiloh's Family said...

That was a beautiful post. I have a few things that my mother crocheted and they are treasures to me as well. I wish I still had the poncho that my grandmother had made for me when I was little - it'd be back in style too!


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