Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vada's Afghan

Our dear friend Vada was still a newlywed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, plunging the United States into World War II and changing her life forever. She and Sloan, her husband of less than a year, were both pre-med students. But after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Navy and went off to war; he was there to witness the famous flag-planting on Iwo Jima. Vada worked with the military producing propaganda films. Neither of them ever became physicians.

Anyway, it was then, so the story goes, that, to fill the lonely hours, Vada decided to learn crochet. Somebody taught her a few basic stitches. She found a pattern in a magazine, a patchwork of snowflakes on a blue background, and made all the large patches and a couple dozen of the small ones.

But then the baby came, and the unfinished afghan was consigned to the back of a closet.

Eventually the war ended and more babies followed, and the patches and the yarn still stayed in a succession of closets.

The babies grew up and had children and grandchildren of their own. Sloan died in his late eighties.

And about 3 years ago, Vada came upon her unfinished throw. But by then she had long since forgotten whatever she used to know about crochet. So I said I'd finish it for her, and she brought me the 60-year-old squares, the 60-year-old yarn, the 60-year old magazine article with pattern and instructions, even the same crochet hook she had used.

I'm ashamed to say all these have lain in my closet these three years, worked on only sporadically. Crocheting scores more of those small squares is tedious; weaving in all the yarn ends is even more so; and the fact that it's somebody else's work only makes the boredom more acute.

But I'm enormously pleased to announce that, this morning, I at last finished the brand-new yet already-antique afghan. With some of the left-over yarn, I even put a lacy, white border around it, thinking, "How I love crochet! My hook flashes in and out - not as fast as Barbara's used to, but still quickly - and from my hands falls lace!"

Well, that's the story, and it's a pretty good one, I thought, which is why I've shared it with you.

Too bad that when I scanned in the picture for you, a page from the magazine, and clicked on it to enlarge it, I realized that either I had misunderstood, or else Vada has misremembered. The afghan is only 30 years old, not 60.

Oh, well. For Vada, I'm still very glad to have finished it. Now I'm going to go buy a small pillow with which to stuff the matching pillow cover.


Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Beautiful! I have an afghan my Nanny (my mom's mom: I called her that as a baby because she always had nannies/bananas when we'd go visit!) crocheted, about 40 years ago now. It's just big blue and white stripes with a blue border, but it's thick and comfy.

Stuff made by loving hands is the best.

Elizabeth said...

That is such a lovely pattern !
I wish I could crochet :-(