Granny, Afghans, and the Gift of Giving

Here’s just a personal glimpse of memories of my mother. It isn’t necessarily inspirational as my aim. It is just sharing a piece of my mom and me. I am putting together some family treasures into the hope chest that once was hers and now is mine. I couldn’t resist writing a little slip of memory to include within the folds of the afghan that has a very special memory to me. Mom’s loving and willing gift of giving is a lingering gift to me.

My mother loved to crochet. She learned to crochet early, in the third grade she once told me. She had a lingering illness that kept her in bed one winter and it was her grandmother, Grandmother Shatzka, that kept her busy by teaching her how to crochet.

I watched her as a child crochet baby sweaters and bonnets and caps for the neighbor’s new babies and for family babies. She also did other practical things like pot holders by using odds and ends of crochet thread. The pot holder was no beauty, but it sure was practical.

For many years, she crocheted a lacy border for our family pillowcases. She crocheted edgings on dresser scarves that she had already embroidered. It wasn’t until I was in college that I remember coming home and she was crocheting an afghan. At first she made an afghan for daddy, then one for herself, and then me. Eventually, the prized afghans became family gifts for children, and as my children grew and married, they received an afghan as a wedding present. Perhaps every great grandchild received a baby afghan from my mother’s now crippling hands that were struck with arthritis.

This afghan she kept for herself and it is lovely. Well, it was lovely until the nursing home laundry lady got hold of it. It is now smaller than the original and several of the centers of the flowers are missing. I just can’t part with it, however and here it is in the “treasure chest.”

One winter mom took on a big project: she was hired to make a crotched table cloth. Daddy said of it that the project kept her alive. She had been sick most of that winter, but she had a job to do! I never got to see the finished project as she sold it. After that, she crocheted doilies for people for pay and gave them to all of us “girls” for Christmas as well. I treasure those handmade works of love and I hope that you will too. I know we can go into specialty shops and find machine crocheted doilies, even curtain toppers, but none will ever match the beauty of the ones my mom made with hands of love.

I will never forget the day that Alzheimer’s snatched that part of Mom’s memory. She had something started, it was lying on the couch, and she asked me, “What’s this?” When I told her, she picked it up, examined it, and said, “I didn’t do this, I don’t even know what it is.” I didn’t want her to see me cry. I changed the subject. Tears fill my eyes even just writing this. Every Christmas when I put up my tree, under it lies the simple but beautiful tree skirt she made for me. I will never exchange it for anything else.



  1. Glenda

    Oh, how special those items are!! I did see some of your mother’s beautiful work, and she had a real talent that she was able to share with others. I’m sure the pain was strong when she lost that ability in the last months of her life. Shed all the tears you need to; tears are cleansing.

    • Thank you, Glenda. There are days still when I wish I could talk to her about something. My daddy too. Someday. . .

  2. Three-hanky post, Karyl 🙂

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