April 20, 2005
Thanks, all you optimists, for the good wishes about the book. When the time comes, we want to hit the road in a Winnebago and paste bumper stickers on the back from every yarn store we visit. Our goal: all fifty states, and Canada too.
Thank GAWD we got that miserable secret out there. It’s been eating at me like a tapeworm, rilly. Just munching away at the innards until, well you get the idea. I’ve got about fifty-leventy things to talk about, beginning with . . .
A very dear, nonknitting (bless his heart) friend Charlie asks for help. He writes: “My mom recently gave me a box of my paternal grandmother’s crochet needles, hooks, etc., and this ring was with them. Mom said my grandma wore it when she was crocheting, not sure but maybe on a pinkie. I have spent a few hours browsing and Googling and have not turned up anything even remotely related.
“The ring appears to be made of copper and is a beautiful piece of precise craftsmanship. Underneath, there is an inscription: ‘Crane Products, Inc. Pat. Pend.’ The elongated wing has a spiraled form on the outer end, about the right size for threading a crochet thread. Under the knurled wheel on top, there is a spring-loaded ‘bobbin’ for lack of a better word.”
We must get an answer for Charlie so that he can stop the crochet-related Googling.
Has anybody out there used one? And if you did, was it satisfying?
Now, The Attic
Yesterday I spent five hours in our attic with Jane, a psychotherapist disguised as a professional organizer. Jane is the one who helped clean out Hubbo’s family’s house, a project during which we bonded like a couple of Tri Delts during pledge week. Jane is awe inspiring in her ability to smile sweetly, gently take the Treasured Object from your hands, and say, “Should we just let this one go?”
Excavations on yesterday’s expedition included:
Item A. One of my early works, Cholera, written for Mr. Bradley’s biology class. (Mr. Bradley was noted for the way he taught biology despite the fact that he didn’t believe in evolution. “It’s in the book, if you want to read that part for yourself,” he would say.) “History has shown epidemics of the sickness reaching as far back as 1830,” I wrote. Practically, like, forever ago and everything.
Item B. My 21 journals, which chronicle my excruciating inner monologue from eighth grade through college. Remember how I said I loved Jackson Browne songs? Did you know I often wrote them down as if they were poetry and taped them into my journal?
A reading from Book 7, page 573: “June 11, 1977, 2:50 pm: My first day of work [at the Vanderbilt endocrinology lab] was today. It was pretty much fun. Blood isn’t bad at all to work with. It’s the urine I’m gonna be worrying about.” Book 7 is otherwise devoted entirely to the topic of Ben Swift. Ben Swift, if you’re out there, if you ever need proof that you were adored in an obsessive, 15-year-old way, it’s all here.
I’m going to start a blog in which I post each entry of my journal so I can make myself miserable all over again.
Items C-K: UFOs galore, including, as a caution for you, dear Kay, who are contemplating needlepoint:
So many stitches, yet so very incomplete. Is this what you want to find in your attic twenty years from now? (Anybody who wants to adopt these UFOs, please let me know.)
Item L: This misshapen, hairy clump of what might have been a mohair-based garment. I think there’s knitting in there somewhere.
Item M: Finally, the treasure amid the wreckage of my life. This cool ancestral batch of whatever was lovingly handmade by my dear great-aunt/cousin/great-grandmother/beloved next-door-neighbor Mabel/Idy/Barnett/Sue/Big Eleanor/Little Eleanor/Oneida. Who knows who made this?
Aren’t family heirlooms great? So rich with memory, if only I had any relatives alive who could tell me what I’m supposed to be remembering.
There are three bed-length strips–can’t anybody in this family finish anything?
A sofa filled with pillows covered in these fantastic dots would be kind of great. Please, y’all, what is this technique called? I keep thinking penny quilts, but that’s not right.
I’d show you more of my treasures, but Jane gently took them out of my hands and said, “Should we let these go?”