Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Snowy

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Dear Ann,
My first day home, and it’s a snow day. I really would have preferred a school day. But it’s a snow day.
Despite the circumstances, or maybe because of them, I had a good time in Omaha. In Omaha, my childhood is always just around the corner. Sometimes I seek it out, driving slowly past old houses, but sometimes it jumps out at me. For example, as I was pulling on to Highway 75 on my way to pick up mom at the hospital yesterday, I slowed down to get around a road crew that was clearing brush from the shoulder. A bear of a man in a neon yellow vest– tossing a tree limb into the back of the truck like it was a rolled-up newspaper–waved at me. It was Uncle Pauly! Uncle Pauly is only a year older than me. We went to the same high school. I would pass him in the halls and say, ‘Hi Uncle Pauly.’ (Are you amazed that I survived high school? Could I have been a bigger geek?) Uncle Pauly was on the football team (in Nebraska this is not mere royalty, but immortality). I needed all the help I could get, popularity-wise. I heart Uncle Pauly.
I had seen a lot of Uncle Pauly these past few days, as Mom’s branch of the family is quite orthodox in their observance of Old-School Hospital Visitation. This goes back generations–my great-aunt Bet could settle into a relative’s hospital room for weeks. If the patient did not want her there, that was just proof of the gravity of their condition. Some of our best Family Togetherness Times have been at the bedside of a beloved relation who is just trying to get some sleep. In a year of good health, we might only see each other on Christmas and Thanksgiving (and Highway 75). Bad health years, we get a chance to catch up with each other. So I’m up to date on Uncle Pauly, Aunt Liz (Mrs. Uncle Pauly, also my age), Uncle Terry (an age appropriate handsome dawg of an uncle) and Aunt Sue (Mrs. Uncle Terry), their kids and their kids’ kids. Good times!
Another blast from the past occurred as I was driving alongside a McDonald’s (don’t judge me–I was caffeine- deprived) to the drive-thru order box. Through the window I spied Leroy and Annie! The parents of my BFF Since Second Grade, Laurie Ann. So naturally I parked the car and went in to say hi. Leroy is the man who taught me, at a tender and timid age, that just because a man has red hair sticking straight up and a voice like Popeye, and he is growl-shouting, ‘HOW ARRRRRRR YA KID????!’ while placing you in a head lock– doesn’t mean he is not a big ol’ sweetie pie. Forty years on, and he still greets with me ‘HOW ARRRRRR YA KID?” Annie is a saint on earth (obviously). She made all of Laurie’s and my Home Ec sewing projects, sunbonnets for us and clothes for our cornhusk dolls for the Nebraska Centennial Year (1968), and hula skirts for our ‘study’ of Hawaii. When I was in college, Annie let me stay over with Laurie and come home later than my mom let me. (Still mad at Mom about that. I was in COLLEGE. O the humiliation of a curfew.) It was so reassuring to see that they are still the same. A little white hair, is all.
That’s all I’ve got today–a mini-memoir. I’m on the last skein of Argosy the Wrap, but nobody would want to see a picture–it looks the same as it did on Wednesday, only longer.
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We had fun in the snow, with gorgeous Fort Tryon Park pretty much all to ourselves. Virgin powder! Ice in our faces!
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Happy weekend,
Love, Kay

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Here’s to family! Can’t wait to see the finished Argosy, hope your mom is doing well.

  2. It always stymies me- who will be our children’s Leroy and Annie? Who will they see, when driving down the street, that will connect them back to who they were and who they are?
    So happy to hear that MMM is home. Happy Weekend, back at ya!

  3. Dude. The snow across that river is gross. Glad to see you had some fun – and so glad the trip turned out good.
    Back to my miters oh guru swami you!

  4. Glad your mom is doing better. I so understand going back to the hometown. Mine is in N.D. and very small. If I have to pick up something in the grocery, I’ll hear someone say my name and realize the cashier is an old classmate. For some reason, I seem to forget that some people stayed there after high school while I rapidly escaped!

  5. I’ve been in that park! It was summer and it was gorgeous then. But I bet even more so in the winter with snow!

  6. This post just made me :)

  7. Nice to hear your mom is OK. Sounds like a great reunion(s)!

  8. Leroy/Annie/Laurie Ann.
    Man, sometimes I miss my childhood in Omaha. The childhood in Omaha that you had for all of us.
    Me, I used to hang at Hooter Brown’s, the truck stop, and sometimes Harry Butts JUNIOR would hang with us. You know I’m not making that up.
    LeroyAnnieLauriAnn sounds so much better. Probably also looks better from Manhattan, eh?
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Looks like you had fun, in spite of the reason for your visit. Hope your mom is better.
    Hey, you and Ann need to look at page 10 of the new Knit Picks catalog. They have quite a spread of your patterns. In the past they had the Nina Shawl, but now there are more. Take a look!

  10. When my mom gave me a curfew in college, I told her that I wasn’t going to come home at that time. I’ll never forget that conversation, as she was REALLY mad at me. And I at her.
    Oh, and I’ve been to the Cloisters! And I wrote a paper about it in college! And I can’t remember anything else (except it is a lovely place).

  11. Funny, but my mother is visiting my sister in Omaha this week, and I still haven’t forgiven her for the curfew in college either. Somethings you just can’t let go. Glad you made it home okay; my husband is snowed out and can’t be flown back in until Monday afternoon. I sense a Clive Owen marathon brewing.

  12. I remember the centennial of Nebraska Statehood! I was in elementary school in Scottsbluff at the time. As I recall, it was in 1967. ;-)
    I was just back home last month. My outcome wasn’t as happy as yours. Ah, well. Dad is probably ejoying playing golf and baseball again, and Mom is cheering him on.
    Ruth

  13. Glad MMM’s doing better enough that you were able to come home. I have to admit though, that the sight of the hand knit patch on the boy jeans brought back rather disturbing memories of the time my father darned (yes, Father, and yes, Darned) a hole in the knee of his one pair of jeans with dark green acrylic yarn my Mum had around the house. Sure, he did a fine job and all, but being seen with him in public in those? Not a good time for a teenager.

  14. Glad to hear mom’s weel enough to come home – yay! Sorry about the overall purpsoe of your visit, but I sure am loving these homey hometown stories.
    Blessings.

  15. Glad you’re home and having fun with the chicks [who suddenly seem very tall !].
    I know. e-mail…
    Have I ever told you that I love the way you write ?
    xxx

  16. A blast from my past Kay. I grew up in NYC. To avoid the rush hour crush on the subway, I use to go uptown to the Cloisters and wander around for an hour or so.
    My father took me there when I was a little girl and I fell in love with Jean d’Alluye. Who knew it was preparing me to fall in love with Clive Owen :-}
    http://tinyurl.com/2w2ohb
    Ok I am a bit weird
    xoxo

  17. Today I am wearing shorts and a tank top…I’m just sayin this is one reason the real estate is so h$gh in California……
    Gratitude for your Mom’s health and your daughterly duties of love.
    Love,

  18. Thanks for sharing the memories. I have similar experiences when I go home to Wisconsin. I used to curse being born in the midwest, but time and distance has sure changed that. Oh, and thanks for the knitted jeans’ patch…I’m definitely going to give it a try.

  19. What a sweet blog.
    I love your family.
    A curfew in college. I will have to tell my 17 year old daughter about that one. She is itching to be done with curfews.
    My Katie (7) really needs some knitted patches :o)
    I finished a lovely Moss Grid linen handtowel this week.
    I am sure it will last for all time and eternity :o)
    (Perhaps the knee patches should be linen!)

  20. Enjoyed your post – I grew up in Kansas, and have a big family, so I can relate, so to speak. But you absolutly MADE me post by showing a picture of the Cloisters in the background! As a tapestry weaver, that is like Mecca to me. Even on a snow day, I want to be there.
    I am also knitting the Argosy wrap, using a lace weight snubby denim and white cotton blend. It is looking good so far (still on the first skein). Most of the knitting will be done on the train ride to and from California to see my parents – Kansas ex-pats.

  21. Every pair of my 5-year-old son’s pants have a hole in the left knee. EVERY PAIR. What did you knit your patch out of and how well has it held up? I found another post about the patch, but didn’t find the materials. Thanks!!

  22. The last time I saw that field in person was the weekend of the MedievalFest, or something like that, in early October. There were SO many people, and falcons, and witches and warlocks wandering around that I said I wouldn’t go back until I could have the park to myself. I’m glad that you got the opportunity!

  23. Did you say “Fort Tryon Park”? Nobody mentioned my family had a park named after them! I loved your blog; One of my best childhood memories was with seeing a Walking Tall Movie Marathon with Amy, Uncle Paul and Aunt Liz at the drive-in. BTW, I called your mom after reading here that she was in the hospital and I’m going to pop over to see her and your dad tomorrow and take them some fettucine alfredo and cupcakes. Sorry I missed you while you were here.
    Love,
    Your other Omaha sister Laura

  24. My mom was born and raised in Nebraska, and your description of it sounds very familiar. Thanks for sharing!