Forgive me if this post doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with preparedness, but I’ve shared the story with a few friends and they’ve encouraged me to write it down. Just so I remember.
Several months ago I bought a “secret” box of yarn for $10. I was told that it contained several skeins of yarn which averaged out to be about $1 apiece, so I grabbed it. The box was old, torn, and smelled like it had been in someone’s garage or attic for a long time, so I brought it home, put it in a closet, and almost forgot about it.
Months later, we were planning a road trip and I was looking for a project to work on in the car. I remembered that box of yarn and decided to see what I could do with it. Scarves and hats will work in any color, so that’s about as far as my expectations went.
Instead of just 10 skeins of yarn, this is what I found:
- A pastel-colored afghan that was about 2/3 completed.
- The promised 10 skeins of yarn in blue, green, black, and beige.
- A box that had once contained personal checks from the bank, now filled with over 40 various sizes of crochet hooks and yarn needles.
- About 50 books and manuals on crafts. Many of them were for crocheting and knitting, but not all.
- Over 100 granny squares. Half of them were red and the other half were more of an off-white.
I had hit the jackpot! That box was filled with so much more than I had imagined.
The pastel afghan had an interesting pattern to it, and something I’d never seen before. I picked up the piece, examined it front and back, and saw that the crochet hook was stuck in the yarn like the woman had just put it down for awhile. The instructions were there, too, hand written on a portion of a yellow legal pad. I ran my hand across the paper to smooth it and something almost magical happened. Through this worn piece of paper, the woman was able to tell me what to do next. I wondered who she was. What was her name? What had made her stop? Was this for a new grandchild? Did she live long enough to hold that new baby in her arms?
Once that project was complete, I started to work with the granny squares. I laid them out on the floor to see how they could all fit together to make the best use of all of the squares.
I put all of the squares in a zippered, plastic bedding bag to carry in the car. I sewed red and white pieces together to make a row. Then another row. And another. Then I sewed the rows together. There were clues that made me realize my mystery woman had probably passed away by now. Some of the craft magazines in the box were dated in the 1980’s. The yarn was priced at $1.87 each. These were not new items. They had been stored for possibly the last 10 or even 20 years.
I feel gratitude not only for the woman who had put so much love into her work, but for the person who saved it. Maybe they thought they would do something with it one day. Maybe someone grabbed it as they cleaned out her belongings and didn’t even know what was inside. The person who sold it to me couldn’t have seen the value of the contents. It took someone who knew how to crochet to appreciate all the work that had already been done. I couldn’t help feel that her work had been preserved for a reason that was even greater than my ability to finish it.
The afghans have been shared with others who know the story behind them. The books have gone to a niece who will put them to good use. The woman may be gone, but her gifts live on, and she will long be remembered for them. I am so grateful to be a part of the plan, because I was able to finish the work that this dear woman couldn’t do by herself.
Joyce Moseley Pierce