Dear Lion Brand,
I was so touched by Michelle Edwards' letter I just read on the website. I identify with it so completely, as knitting (and other forms of needlework) have truly "kept my head together" for many, many years. I think you may enjoy the following letter, written by my mother, Esther Smith, in 1971. It was written in response to a contest sponsored by KDKA radio in Pittsburgh PA--at the time there was a wonderful talk program on in the evening, hosted by Ed and Wendy King, to which my parents often listened. As I remember, the contest was about the best thing one ever purchased.
I'm the 10-yr-old daughter mentioned in the letter, and was a 25-yr-old new mother at the time the letter was written. Here is the letter exactly as Mum sent it:
Dear Wendy and Ed: How much we enjoy your program! March is my birthday month and in 58 years of living, I have made many purchases which have given me great pleasure and other which turned out to be real "goofs".
About 15 years ago, and I bless the day, I purchased what has turned out to be my most cherished purchase: 2 pair of knitting needles, at 35 cents per pair! One for me and one for my 10-year-old daughter. Together, we as novice knitters, cast ourselves, as well as our stitches, onto the soft, wooly sea of yarn.
We started out simply: sweaters and mittens, and while we have never made most intricate patterns, many are the afghans, sweaters, scarves, hats and mittens -- mittens too numerous to mention -- we have turned out. Each winter I use all my scraps to knit mittens for small HeadStart fingers. My daughter at one time knitted a huge red whale for my first grandson, beloved by the recipient and even more so by the youngster's Dad!
Thru the years, these pointed metal objects have become tranquilizer, companion, joy, and God's Fingers. Many times I feel like a modern Madame DeFarge, knitting present day history while I watch TV or listen to the radio.
Nothing can ever replace the happiness we have had from my initial purchase of two pair of #5 needles, and the joy, I humbly know, we have given to others.
Sadly, Mum only lived for about 4 years after this letter was written; every time I pick up my needles I think of her and the hours we spent knitting--together and apart. Knitting remains a vital part of my life, and I've enjoyed knitting sweaters for Oxfam, as well as for the children I know. I have recently completed 2 prayer shawls, and know that there will be many more from my needles, as I work with young children and their families.
I hope you enjoy the letter written by my mother--it's a treasure to me.