I thought you might enjoy reading the following letter written by my mother, Esther Smith, in March,1971 in response to a radio contest sponsored by KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, PA.
At that time there was a great evening talk show titled "Party Line" hosted by Ed and Wendy King, and my parents often listened to it. Listeners were asked to write about their best purchase ever. I am the 10-yr-old daughter mentioned in the letter, and at the time it was written I was a 25-yr-old new mother.
Here's the letter, exactly as Mum wrote it:
Dear Wendy and Ed:
How much we do 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 others 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 --w e have turned out.
Each winter I use all my scraps to knit mittens for small HeadStart fingers. My daughter at one time knittted a huge red whale for my first grandson, beloved by the recipient and even more so by the youngster's Dad!
Through the years these pointed metal objects have become tranquilizer, companion, joy and God's fingers. Many times I feel like a modern Madame LaFarge, 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 metal 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.
I have never stopped knitting, and every time I pick up my needles I think of her and all the time we spent knitting, both together and apart. Little did Mum know when she bought us those needles that they would help both of us stay sane in the years to come -- and I say that in all seriousness.
As I read Michelle Edwards' words, I was struck by how I, too, reach for my needles whenever there's a crisis (good or bad) -- or a road trip, a vacation, or a new baby expected. I have knitted many sweaters for Oxfam, and just recently finished 2 prayer shawls, and am working on a third. Because I work with very young children and their families, I know there will be many shawls in my future.
I hope you enjoy reading the letter from my mother: I'm now the age she was when she wrote it, and my feelings about those good old #5's are just the same as hers were!