Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Crocheted Santa Claus

I was transcribing more of my mom's journals and I came across an entry from November 14, 1980 where she wrote about crocheting some Christmas ornaments.  She said, "I made, stocking, bell, candy cane, gingerbread man, snowman, wreath.  It was fun & some turned out pretty good."

I remember when Mom made these ornaments.  In my house, my family had a tradition of getting new ornaments for each of us every year, and we would decorate our tree with them.  So our decorated tree was always a Hodge-podge of different ornaments.  Jonah tends to do themed trees where all of the ornaments go along with a similar theme, and I know there are many households that do that.  But I am used to decorating a tree with a bunch of unrelated ornaments tied only by the fact that they belonged to us.

So 1980 was the year we got our crocheted ornaments handmade by Mom.  So I was surprised to see that my ornament was not listed.  This guy:

I've had this guy in the same box for years.  This box:

Apparently I was pretty possessive about my ornaments.  How's that for the Christmas spirit?

All the ornaments I've had from my very first one to the last one I obtained are in this box.  I think the earliest is a flat gold (or brass) one shaped liked Santa Claus in his sleigh that has my birth year on it (1971).  Another very early one is a Styrofoam snowman that has seen better days.  He's held together with toothpicks (which aren't doing a good job) and he hasn't been hung on a tree in years.  I probably should throw him away but I can't bring myself to.  He's been with me almost my whole life.  I also have two ornaments that were originally Mom and/or Dad's: a plastic snowman and a plastic Santa, both manufactured in the 50s, which look very similar to the ones pictured here:

I always liked them and Mom or Dad (or both) eventually just gave them to me.  My Santa is broken in the feet area, but I still hang him up.  And my snowman is actually this color:

Anyway, back to the crocheted Santa.  I read in Mom's next entry, November 15, 1980 that she "tried knitting a Santa ornament," and I actually got a little teary-eyed.  That's my ornament.

If I recall correctly, Mom let each of us choose which ornament we wanted, and I wanted the Santa so badly.  I was so happy to score it.  I don't even think Mom was particularly happy with how the Santa turned out compared with some of the others.  But I loved it.  Still do.

  I guess what got me emotional was that Mom was quite a crocheter and knitter in her day.  She was always making afghans.  One time she asked me what kind of afghan I would like her to make for me.  I wanted every color in it, and if I remember correctly, we went to the fabric and yarn store, and I picked out the colors I wanted.  I think Mom felt it would look ugly, but I was insistent.  After she finished it, I think she still felt it was kind of ugly (not up to her afghan standards at least), but I loved with it and slept with it for much of my childhood.  I still have it, although I haven't used it in years.  I mainly keep it around for sentimental value:


Some years later, Mom made me another afghan.  I also requested another multicolored one, but this one was more in line with her style and standards:

I still use this when it gets cold.  It is both beautiful and very warm, and I love it.

After I met Jonah, Mom wanted to make an afghan for him.  She asked me what his favorite color was.  I told her it was purple (same as me), and she made this one for him (for Christmas, I think): 

The cats actually seem to have commandeered the afghan from Jonah.  They use it more than he does.  But I was always so touched that Mom made it for Jonah.

It's hard to believe that was only about six or seven years ago; I'm not even sure Mom would remember how to crochet or knit today.  I was in a play in 2009 where I played a character that needed to knit on stage, and Mom was able to teach me then how to do it then, but I'm not sure if she would still remember now.  Maybe if we brought her some yarn and needles, she might pick it up again.  Who knows?

I guess that's why I got emotional.  Most days I'm at peace with who my mom currently is, but once in a while there are reminders of who she was and what she used to be able to do, and I miss it.  But like Jonah reminds me, Mom seems very happy right now.  She's always very animated and upbeat when I talk to her; she has friends at the assisted living place (including one male friend who is definitely not her boyfriend (although I notice she makes more time for him than for me lately); and she is definitely doing better now that she's there.  Yes, her memory and mental condition continue to get worse, but she is physically healthier and we no longer worry about her endangering herself.  She's actually become so used to where she lives that she rarely even wants to leave (compare that with that terrible first month when she begged to go home every day and was sooo unhappy).

I'm glad she is well.  I miss her a lot.  I wish I could see her more often.  I do talk to her every single day, sometimes just for a few short minutes, sometimes for a half hour; and I've only missed one day since she moved in there in January.  I used to wonder if I was calling too much, if the staff was annoyed by my daily calls, but I learned that they love it.  They say Mom loves getting my calls (which Mom tells me, too), and they said it's really great that I do it when so many other residents' families seem to completely forget about them.  I think that's sad.  After all, she's still my mom, and I love her.  Why would I want to abandon her?

Anyway, it was nice to be reminded of the crocheted Santa Claus from yesteryear. 


LCannon said...

I still have my crocheted ornaments - I think I may have gotten a couple of hers as well. There were several to choose from as the ceramic ones I wrote about in this post http://beneaththewraps.blogspot.com/2012/12/oh-no-mom-fell-off-tree.html and I did the multi-colored afgan thing too. And she thought mine would be ugly. But it's wonderful.

Thank you for the memories

James said...

When I saw the afghan your mom made for you I couldn't help but start singing: "It was red and yellow and green and brown, and scarlet and black and ochre and peach, and ruby and olive and violet and fawn..."

Nice story...don't throw away the snowman. It's a part of you!

Dean Scott said...

I enjoyed reading about your connections to your mom's handicrafts. I feel a similar connection when I look or hold my mom's creations.