When she was seven or eight years old, bobby socks were all the rage, and Nancy desperately wanted a pair. However, her parents refused to acquiesce to the trend of the time and buy her any. Instead, Nancy had to wear ugly brown full-length stockings.
“So I went to the library,” she said, “I had a library card even then. I found a book about knitting and checked it out. I read and reread. Then I went to my Dad and asked for a dime to buy something at the five and dime. He gave it to me.”
She bought a cheap skein of yarn and two knitting needles. She would knit something, rip it out, and knit again. Over and over she knit and ripped out, until that skein of yarn was little more than a thread bare strand.
“Then I went back to my dad and asked for a quarter.” Her eyes grew wide at the mention of the quarter—like those of a small child who approaches a parent with trepidation, not sure what the response would be at such a bold request.
“He gave it to me, and I went back to the five and dime and bought a really nice skein of yarn.”
She started knitting her first pair of socks.
“It was like magic when I turned the heel. Even now, it still is. You knit those short rows, and suddenly you have a heel. One Christmas I knit 30 pairs of socks—turning a heel never loses its magic for me.”
Pretty soon she had completed her first pair of bobby socks. She went to her parents, holding up a sock in each hand, and asked “Now, can I wear bobby socks?”
I love this story, and I loved getting to meet Nancy.
Nancy’s story was one of initiative, perseverance and courage. She showed the initiative to check out a book and teach herself how to knit. She showed perseverance with the practicing—the ripping out and knitting again. And she showed courage by daring to ask for a whole quarter, by daring to knit the forbidden bobby socks, and daring to show them openly to her parents, “Can I wear them now?”
Initiative, perseverance and courage.
I met Nancy at the 60th wedding anniversary for my in-laws this weekend. They are truly wonderful people, and the church and hall full of people celebrating with us is living testimony to their character. Amazing people tend to attract amazing friends around them, and my in laws are no exception to this pattern.
When you think about it, in addition to the love, there had to be a great deal of initiative, perseverance and courage in that marriage of 60 years on the part of both Grandma and Papa C. Perhaps that’s why they attract such wonderful friends like Nancy.
I couldn’t be more delighted that my in-laws show the same kind of commitment to their marriage that my parents showed to theirs. I love the foundation that it builds for my daughter, and I love the fact that she gets to meet all these wonderful people because of them. I can only hope that my husband and I model that same initiative, perseverance and courage, surrounded by love, for our daughter as she grows up.
And if she teaches herself to knit on the sly, well that’s OK too.
© 2013 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.