A special doily



The author’s grandmother crocheted this intricate doily out of thick old stockings in the Depression when she had no money for yarn. Photos provided

The phone rang and I was jolted out of a sound sleep. I looked at the clock: it was 5:30 a.m. I started feeling queasy as I answered the phone. At that hour, it was either a prank call or bad news.

The quivering voice on the phone was my mother’s. She said, “Your Grandmother Scott died a few minutes ago in her sleep.” For the past year, my grandmother had been a nursing home resident. Her physical and mental condition had deteriorated over the past two years.

Memories—in my fogged state—welled up and my eyes released a waterfall of painful emotions. My body shook as I sobbed.

Then as the sun came up, another memory emerged. It was a sunny day. I was visiting my grandmother at her house. She was feeding the many doves that frequented her yard. She tossed out handfuls of bird seed. The green grass turned white, blanketed by seed.

My visits with my grandmother were filled with conversation, laughter and tears when reminiscing about the past. There was the loss of two of her four children, a divorce from her abusive and alcoholic husband, and raising her youngest daughter on her own while she worked as a housekeeper.

My grandmother’s house was filled with family pictures, collections and beautiful handmade items. She enjoyed crocheting, quilting and knitting.

The one item I always admired was the intricately crocheted doily that was tucked under a vase of silk flowers on a stand next to her chair. The story she told me about this doily was amazing.
During the Depression, she had no money for yarn or knitting materials. She took a pair of old, thick, tan stockings, unraveled them, and began her creation of this beautiful piece.

She took a pair of old, thick, tan stockings, unraveled them, and began her creation of this beautiful piece.

There was no question about what personal item I wanted of my grandmother’s. As a remembrance of her, I wanted the doily with the story that out of something old and worn out, loving hands had created a thing of beauty.

I look at it today and feel inspired and humbled.

SUSAN ESTEP enjoys writing and creating works of art; she lives in Harrisonburg, Va.


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