The story behind the story

I’m mad about all crafts. Well, that’s not true. I like making nearly all crafts but…
I love crocheting!

It all began when I was very young. My mother was the Leader of our Clover 4-H Club in our region. She set up a six-week merit earning programs for the members of the club. Along with learning Public Speaking, Baking contests, Nutrition skills, my personal favorite was learning how to crochet. To help,with this, my mother asked several people, mostly elderly widows, in the small boom-town community we lived in for help. Many responded saying they would love to mentor and teach their skills to us.

There were about five or six of us ranging in age from ten to twelve. We each paired with a volunteer teacher once a week for one hour in their homes. I remember my widowed volunteer teacher was an elderly named Mrs. Lloyd. She lived in a nearby neighboring town about four miles away by herself. However after the first visit, I cried, was afraid of her, and never wanted to return. I could not tell you how to make a loop on my hook, let alone the chain stitch. I was a trembling ball of yarn.

Each week, my Mother dropped me off at her house with my yarn and hooks in hand. Mrs. Lloyd was kind enough, but what scared me was her scarred face. She had been in a terrible burn accident at some point in her life and on the entire left side of her face was very marred and unnatural. The skin was  smooth, yet a lumpy mixture of pinkish white skin, with tight lines of skin webbing pieces together. She had a small slit for her left eye, a tiny hole for left nostril, and the left side of her mouthed drooped down eerily. She also had very long, hardened yellow fingernails. I never wanted to go back.

But back I went, and I’m glad I did. I didn’t just learn crocheting from her during those weeks, I learned an early life lesson. Don’t judge a book by its cover. She would favor that side, showing me her right side as much as possible. She must have sensed my horror at being near her, because she looked away when she talked to me so I wouldn’t have to see that side. And she always made a point to always sit to the left of me on her comfy cushioned couch. She avoided eye contact, so much so to the point of appearing to talk to an invisible person in front of me.

I soon realized, by her restrained actions and the hanging of her head, Mrs. Lloyd new quiet demeanor was my fault. She knew I was hesitant around her in my fright. This made me sad when I discovered this. So, on the second visit, I scooted close to her and smiled. She smiled back, and we began with the chain stitch together.

By the next visit, the following week, she had a smile and sugar cookies waiting for me. We munched on them together crocheting the single and doublet crochet stitch over and over. At the end of the hour, she pronounced me ready to crochet a project, a double crocheted granny stitched poncho. I was so excited, I don’t remember even seeing the scarred part of her face after that day.

It was six weeks of one hour crocheting time we had together. We became great friends. And by the time I had finished my lime green and white granny square fringed poncho, I was sorry our time was over. It’s funny that once you see the beauty inside a person, what’s on the outside just isn’t important anymore.

Enjoy life and crochet on!
Ronda K Reed

Pictured below is a newspaper article saved about the 4-H girls and their crochet mentors. I am pictures top left hugging Mrs. Lloyd in my lime and green poncho. And just a few things I’ve made throughout the years. I think of Mrs. Lloyd everytime I begin a new project. May she rest in peace.

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4 thoughts on “The story behind the story

  1. Wow! What an impressive turnaround from your first to second and following visits! How heart-warming!

    I could draw a picture of your friend from your description 🙂 I can feel the satisfaction you had with your poncho.

    I love the colors in your crochet work. (The colors are an incredible match with your blog header.) What an adorable set! Who is it for?

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    • Thank you, Grace, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I think of, Mrs. Lloyd, my crochet mentor, often.

      Being a product of the sixties, I gravitate to bright colors, I guess. Yes, the set was a gift for a friend I have come to know from google plus, Cyndi S. Jameson. She was one of the moderators who submitted some of the picture prompts used for the flash fiction exercises in the Writers Discussion Group. She delivered in May a little girl, so I had it mailed to her. She received it the day before her pre-scheduled delivery date and took the blanket and owl to the hospital with her. It was a fun set to work up. The owl is awake (open) on one side and asleep (closed) on the other. Thank you. for your positive enthusiasm.

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    • Thanks. Yes, Cyndi has her hands full now. I remember those days. 🙂 I did not have a pattern for the owl and just made it up as I went, but it’s not unlike the old rag dolls of old the topsy turvy rag dolls. The sleepy head and the wide awake head.

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