I’ve been reunited with an old friend I haven’t seen in 10 years.
Yeah, it’s an afghan. My grandmother made it for me when I was a preteen or early teens, so it’s nearly 50 years old, and through the last two decades, unfortunately, it’s mostly sat in a cedar chest in various storage units. I was in danger of losing it a few times because I fell behind on paying for the storage, but it’s with me now.
Gram put these name tags on the sweaters and afghans she made for us. She got them to sew into my dad’s clothes when he was a kid. I’ve no idea how old these tags are.
It was knitted from whatever leftover yarn she had, and it’s a blend of polyester yarns and wool yarns. I just had it dry-cleaned.
This afghan covered me while I was in grade school and high school. I slept under it at the University of Vermont. It has followed me from Vermont to Massachusetts to Florida to New Hampshire to California, and finally caught up to me in Florida again yesterday.
I hadn’t thought I’d be so emotional about getting this blanket back, but I am. I’m looking at it and remembering my grandmother and her knitting. Seriously, if you sat her down in front of her stories (CBS soap operas) with yarn and her knitting needles, she’d cast on at the opening of “As the World Turns,” and have a pretty good start at a sweater by the time “The Guiding Light” came on. You can see on the back where she shifted from one color to another. Knitters can analyze it.
She made one of these for each of us kids. I shared a bedroom with my sisters and I can remember my sister wrapping herself up in hers like a multi-colored cocoon as she got ready to sleep.
My cats liked nesting in it and there was plenty of blanket to share. None of them clawed or chewed it or had an accident on in. Just kneading and snuggling into it.
This afghan and I have seen a lot of days. June 1 marks my 60th trip around the sun and, cliched though it is, I am conscious of time and not having as much of it. Life is no longer ahead of me, it’s mostly behind. I have made and lost friends, lost blood family members and soul family members. I’ve missed out on typical experiences like finding a spouse (no takers) and raising a family. Curiously, no one ever begged me for grandchildren. Maybe they knew something I didn’t.
On the other hand, this afghan was with me as I wrote my first book, a short stand up routine that I performed in Boston and L.A., sketches for a successful stage show. I met my celebrity crush and didn’t sleep under this afghan the next night. It has seen me through physical sickness and days when I just didn’t want to get out of bed because life was something I had screwed up badly and didn’t want to face it.
It’s showing its age, but still holding together and still useful. We’re starting a new chapter together, different bed, different locale, pretty soon, two kittens to discover its friendly folds.
Tonight, after I finish my crossword puzzles and turn out the light, I will snuggle down under its soft warmth for the first time in years. And for the first time in years, something that I didn’t know I was missing will come back to me.