Monday, July 24, 2006


Today is my Grandma's birthday. She would have been 88 years old; she died very suddenly on March 2nd, 1992 - the day before my baby shower when I was pregnant with Kelson. This is Eula Mae Oakleaf at her high school graduation - wasn't she pretty?

She married my granddad, Ray Benefiel, soon after she graduated in 1936. They were married for 56 years, and Granddad died 9 months after Grandma.

Grandma was always working on something; knitting crocheting, quilting, sewing. When I was 6 years old, I pestered her to show me how to do something - anything - that she was doing. She showed me how to crochet, and her house was filled with an entire skein of green acrylic yarn that was made into a chain. The next time I visited, she got out a pair of knitting needles and a skein of harvest orange acrylic, and she showed me how to knit. I knit squares and rectangles and more squares. They were uneven, hideous things, but grandma told me that I was doing great. She showed me a very basic slipper pattern - knit a rectangle, decrease at the top, sew up the sides and back, and attach a pompom to the top. That year several members of the family received slippers in various shades of acrylic yarn - gold, brown and green (it was the early 70's, after all).

I haven't stopped since. Sure, I took an rather extended break in high school and college, but I never really stopped knitting (or quilting, or sewing. I can crochet a mean doily, but I really don't care for it). Grandma never really stopped, either. When diabetes took her sight, she put down the knitting needles and the crochet hook, but she kept right on quilting. I have one of her unfinished scrap quilts; you can watch the progression of her vision as you go from one end of the quilt to another.

Grandma and I were like two peas in a pod. I used to spend a lot of time at her and Granddad's place in Michigan; it's where I ran away for long weekends in college, and where I spent every single spring break. Grandma used to say "go get the thingamajiggy off of the whatchamacallit," and I would go get it for her because I always seemed to know exactly what she was talking about. (Granddad and Dad used to say the exact same thing when that happened...."Now, cut that out!")

Grandma's been gone for 14 years, and I still miss her. Happy Birthday, Grandma.


Blogger Knittinreed said...

Happy Birthday to your Grandma.
She sounds like she was an extraordinary woman. Thanks for the link - I was able to go there.

8:17 AM  

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