Friday knitting musings is more than just yarn and needles.
One of the projects that I would love to tackle as a new knitting project, maybe in the Fall when we’re back to cooler weather, would be prayer shawls. Who doesn’t like something warm and cozy thrown over their shoulders? Something made by hand, with yarn in bright colors, or maybe even a subtle shade?
Which got me to thinking . . .
I remember the year 1968. Many say it was cataclysmic for all the history that happened then. In April Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, there were the riots on campuses all over the U.S., and there was the Democratic Convention held in Chicago which became a wild time. It was peace and love and LSD; hippies and their communes, free sex for everyone. The war in Vietnam was on our TVs every night; by all accounts we were winning in a spectacular fashion, what with two Americans killed versus eight hundred of the enemy. Every night it went like that.
Tell that lie to 58,000 plus families who lost loved ones in Vietnam.
I was a junior in high school that Spring and most of these things did not affect me. I was too interested in my friends, and our happenings right there in Cranford, NJ. Life is filled to the brim when you’re in high school and the news of the day seemed to be someone else’s concern. I figured the adults could handle it. Little did I know . . .
This was right around the time that I was learning to knit. My girlfriend and I started out by ordering afghan kits from Herrschner’s. It was then that her mother tried knitting her own kit and was quite confused by the instructions. So, I don’t think we ever made those afghans; rather we turned out some sweaters which were not so good. (Remember what I said about biting off more than you can chew in Knitting Questions Answered Part 4?)
But we were always trying something new in the world of knitting. In between school and dancing school and sports events and gabbing on the phone for hours at a time after walking home together gabbing all the way. Life was filled to the brim; and then came the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
I liked what he had to say; he sounded fresh and he looked so likeable. I can recall watching him live on TV when he won the California Primary and seemed such a serious contender for President at that point. Then he turned from the microphones, walked out of the ballroom he was speaking in, headed out to his waiting limo through the kitchen area and was promptly shot three times by some deranged man of Middle Eastern descent named Sirhan Sirhan.
So, there went another landscape of life that could have been American History. Instead it turned into a page in a worn history book. A dream that stayed a dream and nothing more.
A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope. Charles M. Schulz
I remember this time so well because on Saturday, June 8, after the requiem mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC RFK’s coffin was placed in the last car of a special private train and wound its way through New Jersey down to Washington D.C. Thousands of people lined the tracks all along the way. My mother had us (my girlfriend, too) get in the car and we drove out to Linden. Through Warinanco Park up Park Avenue to Elizabeth Avenue, and we found a parking spot somewhere. Then we walked to the tracks and just waited. It was a warm and very humid afternoon, that I remember well.
At last the train arrived. It glided by so silently and there wasn’t a sound to be heard from anyone standing there. It really made me feel as if I was a part of something big. A real piece of American history, never to be repeated. You could see into the train windows and there were lots of people there; all of the Kennedy clan was on board and many others, too, I suspect.
Then as the train seemed to be almost gone, there it was, the flag-draped coffin in the middle of the last car, all alone, seeming to sweep by all of us standing still. On the back platform were a couple of people, waving; family members I’m sure.
We watched the train move slowly down the tracks, then just like that everybody else we moved away and walked back to our cars and were gone. But, we were left with a very empty feeling as we went; knowing that something bad had happened and whatever was to be, we could never get it back.
And now almost 47 years later, that memory is still in place, and reminds me very much of how fragile life is; how one moment we are here, and the next moment we may be gone from this life.
Right now, there are people who can use our knitting help. Because we know how to knit we CAN provide some comfort to those who are going through difficulties because of sickness or troubling circumstances. Yet a prayer shawl can be given for any occasion; a wedding, a baby gift, or just to say “I love you.” It’s healing effects have left many a touching story.
In the coming months I will be adding video’s to my Scarf Knitting website, and before long I want to start a Scarf Knitting Facebook Group. So, I’m thinking a shawl or wide scarf project would be just perfect to begin the group with. For more information here is a great starting point.
Because often we have no words for when momentous things happen in our lives. Good or bad, sometimes the only way we can express our love is by wrapping something warm and encouraging around us. Like a loving pair of hands, our prayer shawl wraps us in love. Without a word spoken.
As always, take your knitting to heart!