Today's memories were jump-started by this post from Delores, where she talks about helping her grandchildren learn to knit. As I commented to her, there's nothing as helpful as a hands-on demonstration of a new skill. Kudos to her for passing on her knowledge to some of the little people in her life.
That post reminded me of my early interest in handwork, but it also reminded me of how many kind people there were in my life as I grew up, people who helped me learn the things I was interested in knowing, and sometimes things I wasn't interested in but which were good things to learn.
My mother showed me how to sew on her treadle machine when I was quite little, and she provided me with knitting needles, crochet hooks, and other supplies to satisfy my crafting soul. She also let me bake on my own at an equally young age (probably seven or eight).
My father, an auto mechanic and fixer of all things with motors, allowed my brother and me to drive an old Jeep and an old VW Bug in the field next to our
house when I was still so short I had to sit on a car parts
catalogue to see over the steering wheel. (The catalogue
was about four inches thick.) Dad also taught me to drive "for real" when I got my license a
few years later and a few inches taller.
My grandfather showed me to chord on the piano so I could accompany his fiddle-playing, which I wrote about here. And although at the time I was as ungracious and ungrateful as only a teenager can be, I am glad to have that experience and treasure those memories now.
My grandfather's second wife gave me a hands-on demonstration of embroidery techniques, and the good advice to wash my hands before working on a project. I was a grubby eight-year-old and washing wouldn't have occurred to me without her input. The marriage to my grandad didn't last long, but I still remember her patient and kind help.
When I was twelve I took "plink, plank, plonk" piano lessons from a very nice teacher, but found them drearily dull. Then an accomplished musician moved to our community from the United States with his equally talented wife, they put down roots and had babies, and my mother babysat their children in return for piano lessons for me. Now that was a teacher who could motivate. He helped me learn numerous complicated pieces and I thank him to this day for understanding that I didn't need to become a concert pianist, I just needed to play something I loved.
That musician and his wife also formed a theatre group and a choral group in our little community, and his wife taught ballet classes. The amount of culture that they brought to my life, and the lives of many of my friends and neighbours, can't be overstated.
I am so thankful for all these adults in my childhood who helped me gain skills and self-esteem that have travelled with me throughout my life.
On a completely different topic: on one of my walks this week, I found a peace symbol formed by the cracks in the sidewalk. And I should have taken a picture of it, but I didn't because my fingers were freezing, and then we had more snow, and now it's all covered up.
Here's a Pixabay peace sign instead (which I could have made myself, if I'd been clever enough to think of it):
The next time I get the chance, I'll take a photo of that sidewalk crack peace symbol, and post it.
We can never have too many peace symbols, nor too much peace.