Thoughts on Grannies and lost skills

When I was little most of my friends had a Granny who lived at home with them.  It was great because Granny was always there to fix a boo-boo or tell stories about when she was a little girl.  She was  also a great cook.   She knew how to bake the best bread, cakes and cookies.  Why she even knew how to can and preserve,  although those skills were in less demand living in the suburbs.

However, there was one skill that Granny knew that was always in demand.  She knew how to mend.  She could and would take the time to fix a shirt  without a button, or put a patch on the knees of trousers that were ‘still serviceable.’  She washed and repaired, lowered and raised hemlines,  and when it wasn’t ‘serviceable’ anymore she’d cut it up and use it for quilting or dusting.  She never wasted anything and that included socks.

Now mending socks, well that was an art because you had to take very tiny stitches, placed very close together, in order for the mend to be smooth enough to wear comfortably.  The tools for the job were a needle and thread, small scissors, and of course a burned out light bulb.   The light bulb was pure genius because it was dropped down into the sock where it provided a curved and hard surface to deflect the needle, and thereby saved your fingers being stabbed.  The bulb’s  curved surface also allowed the new seam to follow the natural tube shape of the sock.

Yup, Grannies were indispensable!  Or so I thought when I was young.  Time has passed and few people know the luxury of having a knowledgeable and talented Granny living at home with them.  Yet, after all this time I remember those borrowed moments with my playmates and their loving Grannies.

So today I sit here by the light of my dinning room window mending a sock.  I look out the window and realize how much I learned from those borrowed moments…  and I smile.    Biting  the thread to loosen it from the sock I feel some measure of pride at making  it once again ‘serviceable.’