Crocheted Blessings Of Love
As mentioned in earlier stories, both my grandparents on both sides of my family were from Italy. My grandmother on my father’s side worked as a seamstress in New York City at the age of 18. In Italy everything, back in the early 1900’s, was made by hand from winter coats to embroidered sheets, therefore it was not hard for my grandmother to land a job as a seamstress upon arriving in New York, in 1906.
Her skills were forever used throughout her life as well, for it was not uncommon for my brothers, sisters, or myself to receive a fully lines leather jacket for Christmas. Of course we knew in advance what we were getting, for we would have to stand for hours getting fitted, we didn’t mind though for when my grandmother set out to make something for us she didn’t skimp or cut corners.
But the one thing I always admired was her skill of crocheting. Handmade coffee table covers, bed linen, curtains, you name it she was as crafty with the crochet and embroidery needle as she was with her sewing machine. It was known among the family members that upon getting married you would receive a full set of monogrammed, crochet, bed sheets. Bare in mind during these days such things as stenciling and diagrams were never used, therefore a clean white sheet stretched within an embroidery hoop was nothing more than a blank canvas to work with.
I was 16 when my grandmother passed away. She was such an inspiration to me that it took some time for me to get over her passing, but it really hit me hard when I got married. I thought to myself, if grandma was alive she would have embroidered a beautiful set of linen for me too just like she did for everyone else in the family. In a way, it was her way of giving her blessings to the newly weds. As I sat down to open my wedding presents, a few days after returning back from my honeymoon, I thought to myself, where do I begin?
Three quarters of the way through our wedding presents, I came upon a large flat shaped box with no card, another picture frame I thought. As I unwrapped the gift I noticed the box looked worn and old, as I lifted the lid there was a note that rested on several pieces of tissue paper, the note read: To my precious granddaughter. You are far too young to marry right now, but I wanted to make sure you knew I didn’t forget about you. May your wedding be blessed and may you always know you carry a special place in my heart. Love Grandma.
As I unfolded the tissue paper inside the box there was my set of wedding sheets, hand crocheted by my grandmother, with embroidered flowers that stretched from one corner of the sheet to the other. The pillow cases were covered with flowers and crochet trim. I knew she couldn’t have monogrammed my sheets for she didn’t know who I was going to marry at the time of making them, so she replaced the monogram with cascading flowers. I started to weep uncontrollably as I grabbed the phone and called my father. “Dad…” was all I got out, for my father spoke immediately after hearing the sorrow in my voice, “I know hon, my mother called me over to the house prior to passing away. She gave me four boxes along with specific directions as to whom to give them to on their wedding day; you were one of the four. As you know grandma was sick with cancer, I think she knew she didn’t have long to live, but she wanted you to know she loved you and you were not forgotten on your big day. I took the box she designated for you and placed it on the table on her behalf. I’m sorry I didn’t warn you in advance, but I wanted you to be happy on your big day, not crying.” After hanging up with my father, I told my husband the story behind the sheets, as he kissed me and said, “You come from a very loving family.”
Several months down the road my cousin got married, and as I walked past the gift table on her wedding day, I noticed a large flat square box resting on the corner. My cousin and I spoke briefly before she went back to sit by her husband, but before leaving she said, “Remember when grandma use to make those embroidered sheets for everyone, it’s too bad she passed before we got married, but somehow in my heart I feel she is still here with me.” I just hugged my cousin and whispered in her ear, “She is dear cousin, she really is.”