Except for occasional trips to Los Angeles to visit her sisters, my grandmother, Violet Benjamin, preferred to stay at home in Fresno, California, in the house that she loved and tended with tremendous care
Most of her “travels” were done via the telephone lines. She had a black rotary telephone, which I commemorated in crochet in my 2014 North Carolina State Fair project:
The phone was outfitted with a seemingly endless cord that allowed her to reach any point in the house as she walk from room to room talking to her many friends.
As all of these conversations were conducted in Serbian, her native tongue, their import was a mystery to me. My job was to keep myself amused, so while I spent my time at her house playing with Legos and trolls, she and I lived parallel lives that intersected in the kitchen where I was to eat any and all meals and snacks, or the bathtub where I was to scrub off the detritus of the day before going to bed.
My grandmother was different from most grown-ups I knew, in part because she didn’t drive, and in part because the English she spoke was what some people call “broken.”
My grandmother’s English was heavily accented, but it was not “broken.” She was able to clearly communicate her expectations to me, and I never had any doubts about what I was and was not supposed to do. She had successfully managed a household from the time she was sixteen while suffering the lose of each of her three husbands and raising five of her six children to adulthood.
And she did all of this despite the fact she was not able to pursue a formal education until she was in her mid-fifties so she could become a citizen of the country that had been her home since she was 12.
My grandmother was notable for her ability to work hard.
She didn’t just do things well, she also had the stamina to get them done, and this quality did not escape her father’s notice. Shortly after she arrived in this country at the age of 12, her older sister, Lillian, and younger sister, Ida, were allowed to go to school, while my grandmother had to stay at home and work in her father’s boarding house, one of his several businesses.
Four years later, when my grandfather had married off both my grandmother and older sister, Lillian, he attempted to withdraw Ida from school and have her do the work my grandmother had done, but by then, Ida was 10-years-old and wise to the ways of the new world, so she called the truant officer on her father and continued with her education.
So it is with both my grandmother who was denied and education by her father, and her younger sister Ida, who got her eduction by defying her father, in mind that I have resumed work on more crochet squares for Project Amigo.
The first square I worked on today was a formerly three-round granny square, that I found in my crochet empire. Despite the dreadful non-daylight I had been working with, I was able to find a suitable color for the fourth round, but had tried two colors that did not work before I hit on Red Heart With Love Blue Hawaii:
Which seemed to propel me out of a crochet stasis I had been fighting, and I finally got these four crochet rose square:
laced together and edged into one square:
which seemed to help catapult me into more steady output of rehabbed crochet squares, so that at the end of the day, I had this to show for myself:
Part of what appeals to me so much about Project Amigo and motivates me to continue to rehab the assorted crochet squares in my empire is that the purpose of the project is to give the adults of Colima some means to provide education to the young people of Colima, and while my grandmother might not have approved of how I “organize” my crochet, she would definitely have approved of my crochet squares being part of a larger effort to bring the opportunity and promise that education