|BWS Stories - NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners|
NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners - Knitting With Nanny - Runner Up!
Linda Hershman is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is certified in EMDR/trauma therapy and co-occurring substance abuse/mental health. Her private practice is located in Narberth, PA. She is a freelance writer and contributing
editor to the PA Association of Marriage and Family Therapists newsletter. She
wishes she had more time to knit for her husband and son, who is now too old
for dinosaur sweaters.
Knitting With Nanny - Runner Up!
Life with Nanny, my grandmother, was punctuated by the clicking of
knitting needles. Nanny's hands were
never idle; they worked when she rode in the passenger seat of the car, as she
waited to be dealt into her poker games, and especially while sitting poolside
at her condo complex.
Each generation of my family produces one knitter, a woman who wraps the
others with love in the form of baby blankets, children's sweater emblazoned
with ballerinas or dinosaurs, glittery scarfs to glam up the plainest of
coats. I inherited Nanny's joy in the
the tactile, the colors, and most of all, the way the repetitive movements
quieted the mind. Knit. Purl. Like meditation, or a prayer.
Together we'd sit by the pool on chaise lounges, endless inches of garments
spooling from the needles as we chatted. Sometimes we knit silently, breathing in chlorine and connection. “Who's it for?” Nanny would ask when I pulled
a ball of yarn from my knitting bag and cast on stitches to start a new
sweater. Her eyes sparkled like topaz
when I worked on a piece for myself or my son, but her brows furrowed if I was making something for one of
the many men who left eventually, not tied by the strands I weaved for them. I finally loved a man who stayed, and knew he
was the right one when Nanny suggested, “Why don't you make him a nice
Carpal tunnel syndrome eventually forced Nanny to retire her
needles. Still, I'd knit at the pool
while she watched. Occasionally, she'd
ask, “Who's it for?” and I'd say, “It's for you,” and her topaz eyes danced
even as her brow creased. Love and
Last year, as Nanny lay dying, I'd bring my needles to her bedside, the
click-clacking speaking for us. Knit.
Purl. I love you...farewell.
* * * * * *
My six-year old niece, Tia, seems to be the yarn bearer of her
generation. Sometimes she knits with me,
her curly hair bouncing as she throws the yarn like it's a boomerang, tongue
sticking out of the side of her mouth. Knit. Purl. At other times she watches and asks questions, as if she
understands she's the chosen one and needs to absorb the lessons. There is little silent communication with
Tia, who chats as if she's on deadline to use all her words, but we share a
When I begin a new piece, Tia asks, “Who's it for?” She giggles with the glee of a six-year old
who's in on the joke. Together, we yell,
“It's for Nanny!”