Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This is Helen

I do not know her last name. This is a photo from an old album and was probably taken in the mid 1920's when you went to Normal School to become a teacher.

I love this photograph. I love the dead-on gaze, the way that one curl on her right tucks under by her eyebrow, the row of silver buttons so close together you hope they're just ornamental because if not they'd be such a pain to do up and undo. I love the handwriting in the corner (why does everyone have nice handwriting?) I love that even after looking at this photograph for a long time (Georgia O'Keefe said, " see takes time, like to have a friend takes time") I can't be absolutely positive that this is really Helen.

I think she had a strong will and a great sense of humor. I imagine she married young because that was expected but her good-for-nothing husband died in a drunken wreck. She went back to school teaching but kept the small farm against pressures from her in-laws. Her garden was filled with herbs; strange, beautiful flowers; sweet, bright fruits; even indigo which she had to tend carefully because she lived on the extreme of its range. Instead of the utilitarian knitting everyone did, she knit dramatic works of art with unusual shaping and bold color combinations. She overdyed dull yarns with this and that from her garden & pasture. Even when knitting socks for soldiers during the war, she knit a small stylized "H" on the sole as a talisman. She never remarried and lived to be 96.

Or maybe not. When Cassie & I go to the National Gallery, we like to look at the portraits and imagine what the people were like. I feel no compunction to do research & get it right; history doesn't always tell the truth anyway.


Anonymous smf said...

Yes, that is Helen. I used to know her last name but not any longer and I doubt that there is anyone around to ask so let your imagination fly...she may have been everything you thought and more...
I always thought she looked like a boy and Mom used to get mad when I asked if it was her boyfriend.

8:19 PM  

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