Thursday, September 21, 2006

Knitting the German Way

It's not uncommon that I wake up from dreams in tears. Usually they're about my oldest brother bullying me or belittling me (yes, sibling relationships in childhood CAN remain impactful in adulthood!), but this one was about Mom.

Mom knit all the time. She knit matching blue ski sweaters for my brothers and me when we were kids. She knit my favorite light and sexy open-weave sweater in college. And she knit incessantly for my children. She knit "the German way." According to her, the "American way" had too many frivolous and unnecessary steps. I remember that she tried to teach me how to knit, but as Dad had encountered when he tried to teach me to sail (the "German way"?) when I was in high school, I was too busy to learn and saw no reason to learning such useless stuff.

My dream was about a dream within a dream. In my dream, I had just woken up from a dream in which I realized that Mom was dead and I that would never learn to knit. I felt terrible, almost panicky, that I hadn't learned to knit from her -- that I always found more "important" things to learn and do. And now she was dead and I would never learn to knit "the German way." Mom had made it very clear (in my dream within a dream) that she was among the last people to know how to knit that way, since the generation of German knitters were dying off (I think that came from commemoration events that were happening at Auschwitz that week). In my dream, I woke up from my dream (not for real, only from the dream in the dream -- I know, confusing!) sobbing, and I ran out of my room -- where Mom greeted me, standing in the hallway in her blue down robe that always smelled like her (and which I am wearing now, in fact). I fell into her hug, sobbing that I had dreamed that she had died without teaching me to knit -- which she found rather silly, saying she could of course still teach me.

It was then that I woke up for real, sobbing. The sense of loss at that moment was the most profound that it had been since Mom's death.

(*with thanks to DixiePeach, for bringing back memories that are as happy, in an odd way, as they are sad...)

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christina said...

Wow, some very sad memories but you seem to have a real ability to remember your dreams which is probably not a bad thing.

Check out this link.
Continental Knitting

That's also the way I learned to knit from my left-handed mother who learned it from my (paternal) German/Austrian grandmother.

Carol said...

Thank you so much, Christina -- from me and my mom... knitting forevermore!


Julie H said...

Hi Carol,

Big hugs to you, sounds like you need it today!

Thank you for dropping by my blog, I did giggle at what you had been reading.

I am sorry to say I don't Scrapbook. The store I work at part-time was called Scrapbook Designs long before it became popular. We sell scrapbooking goodies, but have all paperarts goodies too. You must miss your exchange student to be doing something so nice for them.


Betsy said...

Wow, powerful dream. Your mom is obviously on your mind a lot lately-- hope some of the memories are comforting.

Big hug.

blackcrag said...

I'm sorry you had such an unsettling dream.

My mother knits incessently, as did her mother. Neither knit in the German way, being British, but that hasn't stopped my mother from knitting me several cardigans, sweaters, etc.

I hope you learn to knit now, so you can feel closer to your mother.

vailian said...

There is a book you would enjoy, I think, called "Die Farm in den Gruenen Bergen" by Alice Herdan-Zuckmeyer-- she was Aryan and her husband was a Jewish playwright; they fled to Vermont in 1939 and survived by becoming self-sustaining on an isolated farm. It is fascinating to see the way they look at the American way of life. They, too, complained that Christmas was just not "right" in America. But they loved the USDA... well, it is a long story.

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