Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Out with the Old?

Since it's timely I almost feel the obligation to post something about New Year's resolutions; especially since those that follow the Mayan calendar suspect that this might be my last opportunity to do so.  This is usually the time of year when people start fresh; and along with organizing priorities it's not unusual to resolve to get more organized in a tangible sense.  Time to clean up your life as well as your living space.  So, a number of people throw out old clothes, papers, broken items along with their old calendars.  But what about those things we keep?

This year I spent the last day of 2011 with my boyfriend and his family.  About an hour before the ball dropped, Daniel's stepmother, Judy, was doing her Wonder Woman-esque feat of managing sleeping arrangements.  Before you think I'm exaggerating, I should probably mention that a number of relatives were in town, bringing the total of butts needing beds to a delicate 15.  Not surprisingly, this was an opportunity to  find throw blankets that aren't used on a regular basis.

One such blanket was a wedding gift when Daniel's father and Judy got married.  This lovely antique white afghan was lovingly crocheted by hand, with fringe and bobbles.  This blanket had been in the family long enough to predate the addition of their two girls, as well a number of pets.  One member of the family, Buster, an Australian Shepard, wanted to make his impression on this heirloom.  Buster busted a hole about the size of a snout in the wedding afghan.  Fortunately it wasn't torn asunder; just a little too loved on.

And now back to New Year's eve.  As we sat around alternately gaping and giggling at Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper, Judy came down with the wedding afghan.  She knows about my addiction; that I knit and crochet and figured it never hurts to ask.  Knowing that washing would have helped unravel what Buster had begun, she refrained from doing so.  After studying the pertinent area, my mind unhindered by liquid holiday cheer, I told her I thought I might be able to fix it.  I hope I can actually deliver!

I love that I've been given an opportunity to mend something special.  In our society of disposable goods, it seems wonderfully fulfilling to fix something instead of chucking it out and getting a new one.  The lines from Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World keeps coming back:

"But old clothes are beastly," continued the untiring whisper. "We always throw away old clothes. Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending, ending is better …".

"Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches; the more stitches …"

Eerily prophetic, considering it was first published in 1932.  Despite the dismal similarities between the world of 2012 and the dystopian future Huxley presented; I'm grateful that it's not completely the case.  I'm finding personal riches in stitches, and I'm certainly not ending my mending.  The thought of heirlooms still being used and loved warms me more than this afghan ever could.  So for me it's in with the old and new; old heirloom new stitches and a new lease on life for this piece of family history.

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