The Honey Cowl has been mailed out to its new owner and I’ve been sitting on this post until it arrived so I wouldn’t blow the surprise.
I really fell in love with the Madeline Tosh DK and once I finished the cowl I knew it couldn’t go to just anybody. My friend Susi’s birthday was coming up and I knew she was the perfect recipient. The cowl reminds me a bit of our friendship. Knit in the round, with almost 200 stitches, it takes a while to join up and complete a round. After almost 30 years apart, it took Susi and me a while to join up again too.
We’ve known each other since we were 4 or 5 years old and lived about a block apart, but when her family moved to the other end of town we lost touch. We saw each other a few times through the high school years but that was all. I’d often wondered what happened to her and where she ended up. We found each other again not long ago, through a mutual friend on Facebook and were finally reunited for a day last year. Turns out most of her family lives a couple of hours away, although she is a bit further. We haven’t seen each other again since, though we talk, email and message as much as we can. It’s good to have her back in my life.
Growing up, I learned a lot of things from or with Susi. She taught me how to ice skate, holding on to the business end of a push broom while she pulled me around her backyard rink. That led to countless weekends at the local arena for afternoon skate with friends , and evenings at the school yard rink, the girls trying to get in skate-time while the boys played hockey. Everything always ended in crack-the-whip; I hated crack-the-whip but it let me hold hands with Mark, so I did it (sigh).
We spent summer days making mud pies, with “salads” of dandelion parts, and pineapple weed and whatever greenery we came across. We collected jar after jar of spruce budworm moths and watched them for hours before letting them go. I can still feel the flutter of their wings in the palms of my hands. We picked up horse chestnuts as they fell from the Gill’s tree, ate crab apples from the tree across the lane and made faces over chokecherries growing nearby. We played lawn darts and “21 Up” with my neighbours and occasionally a window suffered for it. God, we had fun!
I learned to ride a two-wheeler solo just after she did. I had a big, clunky, CCM (gold, of all colours) while she had something sleek and shiny (was it purple?) with a banana seat, high-rise handlebars, and streamers. I coveted that bike, and she let me ride it now and then. We finally grew into speed bikes and we were off. We rode EVERYWHERE! Bellevue Park and touring the east end; down to the end of the locks and around the west end. We’d pack snacks and go – “Bye, Mom. Susi and I are going for a ride. Don’t know when we’ll be back”. (You could do that in those days as a 13-year old).
We took swim lessons together at the Y but I was, and still am, terrified of the water; I gave up the lessons when it came to diving. I can swim if I have to, but I don’t derive any pleasure from it. We got our first jobs together, working at McDonald’s. We filled out applications together but she, living in the east end, was at that location, while I worked at the other end of town.
And finally, we learned how to knit together. I think we were in 5th grade at the time; we took lessons after school, in the kindergarten class room. That’s all I really recall of it, but that’s where it all started for me. My mum didn’t knit, that I was aware of, so I don’t know how I got interested. I suspect that Susi asked me to go with her and I did. Years later, on a visit home, my mum showed me a vest she’d knit for my young nephew. She’d made up the pattern herself and it was both beautiful and perfect. She hadn’t knit for many years and didn’t feel confident enough to teach me herself, but when she finally had time on her own, she’d retaught herself, as we do, and came up aces. I was sad that she hadn’t tried earlier – she could have taught me a lot.
I wish I had some pictures to post of those early days. What with film developing and the cost of flashbulbs (remember those?), cameras weren’t a constant companion then. I do have this more recent pic though.
Susi and I will be getting together again next month for dinner, drinks, catching up. It’ll be another round complete.