My Knitting Journey

When I was about 10 or 11  the girls in our Church group were taught how to do a little knitting project and some crocheting. I mostly remember it as being confusing and what ever it was that we were supposed to make did not turn out the way the teachers did. My Mother did not have these skills and was not much help. I did not know anyone else who did these things. As a result I did not pursue these skills. My Mother did do some embroidery as did my sisters and my Aunt Inez. We were given pillow cases to embroider and as we successfully completed them Aunt Inez gave us quilt tops to embroider. Mine had Lilacs on it. Lots of Lilacs, I tried to do them all I really thought it was going to be a wonderful quilt some day. I still have that quilt top half done. Sometimes I can hear it calling to me. I just keep pushing it deep and away.

As I grew older, school and other activities took precedence over hand work. I had also learned to sew my own cloths. I loved Home Economics in Jr. High and High School. My Mother was an excellent cook and seamstress. She had always sewn beautiful dresses for us as we were growing up. Because I wanted to sew as well as my Mother I really worked at perfecting my skills.  As I was about ready to graduate from Jr. High, one day during Home Economics the Principle Mr. Miles came into our room and called me to the front and presented me with an award. “The Outstanding Student in Home Economics”, an award sponsored by the company, Crisco. I guess my teacher must have nominated me for that award. I was very surprised and pleased. I had never won an award before.  At that point in time I thought I would like to be a Home Economics teacher, I felt like that was one area that I could succeed in.

On to High School and other interests, I became interested in Drama and had one of the lead roles in the School Play, “George Washington Slept Here”. In the Spring we did “Oklahoma” I played Aunt Eller. That summer I was also in the Utah Shakespeare Festival. As Senior We did the musical “Brigadoon” I was in the chorus and acted as the assistant director.  Then that Summer after Graduation I was once again in the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Knitting and Crocheting were very far from my mind.

Years went by I eventually ended up in Marysville, Washington, married with a baby and one on the way. My neighbor was a knitter and since I had convinced my self that I could not knit I decided to try crocheting again. One day in a Relief Society work meeting one of the sisters was demonstrating how to crochet.  Suddenly it all made sense. I started doing simple projects. My neighbor was a wonderful knitter but I was afraid to try.

Life continued on it’s perilous path. My husband of three years was killed in an automobile accident and I moved back to Cedar City, Utah with my two young children. I continued to crochet and was pleased with the projects I was able to complete. Several years later I moved to Provo, Utah and there I met Theodore Bennion. We were married and three more children were added to our family.

Life was not smooth but hard and bumpy. I ended up divorcing Mr. Bennion and once again I was a single parent. My crocheting slowed down. I was busy trying to figure out how to work and be a parent. One day I was at my Mothers and she showed me a dish cloth that she really liked and wanted to know if I could make her some more. I told her I would try. I looked for crochet patterns that looked like the cloth with no success. One day I was in the yarn store and there was a sample of that same dish cloth. The sales lady told me that they taught children how to knit that cloth and I could do it also. She gave me a pattern and a quick lesson and sent me on my way.

That first project did not work out so well. I went back and she showed me what I had done wrong. Back to the drawing board. I got a booklet that had lots of different knitting patterns. I used it to try to learn different patterns. More dish cloths. My Sister showed me how to do cables. I was having a lot of fun trying different patterns and making dish cloths. Then I met Mr. James Hoag and we decided that it was time to get married. He encouraged me to continue. I took a class at the yarn shop on how to knit socks. The whole world opened up. I soon found my self carrying my knitting with me everywhere. Riding in the car, sitting in meetings, on breaks at work, waiting for a concert to start, watching TV in the evening. I had officially become a passionate knitter.

Today I am still knitting socks and have expanded into scarves, hats, gloves, some blankets and sweaters for grandkids even dog sweaters. I continue to test my abilities. I like trying new techniques and interesting designs.

I am happy to say that I Love to Knit.

17 Again

The year I turned 17 I was a Junior in High School.  I think these last two years were my best years of school.

Changes were coming to Cedar City and our family. A  new High School was under construction on the south side of town. My sister had just gotten married. My older brother was in College and getting ready to go on a mission. Fred Adams The founder of The Utah Shakespearean Festival,  had already had one summer of Shakespeare. The College had changed their name from Branch Agricultural College to College of Southern Utah. They were now a four year school and could award Bachelors Degrees.

I was in the High School Concert Choir and I had one of the lead roles in the school play, ‘George Washington Slept Here’. This play had been made into  a  Movie in 1942 starring Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan. The part I had was essentially the part that Jack Benny played. They reversed the roles for the movie. We also did the musical “Oklahoma” I played the part of Aunt Eller. In the play there are some solo parts that Aunt Eller has to sing. I was  not confident enough to  sing those parts in-tune. The director finally told me to just speak the lines in time to the music. That seemed to work and we got through the songs.

Even though I was involved in many of the extra curricular activities I still felt like I really was not one of the “popular” kids. I did not get invited to dances or parties. I helped decorate for the Junior Prom but was not invited to go to the dance.

As summer approached Fred Adams was a member of our ward and he told me one day that I should try out for the Shakespeare plays. So I did, and he cast me as a hand maiden to Cleopatra in the play “Anthony and Cleopatra”. He cast a local woman to play the role of Cleopatra, she was a native American. She was a beautiful woman and it seemed like she could be a wonderful Cleopatra. The problem was she couldn’t remember her lines and she was always late for rehearsals or didn’t show up at all. Finally about two weeks before opening night he recast another actress. We had a bunch of extra rehearsals and it was do or die. The show must go on.

At that point in time the Shakespeare Festival was only four weeks. There were three plays  on a rotating basis. The out door stage was constructed each year. A stage was also set up in the Auditorium in case of rain. In addition to Anthony and Cleopatra I had a walk on part as part of a crowd in one of the other plays. I also was part of the pre-show activities on the nights Cleopatra wasn’t playing.  I sang with the madrigal singers and sold candy and tarts. It was a wonderful experience. One of the actresses that summer was Carol Lynn Pearson who later became noted for a few poetry books she authored. In later years when I moved to Provo as a single mother she was the Relief Society President of my ward.

The school year of 1963 – 1964 was about ready to start. I had been accepted into the High School Pep Club. I felt like I was finally in the “in crowd”. I was still in the Concert Choir and we tried to start a Thespians club.

November 22, 1963, I was at the College for a Choir workshop. We had just dismissed for lunch and I was exiting the building when I saw some of the kids I had worked with in Festival. I stopped to say Hi they looked upset,

“Whats the matter?”

“President Kennedy has been shot.”

I was in shock. I was not a fan of President Kennedy but I knew this was not a good thing. They told me that they had actually met him at the White House the year before when they went back east with the Drama Club. They were very sad. I headed for home. My Dad and Aunt Inez were on their way home for lunch and stopped and picked me up. They had the car radio on. Just then the announcer said that it was confirmed that President Kennedy was dead. We were silent. Nothing to say. We ate lunch in front of the TV. I went back to the College. I didn’t know what else to do. Our director said that we should just continue with our schedule. The rest of the afternoon is just a blur. Then it was the Thanksgiving Holiday. We went back to school on Monday and everyone was solemn. The day of the funeral, school was dismissed. We were glued to our TV sets. A few weeks later the school held a memorial service. The choir sang a Carl Sandburg poem, “Oh Captain, My Captain,” I don’t remember the rest of the program.

When we went back to school at the first of the new year 1964 we entered our new High School. Everything was brand new. We had a wonderful new building, a new choir room, an Auditorium with a lighting and sound system and room back stage for dressing rooms, and prop work rooms and all the classes were under the same roof. No more having to walk from the High School Building to the Jr. High Building for Choir or to the Auditorium. We had our own basketball court,  no more having to play our games at the college. As the second half of the school year started plans were made to put on a new musical. We decided to do “Brigadoon”  I was in the chorus and worked on making the props.

In the spring the school district sponsored a speech and story telling contest. The year before I had entered and received a superior rating at the district level. I entered again and this time I received another superior rating and an invitation to go to the state contest. No one else from our school was going and my teacher told me I could go if I could get someone to take me. I talked my Dad into taking me to Provo to BYU. I had no idea of what to expect. I was alone, my Dad just dropped me off and left me for the day. I managed to find my way around and at the awards ceremony I got an honorable mention. I was kind of disappointed. I guess out of the whole state that was pretty good. I can’t  help but think that if my teacher had taken more of an interest and encouraged me and helped me to understand just what was expected I would have done better.

The year was winding down we were all anxious to get graduation over with and get on with our lives. Once again Fred Adams wanted me to try out for the Shakespeare Festival. He cast me as Helena in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.”

I was finally out of High School, one of my sisters was married and had a new baby, my older Brother was on a mission in Australia, my oldest Sister was at  Utah State University in Logan, my younger Brother would start High School in the fall. Festival was scheduled to run one more week longer that summer.

That is another story for another day.

Some of My Joys

New shiny shoes for Christmas.

Rollerskating on a smooth sidewalk.

Hot air.

Skate key swinging back and forth on the string around your neck.

Arms and legs in perfect rhythm.

The steel wheels adding to the sound in your head as they hit the concrete sidewalk.

Feeling so free and you could skate to the moon and back.

Playing jacks on the hallway floor.

you could pick up the jacks in the right order and not miss once.

Being alone in our bedroom.

Playing with your paper dolls.

Listening to the radio.

Carefully putting on the dolls cloths and not tearing off the little paper tags.

A new dress for Christmas.

Not knowing Mother spent hours cutting and sewing not only for you but your sisters also.

New cloths for school.

Mother took much care to see that they were sturdy and beautiful.

Always a new Easter dress for each of the three sisters.

Even spring hats and gloves and little spring purses.

Learning  to ride a bicycle.

No one to help.

Falling, wobbly, couldn’t get the balance just right.

But soon you were riding with the wind.

Freedom, now the town was yours to explore.

The pain and agony of trying to learn to read.

Finally a kind teacher takes you under his wing and patiently gives you the courage and desire to find the Joy of Reading.

Playing Fox and Geese with your family on snowshoes up on the Mountain.

Not wanting to stop.

Finally it gets so dark and cold you are all ready to go home to hot chocolate and Mom’s home made chili.

Wearing the new dress you sewed yourself and getting an “A” from the Home Ec. teacher.

Riding with Dad in his red pickup truck alone in the summer as he make his rounds to the farms and ranches to read their meters.

Listening to his poems and stories.

Singing his story songs.

Leaning against his strong body.

Drifting off to sleep in the hot dusty truck.

Seeing your Father bless your first child.

Knowing he has the authority.

Being so kind and loving.