Tag Archives: Mom

In Memorium

My grandmother passed away today, she was 92 years old. To say that I have and always will love her, just isn’t enough to express how I have and always will feel about her.

My grandmother, Irene Camille Rivers (nee Dahlen), was a woman of extraordinary talent, strength and temerity. Ever  since I was a small girl, I wanted to be like her but I don’t think I will ever quite make muster. My grandmother did not crochet, or sew, or knit, or embroider. My grandmother did not wear “grandma” clothes, in fact she really did like Calvin Klein, and Liz Claibourne.  Grandma wasn’t much of the domestic sort, but she was one heck of a fine lady, who pioneered a career in social services, did not believe in glass ceilings, and was a strong proponent of literacy, and social justice. She was into Fair Trade before Fair Trade was cool. Before electronic typewriters she could type 120 wpm without error, after all as a woman she had to be better, stronger, faster; and always in more control.

This very passionate granddaughter, often worried her controlled and “just so” grandmother. Oh, not that she wasn’t proud, but as I was growing up, my “big mouth” concerned my grandmother. It wasn’t that she didn’t want me to be political, or vocal; she wanted me to be effective.

How many granddaughters have the priveledge of activist training from Grandma? When I was in my early career and managing a team of men, I got to call her for advice. When I came home to America to start my life over with two small children, at almost 30, I was completely comfortable with her offering up her old business warddrobe for me to use as my shopping closet. A 30 year old camel hair skirt worked for me as much as it did her: Classy was her middle name.

Well, ok, Camille was her middle name. But, to me Grandma was always a class act.

When I started the CLF and people began to join, Grandma and I giggled together over it. When I explained what I hoped to accomplish with the group, she was thrilled. Even though she didn’t like crafting, she valued all arts and crafts. In fact, she commissioned many crocheted pieces by a wonderfully talented friend of hers, and paid her very well, because she did value such labors.

My grandmother taught me many things, including how to stop, think, then speak. If not for my grandmother, there would be no CLF. After all, she always supported my political acts, even when I was 5 and wrote the Hershey’s company a letter complaining about their rasing the price of candy bars from 20 cents to a quarter! Or when I was seven and wrote my congress person a letter about saving the baby seals in Alaska. Grandma encouraged my passions, while teaching me to hone them. She taught me to search for the best words, not just spew whatever was on top of my tongue at the moment.

That and she taught me to bake cookies and make a mean pie crust and how to wash socks out in the sink.

Irene Camille Dahlen Rivers b. April 9, 1918 – d. May 12, 2010   Forever in my heart.

I still want to be her when I grow up.


Holiday Crochet: Making Memories

When I was a little girl, I had many  gifts given to me that were made by grandmas and aunties, and my mom. I loved those gifts; doll dresses, my very own Christmas ornaments, hats, the world’s longest scarf, bean bag critters, a leather pouch WITH fringe, necklaces, and ponchos, even a really cool Humpty Dumpty that fit over a “L’eggs Egg” and doubled as a penny bank.

 Oh sure people like to put us down, especially those snobby types, but frankly I don’t know if those snobby types would understand, “magic of the season” if it snuck up behind them and glittered their behinds.

Truly, what you do has a value, and the things you make, perfectly stitched or wobbly and just beginning , are making the magic of the season happen. When you can delight a child or friend, or spouse or even better yet yourself, with your crochet creations you have achieved something wonderful! You are directly responsible for making memories! Don’t think the youngsters won’t appreciate what you do. Even in our “throw away culture” kids aren’t stupid, they know and feel love when they see it! Adults are the same way, and if they can’t? Well, just feel bad for them (and don’t make them anything for a while, if ever again.)

You are not a sweatshop, you are not cheap labor, and those things shouldn’t exist anyway. Don’t let the pressure of the season get you down. Don’t let snide comments get you down. Because a simple crocheted rose on a hair clip, can make a face light up. Heck, I’ve made old ladies eyes light up with those! When what you do adds value to someone’s life not just because of the tangible and physical value of the object, but because you invested your purpose and time into the item made, you have given one of the greatest gifts of all: you.

That’s not too shabby.