...but this warranted one.
When I was 10, living in Newark, NJ, I spent a lot of after school and evening time at the Salvation Army "Boys" Club on Providence Street. It kept me, heck, it kept us all, off the streets and out of trouble. Part of belonging to "the Boys Club" was going to summer camp, at Camp Tecumseh in Pittstown, NJ. During the ride to camp, we'd sing on the bus. I loved the bus rides, and really loved going to camp each summer. And, I was a pretty good singer.
So when I was 10, I went to camp for 2 sessions - if I'm not mistaken, a session was 8 or 9 days, and I was there for 2x as long. When I returned, all the girls at the Boys Club were wearing crocheted vests. I asked them - where'd you get that. Oh, they all said "I made it myself." I was intrigued, interested. I wanted one. Badly. I wanted to learn to make one for myself. I asked the ladies in charge if I could learn, and I was told "sorry - we've moved on to other things." That was that. I think we learned next how to make paper mache. Or play bingo. Or basketball. Or, we put on a show. Or.... At 13, we moved, and hanging out at the Boys Club was over for me.
When I was 16ish, I learned how to crochet. Not because I wanted to make myself a vest - that wasn't a thought in my brain. I wanted to make a blanket. Blankets. Lots and lots of blankets. I made granny square blankets for everyone I loved (and some I didn't love) because I was so excited to be doing it. And, lets face it, back in 1975/1976, acrylic yarn was cheap!
I continued to crochet - hats, scarves, baby blankets. Thread doll clothes for my daughter's Barbie dolls (I loved them, and still do - especially knit doll clothes). Then, comes along the INTERNET - where one can find a treasure trove of patterns, photos, directions, instructions.....for crochet and any craft you can think of. So one evening I discovered the pattern for this vest. IT BROUGHT BACK SO MANY MEMORIES - and one memory of loss and denial. I didn't get to make that vest....when I was 10. But there it was on a GROOVY site. Now, it can be found via the wayback machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20001013071332/www.cei.net/~vchisam/groovy/7502.html
In my forties, I decided to make this vest - in all its ugliness. Worsted weight acrylic yarn, in my favorite color (teal), totally made of chains, totally awful, totally ugly, and, with pompons~! I love it. I wear it from time to time (maybe 3 times a year), It isn't the prettiest item in my wardrobe, but it is one of my favorites.
So, I call this my "unbreak my 10-year-old heart vest" because it healed a wound caused in my childhood that I didn't even realize I was harboring. I know, I know - worse things can happen in our childhoods than this - and believe me, they did. But, THIS is not the place for that...THIS is a place of yarny joy.
I am never so self-indulgent here, and I have not been posting here so much anymore (there are so many better blogs/websites for you to visit), but, I was posting this on Ravelry, and the story behind this vest was just too much to put there. So, I put it here.
Recently, someone told me a similar story. She wanted a set of bride/groom "toasting glasses" for her wedding 20 years ago. "Champagne flutes" in fancy words. Sounds ritzy titzy, huh? She was talked out of buying them by her mother (or was it her mother-in-law?) - because they were useless, an indulgence, too expensive, would be used just once and put in a cupboard --- so many "reasons." She said that still, 20 years later, she wishes she had bought those flutes. I told her about my vest, and how making it in my 40s (and I'm now approaching 60) healed my own little girl heart. I suggested she treat herself this holiday season, if she needed a REASON, to those champagne flutes - and to enjoy them, and start tradition, and toast her husband every New Year with them. It will heal her. I hope she bought them~!