Not long ago (in honor of My Mother The Dowager Duchess’s birthday in June), I posted a photo from 1949 of The Dowager Duchess sitting and knitting on Coney Island Beach. She was working on a sweater for my father.
|THEY DON’T MAKE ‘EM LIKE THEY USED TO (SWEATERS OR DOWAGER DUCHESSES).|
In the late 1960s, my father passed the sweater on to me. He was 23 when the sweater was new. It hadn’t fit him for some time. By 1969, I was almost 5 inches taller than my father. But because I was so skinny (a bean pole), the sweater fit me just fine. I wore it through my hippy phase and I continued to wear it through my respectable phase. I wore the sweater for another 20 years until I also (finally) outgrew it.
|1949. THE DUCHESS KNITTING THE SWEATER.|
I was heartbroken when I could no longer squeeze into the sweater. The wool The Duchess had used was such high quality and her skills were so exceptional that, after 40 years of wear, it was still in perfect condition. I gave it to my cousin to give to her son (along with several other sweaters The Duchess had made). After the fact, I realized my cousin’s son wouldn’t want them. But, knowing my cousin, they’re probably safely stored away, another 20 years later, for some future generation. And that’s fine with me.
|1986. I WAS 32. THE SWEATER WAS 37 (AND A BIT SNUG).
(OUR FRIEND’S DOG, MAGGIE MAY, WAS 6 MONTHS.)
I found a photo taken in 1986 at our house in New Haven, Connecticut. It made me really miss that sweater. I wonder if The Duchess would be interested in making me a new one. Sadly, I know the answer to that.
Oh well. The Duchess made me so many sweaters over the years and I do still have a gray mohair V-neck she knitted for San Geraldo in 1983 that I plan to wear for the rest of my life. I love hand-me-downs.