A Visit With Great Aunt Emma

It was a lovely Easter Sunday in April. Spring had come early this year and all one needed to wear outside was a light jacket or sweater. We were visiting Grandma and Grandpa, just as we always did on every Easter Sunday.

My sisters and brother were out in the backyard playing, but I decided to stay inside and talk with Grandma. Before they left, my mother warned them to be careful not to get their clothes dirty. We were all wearing our brand new Easter outfits.

“Cynthia,” my grandmother was speaking to me.

“Yes, Grandma?”

“Cynthia, why don’t you go visit your Aunt Emma? She’s upstairs and she’d probably like to have some company. She hasn’t seen any of you kids for a while now.”

“Okay, Grandma, I’ll go see her.”

So I made my way up the stairs. My great Aunt Emma actually lived in the attic of my grandma’s house. She had a couple of rooms up there, and they were really quite nice. I had been up to visit Aunt Emma before, so I knew who she was, even though there was an air of mystery about her.

I climbed the third flight of stairs to the attic, and then I knocked on her door. After a minute or so she answered.

She opened the door just wide enough to see who it was on the other side.

“Hello, child.”

“Hi, Aunt Emma. Could I visit you?”

“Yah, of course. Come in.”

She opened the door wider and I walked through the doorway.

“Now, which one are you? There are so many of you, I can’t keep you all straight.”

“I’m Cindy, Aunt Emma.”

“Oh, yah, Cynthia.”

“Yes, Aunt Emma, but you can call me Cindy.”

I could never figure out why my Grandma and Aunt Emma simply refused to call me Cindy. It didn’t matter how many times I said they could call me by my nickname; they always called me Cynthia anyway.

“Yah, yah. Come in and sit down, child.”

She pointed to the wooden rocking chair. She sat down in a big chair covered with a fabric which had beautiful pink flowers and blue birds in flight on it. Before she sat down she picked up her knitting, which had been lying on her chair, and then sat down, placing the knitting in her lap.

“What are you doing, Aunt Emma?”

“Well, I am knitting a blanket, see?”

It was beautiful, with hues of blue and green and golden stripes in a zig-zag pattern. I had never seen anyone knit before. My mother was too busy to knit, having to care for seven children. I had seen my mother darn socks before, but I had never seen her knit.

“Could I watch you knit, Aunt Emma?”

“Haven’t you ever seen anyone knit before, child?”

“No, Aunt Emma. But it looks like it would be hard because it’s so beautiful.”

“It’s not so hard once you practice. Let me show you, child.”

I watched as Aunt Emma deftly worked the knitting needles between her fingers, the yarn disappearing into the blanket as she knit.  It was so fascinating to me that I didn’t say a word.

After ten minutes or so, Aunt Emma ceased her knitting and looked at me.

“How old are you, child?”

“I’m eleven, Aunt Emma.”

“I think you are old enough. Would you like to learn how to knit?”

“Oh, yes,  Aunt Emma. I would love to learn how to knit!”

“Yah, I think that would be a good idea. I will teach you. I have plenty of extra knitting needles and yarn around here.”

She opened the big wooden chest which was next to her chair. When she opened the chest, I could see a wide array of many colors of balls of yarn, one on top of the other. Next to the balls of yarn was another box which, when opened, displayed several pairs of knitting needles made of steel, wood, and plastic. She took out a pair of steel knitting needles and a ball of blue yarn and closed the chest.

“All right, child, let’s get to work. First you must learn to cast on.”

I spent the next two hours with Aunt Emma, learning the basics of knitting. Aunt Emma decided my first project should be a potholder made from baby blue yarn. As we knitted together that day, we talked of many different things, and I got to know my Aunt Emma a little bit better. We had a lovely chat. She also gave me sugar cookies and milk when we took a break from our knitting.

Soon my mother called for me on my Aunt Emma’s phone. Our cousins had arrived, and it was time to eat supper.

“I wish I didn’t have to go, Aunt Emma.”

“I wish you didn’t have to go either, my dear. But you can come and visit me the next time you come, yah?”

“I will, Aunt Emma.”

“Yah, that is good. Now let’s give you some yarn so you can make more pot holders. The next time you come I will show you how to make a scarf. Then, after you have mastered that, we will think about knitting an afghan, yah?”

“What’s an afghan, Aunt Emma?”

“It’s a blanket, just like the one you watched me knit,” Aunt Emma said as she gathered several balls of yarn of different colors together.

“Let’s see, what should we put all this in?”

She thought for a moment and then said, “I know. Wait here.”

She went into her other room, and after a moment she returned, carrying something in her hands. It was a dark blue canvas bag with a beautiful tapestry design on the front of it. The handles on the bag were wooden.

“This will work,” she said as she stuffed the bag full of the balls of yarn. She also gave me an extra set of knitting needles.

“There you go, child. Now you can make lots of pot holders. When you come back, bring them with you, and you can show me, yah?” she said, smiling as she handed me the bag.

“Oh, thank you, Aunt Emma! Thank you for teaching me how to knit, and for the yarn, and the needles, and the pretty bag, and for the nice talk we had. I’m so glad I came to visit you today.”

“Yah, I am glad too. We had a nice time. You come back next time, too, yah?”

“Yes, Aunt Emma, I will. Bye.”

“Auf wiedersehen, Cindy.”

For the first time ever, Aunt Emma had called me Cindy. I gave her a hug and then, holding my knitting bag close to me, skipped down the stairs.

It was one of the nicest visits to Grandma’s house that I ever had.

There were many times after that when I returned to visit my great Aunt Emma, always bringing my knitting for her to inspect. We had some lovely visits, she and I, and they are visits which I shall always treasure in my heart.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY:  “Everything is nicer when shared with an aunt.”  ~ Author Unknown ~

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