Seniors & Aging

In ‘101 Afghans,’ Bellingham poet recounts her mom’s blanket love of family, friends, needy

My mother’s hands were always busy.

If she wasn’t cooking, cleaning

or washing clothes she was crocheting

coverlets, tablecloths, doilies and afghans.

Crocheting one granny square at a time

she made a pink and white bedspread

for the double bed in her sunny bedroom

with the pink and white wallpaper.

Sitting upright in her recliner

she kept her hands busy

crocheting and knitting

the winters away.

During her declining years

my mother used color

to see her through

the long winters of her life.

She made baby afghans

in pinks, whites and blues

for every new grandchild

and other babies as well.

When her grandchildren went

to college she made multicolored

afghans for each of them to use

for a “crying blanket.”

When each grandchild married,

she made a specially designed afghan

for the bride and groom.

No two were the same.

When the supply of marriages

and grandchildren was exhausted

She made lap robes for the elderly

who lived in nursing homes.

When the American Legion’s Women’s

Auxiliary held their annual fund-raiser,

she crocheted a special afghan

for them to raffle off.

When my mother was in her 80s

she had no idea how many afghans

she’d made in her lifetime.

She thought it must be over one hundred.

On one occasion

when my mother was visiting me

she asked, “Who made that afghan

on the back of the chair?”

“You did.” I said smiling. “No, I didn’t.

I never made that one.” she insisted.

My mother was always right so I didn’t argue

with her, but in my heart I was 101 percent sure

she’d made that afghan. No one else had ever

given me one. She’d made so many

in her lifetime she no longer remembered

what they all looked like.

When I was an adult I wanted

to follow in my mother’s footsteps

and learn, at the very least, to crochet

one granny square before I died.

I asked my mother to teach me, but

She soon lost patience and dismissed me

with, “Laura learns much faster than you.”

(Laura was my sister’s daughter.)

After my mother died I found

a partially crocheted baby afghan

in her closet. When my grandson was born

I wanted him to have his own afghan.

With no one looking over my shoulder

I cobbled together the afghan pieces

and gave it to Ian to honor his birth.

Separately but together

my mother and I crocheted

the 102nd afghan for baby Ian.

Judy Teresa lives in Bellingham