When I was a Boy

I did my first ever darn recently on a cashmere jumper that I inherited from Steve after I (oops!) accidentally shrunk it in the wash. It’s a little bit tatty, so I use it for ‘second best’, eg reading in bed or while sitting at my laptop. I obviously lean on my left elbow a lot and noticed a gaping hole several months ago, but had to work up the nerve to give darning a try.

I was originally going to use charcoal grey wool to blend in. However, we had a mishap in the car and cracked one of the wing mirrors. The person we were visiting taped it up with hot pink duct tape. While waiting for a replacement mirror housing to arrive, I became smitten with the hot pink/charcoal grey color combo and ordered some Laine St Pierre darning wool #538.

The darn was fun to do and turned out pretty good I think.

Darn good darn

I did my usual consulting of a couple of ‘ how to’ books and I was also inspired by Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles by Leanne Prain. This time of year I always think about my mother Nell who died in January 1980.

Nell Rose Martin, age 8 in 1932

As I mended the elbow, I remembered a story that she told me when I was a little girl.

‘When she was small she was told that if she could
kiss her elbow she would turn into a boy’

My mom said she tried and tried to kiss her elbow because she wanted to be a boy so bad. Perhaps today she would have been given ‘gender reassignment therapy’ or would have a choice of pronouns. But l think she was reacting against the very small box that girls and women were placed in in the 1920s and 30s when she was small. I am so grateful that I had free rein to be a tomboy when I was small and wasn’t in quite so small a box in the 1960s and 70s when I was a boy.

This is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singer songwriters. When I Was a Boy by Dar Williams.

2 thoughts on “When I was a Boy

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