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Old January 10 2013, 10:55 PM   #1
RoJoHen
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Things old ladies do...

I was laying on my couch the other day underneath the afghan than my grandma made for me a few years ago. Having never really paid much attention before, I found myself studying the stitching on my afghan, and I was very impressed. There are 4 different colors of yarn, all interwoven to form a very detailed pattern all throughout the entire blanket, and I couldn't help thinking of just how much work went into making this thing.

Then I got to thinking about the future. One day, my grandma will die, and when that happens, my family may never see another new afghan. My mom doesn't know how to make an afghan. My sister doesn't know how to make an afghan. Not that this is something that only women can, but I just don't see too many men crocheting blankets in their spare time.

My grandma has made an afghan for every member of my family. She is currently making one for my mom, and then we will all have one.

But what happens in the future? What happens if I ever have kids? Will my children grow up in a world where their grandmother didn't make them an afghan? Will we one day live on a planet where no grandmothers know how to make afghans? I shutter at the thought.

NOTE: This topic need not be limited to afghans. What are some other things that you can think of that are dying a slow death with every passing generation?
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Old January 10 2013, 11:00 PM   #2
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Preparation of enough Christmas cookies to feed several armored divisions.

Bridge.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:02 PM   #3
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Re: Things old ladies do...

For what it's worth, the threatened extinction of skills, talents or traditions that were never passed on does concern me quite a bit. I think of the many skills my grandparents or my father have, all the little things they're comfortable doing - practical knowledge that comes in useful - and I'm disconcerted that, having not been raised among them, I never picked up those skills. I feel rather unimpressive, actually, like I'm unable to handle eventualities that they would be able to handle because they have the knowledge and the practical awareness.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Things old ladies do...

I know how to make an afghan, and I'm in my 20s.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:07 PM   #5
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
For what it's worth, the threatened extinction of skills, talents or traditions that were never passed on does concern me quite a bit. I think of the many skills my grandparents or my father have, all the little things they're comfortable doing - practical knowledge that comes in useful - and I'm disconcerted that, having not been raised among them, I never picked up those skills. I feel rather unimpressive, actually, like I'm unable to handle eventualities that they would be able to handle because they have the knowledge and the practical awareness.
I do think like this as well, and so I try to do things myself whenever possible. I remember last year my kitchen sink was clogged for several days. No amount of Drano solved the problem, so I knew I was going to need actually to do stuff with the pipes.

Everybody I mentioned it to told me to call a plumber. Instead, I grabbed a big wrench and took the pipes apart myself. I found the clog and replaced part of the pipe by myself, and I probably ended up saving a bunch of money as a result. The new pipe cost me about $4.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:08 PM   #6
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Re: Things old ladies do...

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
I know how to make an afghan, and I'm in my 20s.
And that makes me happy. However, I feel that it is a skill that is slowly disappearing, and that makes me sad.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:42 PM   #7
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Re: Things old ladies do...

My grandma would make these super heavy chocolate cakes with a thick fudge frosting. She was born in Russia, but I don't know if that's where she learned it. I can't imagine it. Anyway, when her older son, my uncle, was in the military during WW2, she'd send one to him. Since it was baked in a can, it was cylindrical. And solid. And heavy. I was told that it was one of the few baked good that could travel and be received intact. I've never seen a cake so solid since hers. My dad did not learn to bake. He was lucky to find the kitchen.

My bubbie would knit/crochet. I'm so ignorant, I'm not sure which she did. Anyway, she did blankets, too. Even though she was difficult to get along with, she agreed to knit one for me if I bought the wool. Evidently, I bought real heavy wool and she was a bit upset. But she knit it anyway. I really wish she had been easier to get along with because she was really good at telling stories. When she wasn't being someone you'd avoid. My mom didn't learn to knit.

But mom could sew! She sewed my wedding dress, a simple-ish one. Heck, she sewed her own wedding dress. With 30-something buttons down the back and a line of buttons on each sleeve. Not what they do now, with a zipper covered by buttons. Real buttons that had to be individually buttoned. I really wish she had taught me how to sew. Now her arthritis is too bad and she's amazed at my ignorance about sewing.

You know, this thread is pretty good at showing me how ignorant I am! Not sure whether to laugh at that or not, you know?
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Old January 10 2013, 11:46 PM   #8
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Re: Things old ladies do...

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
thestrangequark wrote: View Post
I know how to make an afghan, and I'm in my 20s.
And that makes me happy. However, I feel that it is a skill that is slowly disappearing, and that makes me sad.
Don't worry, Rojo, knit and crochet saw a boom in popularity among young women a few years ago. Many women in their 20s and 30s can knit and crochet. I am good enough at crochet to make lace, even, and my sister is a very skilled knitter. My mother is making me a granny-square afghan as we type!
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Old January 10 2013, 11:47 PM   #9
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Re: Things old ladies do...

I just keep envisioning a world without afghans, and it feels worse than Hell.
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Old January 11 2013, 12:12 AM   #10
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Re: Things old ladies do...

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
What are some other things that you can think of that are dying a slow death with every passing generation?
Casual racism? (I kid, I kid)

I never see anyone leaving out fancy glass candy dishes full of ribbon candy, Werther's Originals, and after-dinner mints on their coffee tables for the grandkids to raid any more, which gives me a sad. That's like Grandma-ing 101.

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I just keep envisioning a world without afghans, and it feels worse than Hell.
On the flip-side of that though, that means there would be no Rambo: First Blood - Part III, so it's not all bad. Oh, you were talking about something else.
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Old January 11 2013, 12:15 AM   #11
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
I never see anyone leaving out fancy glass candy dishes full of ribbon candy, Werther's Originals, and after-dinner mints on their coffee tables for the grandkids to raid any more, which gives me a sad. That's like Grandma-ing 101.
I try, when I have company. But I always ended up raiding it myself before the company arrived, so I stopped.
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Old January 11 2013, 12:15 AM   #12
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
What are some other things that you can think of that are dying a slow death with every passing generation?
Casual racism? (I kid, I kid)

I never see anyone leaving out fancy glass candy dishes full of ribbon candy, Werther's Originals, and after-dinner mints on their coffee tables for the grandkids to raid any more, which gives me a sad. That's like Grandma-ing 101.
With my grandma it has always been Hershey's Kisses, though in recent years she has taken to doing those little bite-size Dove bars.

I will say that, while I find the casual racism kind of funny sometimes, it's probably okay that it's a dying trend. Though how often to do you get to hear somebody say the word "Negro" in regular conversation?
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Old January 11 2013, 12:19 AM   #13
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Nobody ever made me an afghan.

Cookies, on the other hand...my one grandmother used to cookie-bomb me at the slightest opportunity. She would bombard me with care packages full of the damn things when I was in college and so I would share them with everyone who lived on my dorm room floor. I'd use them to get people to shut the hell up so I could get some sleep. I found that bribery works if it's cookie based... "Here, have some cookies, now turn down your fucking stereo."
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Old January 11 2013, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: Things old ladies do...

Yeah RoJo, don't worry. The skills will be there. My good friend from film school pretty much knits and crochets whenever she has her hands free. She made a few shirts during our education. She was 19 when we met. So it's there.

And as for other old lady stuff...my grandma knows some stuff she can no longer do due to her Huntington's. But the thing that sticks out is my lat grandads beekeeping skills. I just got given by my mother today the last full jar that remains of the honey that he made. It's a piece of my childhood. My heritage. It will be eaten slowly. With loads of nostalgia, enjoyment and respect.
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Old January 11 2013, 01:42 AM   #15
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Re: Things old ladies do...

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
But what happens in the future? What happens if I ever have kids? Will my children grow up in a world where their grandmother didn't make them an afghan? Will we one day live on a planet where no grandmothers know how to make afghans? I shutter at the thought.
I'm your future. My grandmother made aghans for me and my two brothers back in the early 80s. I still have mine, and cherish it very much since she's been gone for since 2007.
When I was a kid my mom would occasionally sew things, but never with anything with a lot of technical detail. Well, a few years ago she made some really nice quilts for my son and daughter and newphews. They're not afghans, but they are really nice and very sturd so I'm sure they'll last a long time.
So I guess don't sell your mom short, she may come through for you down the road.
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