Being Creative One Day at a Time

Dream Teacher

You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?

Does it have to be a famous person from history? I know this probably isn’t what they meant, but if I could chose ANY person from history to teach me any topic I wanted, I’d pick my great-grandma Lillian, a.k.a the Monkey Grandma.

Why did we call her the Monkey Grandma, you ask?

Simple, she used to own a monkey named Napoleon. I don’t remember what kind of monkey he was, but he used to live in a big cage on the front enclosed porch. I don’t know where she got him or why, but it was long before there were a lot of restrictions on what kind of exotic animals you could keep. I’m told that he used to be allowed to run around the house, but that was before my time. Apparently, he got nippy in his old age.

I didn’t get to see my great-grandma very often because she lived so far away. But there was one memorable summer back in ’86 where we – my two oldest sisters and I – spent two whole weeks with her on her acreage. It felt like forever, but I was assured that it really had been only two weeks.

Time runs a little different for children, I think. I could have sworn it was longer. It certainly FELT longer, that’s for sure. But I digress…

During those eternal two weeks, I remember once watching my great-grandma sitting at her dining room table and knitting… only she wasn’t, not really. For starters, she wasn’t using knitting needles or yarn. But that was my closest guess as I stopped to watch her work.

She was tatting a doily.

Huh. I had seen so many doilies around her house, under delicate porcelain figurines, draped on the mantle, but I had no that she had made them by hand. I assumed she had bought them in the store. Like I would have, if I were into frilly, girly things. Which I wasn’t, but still.

She offered to teach me how to tat, but I wasn’t interested. It looked hard and, well, boring. So I declined and went about doing whatever it was that I had been doing at the time.

I regret that now, that I didn’t take the opportunity to learn something new and potentially interesting under my great-grandma’s guidance. It would have developed into a fine and cherished memory I’m sure. Especially since I remember the tatting event, but not what I was doing before or after that seemed so important at the time.

She’s gone now, my great-grandmother Lillian. She passed away back in ’96. Every time I walk past the craft section at Wal-Mart or visit a craft supply store and pass the knitting/crocheting aisle, I think of her and wish I would have spent a little time learning an old skill with the one and only Monkey Grandma.


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