Got Wool?

When I was 19, my mother gave me a heavy wool, intricately cabled sweater she had spent years knitting and I was certain I would never wear. I was living with my then-boyfriend in the coldest place I ever lived —  and anyone who knows me knows that means something. The beautiful old farmhouse was at the end of dirt road in southern Vermont. In one half of the house lived a single mother and her young daughter (I cringe now to think of what abysmal neighbors we were to her), and my friends and I housesat the other half.

The house was heated by a wood furnace. It was December, and the wood supply we had been left was nearly depleted. I certainly knew nothing about heating with wood. I was greener than the wood we burned.

I wore that sweater for the entire month I stayed there. I slept in it. I wore the sweater so hard and for so many years that only pieces of it remained when I moved from my last house.

What taught me to love scratchy wool? Cold Vermont.

5 below zero this morning….. Could be much colder. ‘Tis the knitting season.

Use It Up. Wear It Out. Make It Do. Or Do Without.

— Calvin Coolidge

 

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

4 comments

  1. Your thought about being an “abysmal neighbor” struck me. As I look back on my late teen years and early adulthood, it’s those moments when I was ignorantly impolite that make me cringe the most today. I made piles of other mistakes but I was the only victim of most of those.

    Thank-you for writing.

  2. If she is still alive I hope your mother reads how well her wool creation served you. Maybe print this out and send her a belated thank you card! If she has passed,then I am sure your written sentiments reached her. GT

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