The Write Stuff
This month’s The Write Stuff contribution is courtesy of Gini Woodward and falls under the category of non-fiction prose. In spite of the boring sound of that category I think you’ll find the story quite amusing. To pejorate a popular expression, truth is often more entertaining than fiction!
by Gini Woodward
Some secrets are best kept for a lifetime, while others mellow, mature, and finally ripen to be told. This is one of those stories; a well kept local secret for a quarter century. The writing prompt came at a recent gathering of “The Write Stuff” when our newest member, Teri Amoth, turned to me and said “Why, I do believe you knit my cheerleader sweater when I was in the seventh grade and I still have it!” “Were you the Wolverines?” I asked. “No, the Wildcats.” She replied. “That always was confusing for me.Hmm, I guess it’s time to tell the whole story.”
It must have been the fall of 1985 or ‘86 when Teri, her classmates, and coach came into my knitting shop and ordered their cheerleading sweaters and skirts. They were one of three groups who ordered outfits that year … Valley View, Mt. Hall, and Naples. With the newest knitting machine technology I could draw logos, names, and designs on mylar sheets and automatically knit the designs into sweaters. I could knit a sweater in hours rather than weeks. They chose their colors and designs. I carefully measured the modest blossoming bodies of those titillating seventh graders, discussed allowable skirt lengths, etc attempting to please them …and their parents. It was an ambitious project to undertake in the midst of the fall retail knitting season, but the rent must be paid and I had learned materials plus labor make new money.
I completed each group, a school at a time, first Valley View in royal blue with gold stripes and my memory fails me on the design details. The Naples sweaters were white with red stripes and a big red “W” on the fronts representing their mascot’s name. With only two hours left before the last group, Mt. Hall, were to pick up their outfits; blue and white sweaters with their mascot’s name boldly knitted into the fronts. Their team was playing Naples the next day. AlI that remained was stitching the underarm seams of 5 or 6 sweaters. That may not seem like a lot, but it was the time of year when my retail customers were starting projects and I had frequent interruptions. Plus, I was pretty weary of cheerleading outfits by then.
Then, one of my regular customers, Evelyn Dinning, stopped in to pick up some yarn. She took a look at the sweaters in process with big bold “Wolverines” knit across the chest. Puzzled, she paused and then queried “Did Mt. Hall change their mascot? They were the “Wildcats” when my kids went there and Naples were the Wolverines.”
I don’t have words for the diarrhea of emotions that passed through my being in that instant of acknowledgement of the error. Dismay, disgust, terror, frustration, fatigue, and finally relief that Evelyn had stopped in before the seventh grade girls arrived to see their rival’s mascot name on their sweaters. When the sickness subsided, I called the girls’ coach Gail Vinyon , told her there was slight delay, and that the outfits would be ready by morning.
I quickly scribbled “Wildcats” on a fresh sheet of mylar. About that time, another customer, Aurel Graham, stopped in. With the help of Aurel and Evelyn, we cut the sweaters off at the arm pits, discarding the rival “Wolverines” and re-knit the fronts with “Wildcats”. That night, I stayed up until the wee hours grafting the new lower halves to the rest of the sweaters. The outfits were ready for the girls to cheer but I have no idea who won the game.