By Monica Judge

November 7, 2022


I never witnessed Grandma Judge in the act of creation. On her visits, she presented crocheted doilies and Kleenex box covers, butterflies stitched in monarch colors affixed to magnets. My sister and I snuggled under the blanket she’d hooked together, dozens of brown circles edged in orange and yellow. We hung her angels, fluttering in white yarn, on our fir.

Who taught her to craft these things that cozied our home, stitch by stitch, loop by loop? It wasn't her mother, Clara, who died in the marrow of a Minnesota winter at twenty-seven, when Grandma was three. “She went outside without her sweater.” A child’s explanation, long since translated from German, her first language, withered inside of her, severed as it was from the vine. It wasn't her father, who scattered his four daughters like feed for the chickens to farms across the Midwest to board with charitable church members. My grandmother used her hands for milking, sweeping, pressing through the frost on the outhouse door. Her sisters did not teach her. Two of them she did not see again until they were old women.

Perhaps my grandmother taught herself to crochet by lantern light with yarn snipped from the skein. I imagine Grandma Judge, little Lenore, forming a slip knot across her hook, pulling at the wool in her lap to make a chain, one unbroken link after another fashioned into something beautiful, perhaps a sweater for a doll, if ever she owned one, kept safe and warm inside.


Monica Judge's work has appeared in AGNISouthern Humanities ReviewNew Delta Review, Off Assignment Letter to a Stranger column, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and was a finalist for the 2020 Stories Out of School contest held in partnership with The Academy for Teachers and A Public Space. She is a high school English teacher and lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.


Image by Castorly Stock courtesy of Pexels

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow