My father, now home from the hospital, called up and sounds terrific. We compared notes on the facial nerve deficits we each have due to our surgeries. Then he told me what PBS documentaries he has been watching during his recovery.
After a few minutes, he changed the topic and asked how my book is going. When Dad started talking academic history, I knew he was back to his old self. After we chatted about my project, there was a pause in the conversation.
“Hey, you know what I just bought with my book advance? A spinning wheel!” said I.
“Wow! That sounds like something you will love. I’ve only met one other American--or basically American--spinner. When I was collecting folk music in Scotland, one of the women who performed for me introduced me to another American folklorist. He was quite famous in the field, but left it eventually.
“Anyway, he was wearing a beautiful fair isle sweater. Your mother, knitting at that moment herself, realized it was handmade and asked him if his wife had knitted it for him. He looked a little embarrassed and said no, he had knitted it himself and that his mother taught him how when he was a young boy.
“The woman who introduced us interrupted and said, ‘Aye, what he’ll not tell ye is that he not only knit it but he sheared the sheep and spun it up! He's a weaver, too!’" My father paused for a moment. "Goodness, what was that man’s name? Ah, yes—Norman Kennedy.”
I spluttered, “Norman Kennedy? THE Norman Kennedy, the textile guy from Williamsburg?! the master teacher?!”
My father sounded pleased: “You’ve heard of him?”
I was flabbergasted. “I can’t believe you brought him up right now. I started knitting a shawl during your surgery. The shawl is modeled in the pattern book by Norman Kennedy’s mother, the one who taught him to knit!”
What an incredible coincidence, more for it to have come up so randomly in conversation than the fact that he knew the model’s son.
This shawl has been about love and connection since the moment I cast on. Clearly, this particular project was meant to be, and the fates are reminding me of that again and again.
Other lace posts:
1, 2, 3, 4