December 18, 2009

Friendship Stockings!


It all started with this stocking....
well this was one of the original nine!

You see many years ago, in 1958, my mom's mother, Margaret had become quite ill.
The diagnosis was leukemia, which led to my grandmother enduring many hospital visits and treatments. While undergoing one of her many procedures...she met a very kind lady who worked at the hospital. Over the days and weeks Margaret spoke to her about her life, her family and her pride and joy...her then 9 grandchildren! There were 5 in our family and our 4 cousins too. She bragged about all of us, as grandmothers do...and they soon became "fast friends".

As the months passed we would come to find out that her friend was on a secret mission! She had decided to make a special gift for my grandmother...the gift of these wonderfully special Christmas Stockings...one for each of her grandchildren. You see this woman found out through their conversations that my grandmother was not a "crafty lady" at all. As she spoke to her about her many sewing and weaving projects, my grandma was in awe of her accomplishments. She hoped that she too might be able to make some of her creations one day. They talked, laughed and made plans.

Time went by and the medical interventions continued. Pills, injections and experimental therapies. There was little known about this cunning disease back then. It soon became obvious to everyone that my grandmother would not survive much longer. In August of 1959 she rejected the idea of one last major blood transfusion that promised to prolong her life for perhaps a month or two. With no insurance and already in debt, she refused to leave her husband and children in an even more precarious state. And so she came home... to die.

Her friend realized that she would have to step up the pace of her sewing if she were to give these stockings to my grandmother before she died. Christmas was just too far away. As the days passed and my grandmother's strength diminished this dear lady knew when the day had come to present her gift. Margaret, with the help of my mother, opened her beautifully wrapped Christmas present with the anticipation of a young girl. For a moment her pain disappeared and as tears rolled down her cheeks, she examined each precious treasure.

The stockings were not quite complete...they were only the tops ...and her friend apologized that the last one made, the one for my youngest brother, was more sparse then the others. But this gift was much more than it appeared. It was an enormous offering of not only kindness and friendship, but a tribute to my grandmother, her life and her legacy, an acknowledgement of each of her grandchildren and the family she bore but would now be leaving behind. This extraordinary woman bestowed a memorable gift to her new friend , the gift of listening...real listening, which allowed sweet Margaret to tell her stories one last time.

After Grandma died, my mother finished the stockings and they were indeed hung with care from our mantle each Christmas. They were like hidden jewels, that seemed to surprise us each year as new intricate details would be revealed. And as we spied their beauty we would each declare "ours" to be the best!

There would be two more children in our family, and my sister, brother and I made stockings for them too so they would be included in our heartwarming tradition of remembrance and rejoicing. There was an unspoken truth that we all felt in our hearts for we knew that our grandmother would always be with us and her friend too. It was odd, but no one ever knew this special ladies' name...but of course it didn't matter...she was simply an "Angel" to us ...and a gift to my grandmother.



My stocking is a bit more "old fashioned" than the rest...and somehow the stockings got a little bigger with each passing year.


This is the stocking I made for my husband, Michael.
He had a huge aquarium back then, hence the fish.



Our firstborn son, Sean's stocking.
He loved the "bird in the cage" and his special "angel queen"!


Our twin daughters were the next to be born. My husband helped with this one for Lauren making the house with the sled dropping the sequin presents! One year, Lauren left her stocking out when we went to our friend's home for dinner. Upon our return she was brokenhearted to see that our dog, Rosie had discovered some chocolate inside and chewed through the stocking to eat the treat. The house that my husband made survived, although it had to be transplanted. The trapeze girl did not survive and I had to remake her and much of her stocking. That mistake would never be repeated!




This is twin sister, Shannon's stocking, complete with "Hello Kitty" and a Care Bear. It was the '80's...what can I say?



Next came our daughter, Grace. Hers' is adorned with the "Veggie Tales" characters!
She also loved pigs back then.



Finally we got our daughter, Taryn in 1994.
She has always been a "dog lover"!


So what will come of this tradition. So far all of my kids like to keep their stockings at our home where we all place a little wrapped gift in each one on Christmas Eve. None of them are married, yet, and I wonder, "Will they decide to continue this tradition with their families?"

I can see us making new ones for the children yet to come and for the husbands and wives they will wed. For this tradition will not go easily...It is a tradition that began with the kind gesture of a caring friend and a friendship that although brief in time... lasted forever.

I hope you will start a new tradition this year!

Merry Christmas!



32 comments:

debi said...

What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing your wonderful family tradition.

Faye said...

Oh Carrie what a precious story. Thank-u for sharing.Hope you have a great evening! Blessings, Faye

Country Dreaming said...

This is the time of year for traditions and your stocking story is a wonderful example of one.
A beautiful story it was.

Melinda

Gayle (GardenofDaisies) said...

That is one of the most heartwarming stories I have ever heard. Both your grandmother and the friend who made the stockings for all of you were amazing women. So glad that you have continued the tradition as you have added members to your family. LOVE these stockings! (I have a stocking that my mother made for me when I was a baby, and will have to post a picture of it on my blog soon. )

Cindy said...

Oh so happy that you stopped by my blog so that I could find my way to yours! What an incredible story - the stocking tradition in your family. I love it!! And I've never seen anything like your stockings with their felt figures and stitched details. They are priceless. I have no doubt that the stocking tradition will always continue in your family!

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

This is a beautiful story Carrie. I love that your family has continued the tradition, including the Hello Kitty and Veggie Tales. I'm fairly new to your blog, so I just realized you have twins too. It sounds like you've had a full house like I have.
Blessings,
Marcia

Diane said...

Carrie it sure is fun to see all the Christmas stockings you have made over the years. I will have to get busy and make a stocking for any of the grand babies that want one. What a wonderful blessing our Grandma had. oxox, Diane

Pen Pen said...

OMG... these are beautiful... what a sweet story, too!!!!

The Garden Bell said...

What a simply charming story. Those memory stocks look just like the one's we had as kids. Your's are amazing.

Barbara said...

Oh that is such a heart warming story thank you so much for sharing with us reader/friends, God bless you this Christmas, and have a very happy time with friends and family.

Susan from The T-Cozy said...

What a touching story, beautiful stockings, and a lovely tradition.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

What a lovely heart-warming story.

Hugs...

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh, this is something I would really like to do for my husband and I! It's something that would be fun to make and really mean something each year. I enjoyed your memories! Merry Christmas!

Shannon Brooke said...

You know that I will keep this tradition going. I LOVE our stockings and love the story behind it even more :)

Chow and Chatter said...

oh this is adorable I want one!!, I should make one for Jasmine love your blog so full of family and love

Merry Christmas

Rebecca

Queenplinker said...

Thank you for sharing that touching story. I could tell those were very special stocking! I love them.

Sophia said...

What an incredible story/memory and now tradition. It touched me and brought tears to my eyes. I have no family or friends here, but I would still like to find a way to start a tradition that maybe some day I could pass on. Your post touched me.

Michelle Palmer said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tradition! Amazing how people touch our lives... shape our memories and help us through~
You're a gem!
Love each of the stockings!
Wishing you the best of Christmas~
Michelle

Deborah said...

OMGoodness that is such a beautiful story!!! It should be a Christmas book. The stockings are incredible. So much detail, and I love the stories with them. That is just the sweetest tradition ever. Now get busy on that book! **blows merry kisses** Deb

koralee said...

Oh what a heartwarming story..thank you so much for sharing. Your stockings are so beautiful. Wishing you a wonderful week as we count down to the big day..may your week be filled with love...peace...joy...family..friends and Jesus's love. xoxoxo

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS CARRIE!!!
and Belated BIRTHDAY Wishes.
That is a heart warming story and thank you for sharing it. What a blessing to your Grandma.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas.
Warmly,
Deb :)

Just a little something from Judy said...

What a truly beautiful, heartwarming story. It is what this Christmas season is really all about. I can't imagine what a blessing this dear lady was to your mother as she struggled through this difficult illness with her mother. God does often send us gifts like this friend to help us through our most difficult times. The stockings are so colorful and meaningful. Thanks for sharing this special story.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Marge said...

What a beautiful story. And the stockings are amazing! Thanks for sharing -- and thinks for stopping by my blog. Merry Christmas!

Creative Breathing said...

Carrie, Truly this post has me crying happy tears. This is such an inspirational story. The stockings so precious. I absolutely love that each stocking speaks to it's owner. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. I wish you and your family the happiest of Christmas! Elizabeth

Judi said...

Hi Carrie
Isn't that just so sweet....what a lovely friendship your grandmother had with that lady. The stockings are gorgeous and to be treasured forever. How special that you've carried it on to all the other children and your hubby too.
Wonderful...
Have a very Merry Christmas and allll the best in 2010!
*hugs*
Judi

Into Vintage said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I love how each stocking is so personalized for each of your children. I bet that kind lady from long ago would be thrilled to know her sweet gesture has become a family tradition. Merry Christmas! -amy

Mandi said...

What a wonderful Christmas story! We have family stockings that my great-aunt made in the early 60s...mine was the one that fell victim to the family dog who smelled a candy cane!

Your story is so inspiring, and your family so lucky to have you carry on the tradition from the fish bowl, to the trapeze artist, to the veggie tales...a heart-warming story all the way around.

Have a wonderful Christmas, thank you for sharing!
Mandi

Elyse said...

hi carrie,

what a truly wonderful story. your writing is beautiful and so is the sentiment, and the stockings are so sweet! thanks so much for sharing. the perfect christmas blog post.

happiest holidays ~

xo
elyse

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

I loved reading every word of this post. What a labor of love the woman from the hospital performed. And I love the fact that you carried on the tradition for your own children. Yours are just as lovely and timeless. What treasures!
Thank you for taking the time to share the story.
M.L.

rosechicfriends said...

Carrie,
What a sweet precious memory of your grandmother! And her friends was so amazing. I just had to tell you that a dear friend of my Grandma made each one of her grandchildren all 7 of us very similar type stockings about the same time, late 50's early 60's. My mother has all 4 of ours and was wanting to give them to us...but we could not bear to break them up. They are so similar to yours and very sweet!
Thanks again for the sweet memories!
Lorena

Janaina said...

What a heartwarmning story! Thanks for sharing it with us!
Wishing you all the best for 2010!
Hugs from sunny Brazil!

Susan S. said...

Thanks for sharing all your stockings. I still have my stocking for my youth (handmade by my mother 51 years ago). It's VERY special to me as I can see these are to you.

Happy New Year from Houston!

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