While some talking heads are predicting the death of newspapers, Valley Grange can testify to the fact that the power of the press lives on! When we started our “blistered fingers knitters” promotion and Yarn Drive a few months ago we never really dreamed that our program would result in one knitter who lives in New Jersey joining the effort.
Things started with a feature article written by Shelia Grant, a local freelancer… and the yarn started pouring in. Most area newspapers were happy to list collection points and help spread the word. Then just as collections started slowing down Bill Pearson of The Piscataquis Observer decided to showcase the story and included some follow-up information.
Shortly after that article appeared we heard from Roberta Fitzgerald in New Jersey, Roberta suggested that she’s actually more of a “calloused fingers” knitter, but she wanted to help us by knitting some hats for the kids. Roberta explained that her “roots to Dover-Foxcroft are actually my mother’s. She grew up in Dover-Foxcroft and graduated from FA in 1939. Mom went to NJ in 1940 for nursing school, met her husband, and raised four daughters there. Every summer, however, we all came to Dover Foxcroft, staying at Sebec Lake, and made lots of memories with our Washburn cousins, aunts and uncles.”
One fascinating aspect of Roberta’s story includes her explanation that in 2006 she began making extended visits to her mother after she’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Roberta explains, “One of the marvelous things that happened was I was able to re-teach her to knit. After church one Sunday, she signed up for knitting the Seaman’s scarves! Yikes! I was amazed that I was able to re-introduce her to knitting and I think it was really good for her. I know it had been at least 50 years (maybe more) since the last time she’d knitted anything.”
And now that legacy lives on. “I’m a compulsive knitter who can’t justify watching TV without knitting needles or crochet hook in hand, so knitting some hats for elementary school kids in Guilford & Dover Foxcroft is easy to do!”
We’re pleased to welcome Roberta to the knitter’s circle and look forward to receiving her first batch of hats when she visits the area this summer. We also recently took delivery of 97 pairs of mittens from Debbie Burdin. Thanks to the improving weather we’ll be arranging storage until they are needed next fall. All our mittens and hats go to Piscataquis Community Elementary School, SeDoMoCha, or the Piscataquis Santa Project. We’re still collecting yarn for a few more weeks, so visit a bin near you if you have some to donate!
Thanks to our local area newspapers, writers, and reporters for helping us help our communities and kids! We even made the marque of Centre Theatre! The power of the press lives on!