Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Real, Live, Good Samaritan

I'm such a smiley lady today and it's all because of a complete stranger whom I've never met. A fairy godmother who flew through the cyberwaves of the internet to come to my help.

Basic, brief backstory: back in the 1980s I began to design knitwear professionally, i.e. sending off the designs to magazines in the hope that they'd publish them. I was working from home then, being a mum, writing novels, knitting (do things ever really change?). Flash forward to the present and I'm currently starting to resurrect both career paths, so I went through my meagre stacks of old knitting mags (the house has suffered several serious de-clutterings in the intervening years) in order to put a portfolio of published designs together. I found some, but not all. Four were lost forever, including one of great sentimental value, an outfit covered in cats that I made for my little lad who was coming up to three years old at the time. (He's now a hulking 22 year old).

I have to admit I got obsessive about these four missing magazines, even going through old tax accounts (shudder) which for some reason had not been chucked out with the rubbish, looking for date references for payments so I could work out the month and year of publication. I pinned down all but one. For that, all I could find was a scribbled reference to when I'd posted the finished article. Oh, did I mention that every single one of the magazines in question ceased publishing in the knitting slump of the nineties?

Without much hope but with my ever optimistic 'it's worth a try' attitude, I put out a couple of 'Want It Now' posts on Ebay. Heard nothing for weeks. Until last week. I had an email from a lady called Pauline who still had heaps of old knitting magazines stored away and would I like her to look through them? Would I??? Yes please! I felt a bit guilty, putting her to so much trouble, but she did offer. I gave her names and dates of the ones I knew, and descriptions of the designs for the ones I didn't know the dates of, and this lovely, wonderful lady rolled up her sleeves and set to, searching through the lot. Not only did she actually have - and find - every single missing magazine, but she also found an article I wrote which I never mentioned to her because I'd forgotten clean about it!

The point of telling you all this is to sing this kind lady's praises to the world, to shout out that there really are good Samaritans around in this ever more crazy world we live in, and to say publicly (I've already done it in private of course) a huge 'THANK YOU' to Pauline E. who lives in England.

Aren't knitters fab? I don't think I've ever met a knitter I didn't like.

Oh I've had such fun browsing through those old magazines - talk about memory lane. Not just from a personal point of view, but the fashions, the hairstyles (big), the makeup (thick)...did we really look like that? I guess we did.


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Isn't it amazing how one person doing one gratuitously kind act can change your whole attitude toward life (at least for a time)? It always renews my faith in mankind when someone puts themselves out for no other reason than that they're being kind or generous and have nothing to gain by it. That's why we, as a species, have survived, IMO.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Elizabeth, knitting magazines (craft magazines in general) are like time machines, aren't they? I have some Vogue Knitting from the early 1980s and one look at those sweaters with the big shoulders and pouffy bursts of mohair sends me spinning back through the years. I have a couple of McCall's Needlework from the 1950s (talk about a time machine) and my beloved issues from the late 1960s, filled with all the yarns and crafts I couldn't afford. (I can't tell you how many hours I spent mooning over the Shilcraft hooked rug kits. I used to tell myself that one day we'd have enough money so that I could actually buy the kit for the bright orange and yellow "modern art" design and then I would die happy.)

I kind of miss the chiaroscuro eye makeup from the late 60s -- and did you know false eyelashes are coming back??

Hooray for the Good Samaritan! I'm with Nancy. Something like that revives your faith in our species.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous dianne said...

What a great story!! Glad you posted it.

1:01 AM  
Blogger kshotz said...

In my experiencs, knitters are very kind and generous people! (Thankfully I've met non-knitters who are also kind and generous people too!)

A great and heartwarming story Barbara!


9:44 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

HELP! I'm having major Blogger problems today. I've tried a # of times to post Day 29 and I keep getting error messages. (Cindi, is this what happened to you?) I deleted the post then recreated and republished it and still nothing. At least nothing I can see. If anyone out there can actually see Morgan Freeman and Day 29, would you let me know? Thanks! Barbara at

9:45 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I'd love to take credit, Kim, but it all belongs to Eliabeth!

9:46 AM  

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