"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Doing good for others, then and now

By on October 25, 2020 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
Carolyn Black

By Carolyn Black

The year 2020 will long be remembered for many things. Most will remember the pandemic, social distancing and face masks. 

 It has been a learning experience for all, and for me the thought that we can’t go anywhere to get away worldwide from it, is the biggest change. 

Over 100 years ago, America was experiencing similar things, the Spanish Flu and the First World War. 

Today we felt good about doing something to help, and joined many others making things we could at home. Thousands of face masks, surgical caps and gowns have been made from fabric we had on hand, donations from fabric stores and all of us dug deep into our “stash” of material and notions, like elastic, binding and Velcro.

I found the hand-written journal my paternal grandmother wrote while she and my father went north to Alaska in 1918. He was a young teenager, 13, and she was on their way to a job, cooking at a fish cannery. He was to be her dishwasher. 

In the journal, she talks about the trials of the journey, engine problems, Seymour Narrows challenge of the tides, huge swells from the ocean outside of Icy Straights, ice, snow and having to wait for a gasoline launch to bring the errant six passengers aboard who missed the departure time. 

The most interesting part for me was where the women aboard, raffled off a pair of wool socks knitted by one of the women while they had been in transit. 

With the $16.20 from the raffle, they were able to buy more yarn and needles at their first stop in Ketchikan, then all the women pitched in, learned how to knit socks, and by the time their journey finished, there were 16 pairs of wool socks to send overseas to the soldiers fighting in Europe. 

They say a pair of warm, dry socks was beyond price.

My grandmother ended her journal with this: “The numbers of pairs of socks does not add up, but beauty of the thought was what was important.” 

I feel this sentiment so deeply and so gratefully. I want to thank all who helped in so many ways in these last several troubling months.

The donations of fabric, notions or even thread, the picking up and transporting of all these items — some many miles — made so many feel a part of the greater good in life.

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