Monday, March 27, 2006

F is for Friendship

I learned to knit when I was 8 years old. Around the same time I met Augie. He played "Keep Away" with my bookbag on the school bus home as 8 year old boys are want to do.

I cried my eyes out that day until my Mom explained to me that sometimes boys do rotten things like that because they actually have a crush on the girl they torture most. Thus was the tenuous beginning to our friendship.

Augie became a part of my daily life. He became my best friend, we saw each other every day. We dug forts in the empty lot next to my house, we climbed the snow mountain the snow plow made at the end of my dead end street and we ran thru the sprinkler on his lawn in the heat of summer.

As we grew older, Augie used to come over after school to do homework together and when we finished we would watch TV. Often I would knit while we watched the Cosby Show and Family Ties.

Augie was always fascinated by my knitting, he would sit and watch me for hours and hours. Always one to multi-task, he was astounded that I could watch TV, have a conversation, listen to the radio and knit a sweater all at the same time!


And over the years Augie became my boyfriend as well as my best friend. We learned about life and love together and shared so many "firsts".... learning to drive, entering high school and first kisses.

For Augie's sixteenth birthday I wanted to knit him something special. I used the allowance money I had saved and had my mother take me to a "real" yarn shop as opposed to the Woolworth's or Times Square Store and the inexpensive, mostly acrylic yarns carried there.

I picked out the most delicious cream colored wool, soft and plump just waiting to be turned into something beautiful. I searched and searched and finally found the perfect pattern....a complex Aran with the most beautiful cabled patterns I had ever seen!

I worked on the sweater in secret, whenever Augie wasn't around. As the beautiful patterns developed I knew this would be something Augie would love and treasure forever!

His birthday finally arrived and I presented him with the sweater....and he was awestruck! He loved what he saw and despite it being June, he put the sweater on and only took it off because of impending heat stroke!

Augie loved that sweater almost reverently. He wore it often but only for occasions where there was no possibility of any "damage" occurring to his precious garment.....pity the waiter who spilled or the buddy who back-slapped with dirty hands! Until......

Somehow his beloved sweater got into the wrong wash pile!! Before she realized, his Mom had put Augie's sweater thru a hot wash!! What was the perfect Aran for a very buf 18 year old Augie now would be a good fit for GI Joe! Augie was devastated, so devastated the he didn't tell me for almost a year!!

By that time we were both in college and spending less time together as we both were growing in different directions. So much so that when graduation time grew near I decided to move out of state and that Augie and I would be better as "just friends" than anything more. He would always hold a special place in my heart but I needed to move on and spread my wings.

Cut to South Florida, circa 1995.....I was working a a Director of Infusion Services for the VNA of Miami. Our company was working closely with an infusion company whose owners name was Augie! Not my Augie, but a VERY unusual name outside of New York or New Jersey! So unusual that my Florida native, African-American secretary Stachia, would chuckle every time Augie called and finally asked me about the origin of such an odd name, hehe.... So I told her about my Augie...

Stachia, being engaged and about to be married, was full of the romance of young love. Hearing my story, she encouraged me to contact my Augie! We had completely lost touch, I had no idea if he was married or single or even living in New York anymore! With Stachia's urging I found an Augie with the same very unusual last name living fairly close to where we grew up but could this be my Augie?? I nervously dialed the number I got from information.....I got an answering machine with a mechcanical voice....I left one of *those* messages, "hi, I don't know if you know me but......" I left my work number and went home for the day.

The next morning when the answering service called in my messages, they told me they had been INUNDATED with calls from "some man named Augie"! In fact he had already called 4 times that morning and it wasn't even 8 am!! I very nervously dialed the number and this time, I spoke, for the first time in about 15 years, to MY AUGIE!

We caught up on our lives and renewed our friendship by phone. Over the impending years we've seen each other a few times but we speak on the phone at least once a week mostly because I have no desire to move back to a place where it snows and his business keeps him in New York, for now. He still knows me like no one else ever will, and I him.

My hiatus from knitting had been almost as long as my separation from Augie. When I returned to knitting in late 2002, my renewed interest in my childhood/young adult hobby sparked many memories in both of us, including Augie wistfully longing for the gorgeous (and shrunken) Aran of our youth!

For Augie's birthday in 2004 I decided it would be wonderful to re-visit the sweater he so loved when he was 16! I wanted something equally as classic as the original Aran but with a modern update for today. I chose "It's On The Tab" that was featured in Knitter's Magazine Winter 2003.

More than 20 years later, I present Augie's Aran, Take 2*:

The pattern suggested using Dale Freestyle but I subbed Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool in Natural and Deep Blue Sea.


I loved the modern twist of using 2 colors and the interesting design of the placket.


Every stitch of this sweater was pure joy....the yarn, the design and the sentimental value made it a perfect knit. I was sorry to actually finish it!

I mailed it to Augie. It was a complete surprise that actually made him cry when he opened it. When he called me that night all he could repeat was Deb, oh my god, Deb.....It was a perfect fit and we were both so happy!

In the subsequent years, I've knit Augie 3 pairs of socks as well. He was the recipient of these:


So does this tale of friendship spanning over 30 years have a happy ending? Well, yes and no.....

You see Augie remembers the fate of his last sweater low those many years ago so he's afraid to "ruin" this one and the other handknits I've made him! No matter how many times I've explained that even if the WORST happens and he ruins or wears out his handknits, it's ALL good 'cause I like to knit and that way I'll get to knit MORE for him! I've explained this til my lips practically fall off yet the sweater remains in his closet like a precious memorial, wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a plastic sweater bag, lovingly taken out and admired now and again but never worn. Sure, when he received it he took it to show all his friends - he even took it to a local yarn shop to show it off! But he's never worn it for more than a few minutes.

His handknit socks suffer the same lonely fate. He's often threatened to devise a frame to showcase the socks so he can look but never touch because he "can't bear to desecrate their beauty!"

Until two weeks ago!! It was quite cold in New York that weekend, he complained how cold his feet were on the cold wood floor....of course I again admonished him for not wearing his handknit socks, figuring I'd start small :)

And he finally agreed!! He wore the entrelac camo socks to dinner with friends that night....I know this because he called me from the restaurant and had his friends tell me how much they liked the socks because he took them off and showed everyone! (BTW, Augie has a little um, OCD and showers at least twice a day so showing off socks at the dinner table isn't quite as creepy as it sounds, hehe) He even wore another pair the next day too!!

Yes, F is for friendship! My friend of more than 30 years finally wore his handknit socks! It's not the sweater but it's a start......and I'm hopeful :)

*please forgive the horrible photography, taking these pics back in 2004 was the first time I ever used my digital camera!

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Deb - that is such a sweet story! Here's hoping that Augie will eventually wear that sweater - it's gorgeous!!
Dorothy (Missouri Star)

Agnes said...

Wow ... what a wonderful story of friendship! I love reading this very much ... touching.
Thanks for sharing.
So far, I've made 4 pairs of socks in March ... isn't this March Madness or what? LOL!

candsmom said...

What a wonderful story!! And what an amazing history you and Augie share. I'm so glad that Stachia talked you into re-connecting with Augie. And what a gorgeous Aran Sweater!! I can only imagine how beautiful Aran, Take 1 must have been. It must be so amazing to have someone who not only appreciates you for everything you are, but also cherishes your knitting. That, alone, speaks volumes about the depth of your friendship. And I'm so glad that he's wearing his gorgeous hand-knits now! ;-) Hook him up with a little lukewarm water and some Eucalan and it'll all be good, LOL! Take care, Debi! :-)

vinayan said...

Lucky to have such a good friend....

Janine said...

What a beautiful story :-)
I loved the sweater too!

Catherine said...

What a great story, and a gorgeous sweater. (And of course, the socks are fab!) I believe showing off handknit socks at the dinner table is perfectly acceptable, btw. :-)

Cathy said...

Oh Deb, what a wonderful story, it brought tears to my eyes! True friendship never dies, it is an amazing thing! Thank you for sharing your memories with all of us!

Pumpkinmama said...

What a FANTASTIC story!! How wonderful that you two reconnected again, and that you are still so close. Thanks for sharing.

Terri said...

What a wonderful bond you and Augie share. That sweater must be lovely in person, and the accent with the second color is perfect. Have a great week!

Leslie said...

What a lovely, lovely story, Deb. Thanks for sharing this part of yourself with us. The knitting's not bad either :-P

Alison said...

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. It really is touching and it's wonderful that you have such a friend. I had a good friend in high school that I would love to reconnect with, but I can't seem to locate him, even through mutual old friends. No idea where he is today.

Mary said...

That is the sweetest sweater story. Thanks for making my day.

Norma said...

Best story EVER! I saw those pictures uploaded the other day, but with no post, and I was very curious about the sweater and the socks.

Now, you get on the phone with Augie and tell him that a very vocal and pushy bunch of knitters are telling him to WEAR THAT SWEATER!!!

Shez75 said...

What a great story! And what a special friend Augie is, and you are to him. Thanks for a great read first thing on a Monday morning!
Here's to old friends like Augie. And, Augie, if you happen to read all this, WEAR THE SWEATER!
Sheri in GA

Carole said...

This is a wonderful story. I found myself tearing up over the sweater, too.

kim said...

Wonderful story! Tell Augie we all want a photo of him in the sweater.

debbie said...

What a touching story! Those are the type of people we LOVE to knit for!

Judy said...

Oh, that's such a sweet story! A few years ago I re-connected with someone from my high-school days, who turned out to have had a crush on my all those years ago. It was great, and we still keep in touch too. Tell Augie we want to see him in that sweater!!

KnitNana said...

A terrific story! And the sweater is gorgeous...yes, he must wear it tho' how you'll convince him, I don't know!
(((hugs)))

KRis said...

Thanks for posting about Augie. At this stage in my life it is encouraging to read about lasting friendships that endure regardless of distance. Thanks!

Laura said...

Aren't you glad you decided to get in touch with Augie once again? I totally enjoyed reading this story and wish both of you many more happy years.

Jes said...

What an adorable story! That is so sweet. It's so nice when you find someone who loves hand knits that much.
What a great friend! I'm so glad someone made you look him up.

p.s. I have a cousin named Augie, from Augustus, so I don't think it's strange at all! =)

La Cabeza Grande said...

Wow! Fantastic and sweet story of love and friendship. Thank you for putting a smile on my face and reminding me of the importance of keeping your friends close -- even when they're far away.

BTW, my Mom's family name is Augustus so I don't think it an odd name either.

caroline said...

Lovely story, Deb. You've motivated me to finally knit something for my best friend of 35+ years, Gomez. She of the wool allergy, heh. Please pass the hugs on to Augie!
Big hugs,
caroline

mamaDawnya said...

Thank you for sharing a wonderful story of friendship. I have never visited before, but I will return.

Marguerite said...

The warmth just radiates from that story. Thanks for a Monday morning lift.

snowballinhell said...

What a lovely story, Debi. Thanks for telling it so well.

tonni said...

Such a sweet story that brought tears to my eyes... what a wonderful friend you are to your Augie!

jenknits said...

If everyone had a best friend like Augie, the world would be a much happier place. Thank you for sharing such a touching story!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. You and Augie are lucky to have each other for friends.

I hope you get him to wear that sweater - it is gorgeous.

La said...

What a great story. With as "sensitive" as I am today I was laughing and crying all at the same time. Effing PMS anyhow!

Marta said...

Aww, that's the sweetest story! You and Augie are very lucky indeed - you have a friend who appreciates your knits and he has someone to knit for him. LOL at Augie showing off his socks at dinner table!

Ada said...

Great story about friendship. Fabulous sweater you made for him.

Knittinreed said...

Great story and your writing is beautiful. Oh yes, so is the sweater and the socks! Beautiful work!

Jenn said...

That is a beautiful sweater, just beautiful.

What a sweet story about Augie. It is so wonderful to have a friend like that.

Gina said...

Thank you for sharing this very beautiful story. You've given everyone who reads it a special gift.

And thank you for the tutorials - I use the turkish cast on now as a party trick!

christine said...

ahhhh, sweet story. Augie sounds like the most wonderful friend, as do you!

Tropical Screamer said...

There's nothing better than making something for someone and have them cherish it. No matter what it is.

Congratulations on a great friendship.

Darilyn

margene said...

Friends do make the world go round and how lucky for Augie that he has you!

Beth said...

What a great story! Goes to show what good can come of an unusual name. What are the chances of finding him again if his name was Dave Smith?

Sue said...

What a fantastic story! I enjoyed reading every word and your work is beautiful. Just as he has "ventured out" and worn the socks, I truly hope he "really ventures out" and wears the sweater some day. Thanks for sharing this - you truly have a great friend and you sound like a wonderful friend, also!

Lorette said...

Make him another couple of sweaters, and then he won't be so afraid to wear them. Or you'll "guilt" him into it with quantity.
Decades-old friendships like that are priceless. I have a couple that date from my grade-school era, and though we rarely see each other, we email often, and I know that any one of them would drop what they are doing in a heartbeat if I needed them.

emy said...

That's the sweetest story I ever heard! Make sure you treasure that great friendship (which I am sure you already do!) :)

nichola said...

What a wonderful story! What a lucky guy he is.

Sharlene said...

What a great story! I'm so glad he finally wore his socks. :)

judy said...

What a wonderful story. you're lucky to have found your Augie again. Old friendships are so special.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog post through Carole's edition of Yarnival...what an unbelieveably touching story! I'm so glad you finally found your Augie...what a great *friend* story!

Anonymous said...

I loved your story so much ... it brought tears to my eyes. It's wonderful to have a friendship like that for so long. I hope he has warm feet from now on, along with your friendship.

Vicki Knitorious said...

Wonderful story of friendship. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

WONDERFUL story!! I'm getting all misty, here! (grin) But in a good way....

Julie said...

That was a great story! Sounds like an excellent friendship. :)