Dare to DAR
My Grandma Myrt was a pretty amazing lady. She raised 3 boys, her house was always spotless, she played a mean hand of cards, made the best pistachio dessert, was kind, intelligent and good lord could that woman crochet. She specialized in afghans. Beautiful, perfectly made, colorful afghans. I have her hand written instructions and it’s on my bucket list to make one. Even today, 60+ years later, they look brand new.
My father says I’m a lot like Myrt. He’s a lot like Myrt. I’m a lot like him. While Myrt passed away when I was 12, I’d like to think the 3 of us would have some pretty amazing conversations together, kill each other at cards and sit comfortably working on our respective crafts. Another thing she was amazing at was writing. She wrote letters by hand on a ruler and never once forgot a birthday card.
In the early 1970′s, she took it upon herself to work on the Gray family history. Born a Rutemiller, she would never have been eligible to be part of the DAR, but she married in and picked up where Alonson Gray had left off, about 100 years prior. She did it for us and she wrote letters. TONS of letters. Filling in gaps, fact checking, updating, reaching out to Grays everywhere updating our tree.
In 1996 I got a very serious case of lyme disease and ended up in the hospital needing emergency knee surgery. When I finally got to go home, my dad and I cracked open computer software that would let you enter in your family history, keep it more organized and link it up to other people working on the same family. Since I couldn’t do much but sit around and heal, I got addicted to the program and worked hard, plugging in all of the info my grandma had found and everything that had come before. I began to really enjoy history and it was like watching the plot of a great drama unfold before my eyes as the generations were laid out in front of me.
Last year, armed with my notes from Myrt and everything typed up neatly, I began double-checking the history with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). It took 3 solid months of weekly research in their beautiful library to confirm everything and earlier this year I was inducted in. They have a Women in the Arts Award specializing in all of the arts and that inspired me to take my idea for Capitol Knits and make it a reality. The DAR do some wonderful things and if you have a family member already in, it’s much easier to join rather than starting from scratch like I did.
Today I won that award and all I could think was I wish Myrt was there. Capitol Knits also won first place for the American Heritage category and has now gone on to compete nationally.
Family history is unique. It’s always changing with new branches sprouting up and reaching far. I was shocked at how many women way up in my tree had notations under their names about how crafty they were. It’s in my blood and it’s my duty to pass it on to my son. I know he’s got some Myrt in him and I look forward to watching him grow and learn to appreciate his eastern European, American and Asian roots.
So this is for you, Myrt. For inspiring me to get out there and make my little dream of Capitol Knits a reality.
I think about you every day.
I wish you were here to see it.