Shared Views #5

Post 5/2021 Friday 29 January . . . Mary Baechler, my late great-aunt, knitted a pair of mittens for me that I’ve just retrieved from a bottom dresser drawer. The mittens may be 50 years old. At one time I wore them all the time for walks in winter. They are so warm, so evocatively warm, so proudly warm as in a walk we took on Thursday to the Goshen Public Library. The mittens retrieval comes thanks to a photo of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wearing knitted mittens on Inauguration Day, January 20.

I’m sitting on our patio, kitted out in the mittens knitted by my great-aunt Mary Baechler. It’s true, her husband’s name was Joseph, but that’s another story. Husband Joseph went by Joe or Paps.

On January 27, CNN reporters Kelly McCleary and Amanda Jackson said the Bernie Sanders meme had raised $1.8 million for charities in Vermont. Sanders team began selling sweatshirts and T-shirts that featured the photo. Among the charities receiving the proceeds are Vermont area agencies on aging for Meals on Wheels, Vermont Parents Network and others.

Also, Tobey King of Corpus Christi, Texas was inspired to crochet a Bernie Sander’s doll which she sold in an online auction on eBay for $20,000. eBay matched the selling price with the final total of $40,600 going to Meals on Wheels. There were other related donations from manufacturers of what Bernie was wearing. The photo was taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer.

This is the mitten great-aunt Mary knitted for my dad who lost three fingers in a corn picker accident. Dad wrote these few lines about the incident in a book he and Mom wrote for the grandchildren: “In 1952 we put in a lot of tile in October and November. I got hurt in the corn picker on October 15, 1952. I was in the hospital for three months. We had just started to build the kitchen onto the house.” That’s the gist of the story, one that holds secure place in family memory.

(I posted a letter I got from great-aunt Mary in my blog of March 27, 2016, titled, “Coffee, Stop Press, Easter, Great-Aunt Mary.” To find it, select March 2016 in the archive box on the right).

The mittens moment could weave on and on, springing from a viral Inauguration photo that called to mind personal memories, here centered on great-aunt Mary, a woman of agile mind, skilled fingers, and a heart that melted ice. She died in 1988. Blessed be the memory of all who have gone before.

Views of the week

Sunrise over part of the Greencroft resident gardens.
This skein of Canada geese is flying northwards. Where to is anyone’s guess. Whether the geese know it or not, according to Wikipedia, “The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; when in flight, they are called a skein, a team, or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump.” I’m not one to vilify them just for the poo-mess they make, even though I’d rather see them in a plump than in a gaggle on the grass, sidewalk or street. They’re part of the created order in a world human’s have had too great a tendency to mess things up.
The Goshen Public Library is two miles from our home. This was the first of two walks to the library this week.
Straight on poster! It greets patrons at the Goshen Public Library. A few years ago I saw at quote, attributed to Bill Moyers, outside the St Ives Public Library in Cornwall that read, “When a library is open, no matter its size or shape, democracy is open too.”
This photo, taken yesterday, shows Greencroft Boulevard, main entrance from College Avenue. The street circles around Greencroft Community Center. We had a lovely walk to and home from the library, even in pretty cold weather. We stopped at Martin’s Grocery just across College Avenue street for fixin’s for chili.
Blue, bird houses on a fence in an alley we sometimes take home from Goshen Public Library.
On Sunday afternoon we took this path less traveled by that goes through the 17-acre lowland forest, Shoup-Parsons Woods Park, back onto the Millrace Canal Trail. We saw seven deer go a’ leaping across the path just steps beyond.
Ice on the Millrace Canal.
The millrace trail proved slow-going, too slippery for safe walking, so we changed our route.
We crossed this bridge and headed home on city sidewalks.
Just across the footbridge, we came upon this nicely fashioned moose in the shadows of a tree..
A proper pose, not a meme. Sweet memories.


8 thoughts on “Shared Views #5

  1. Hi John, I really enjoyed the story about the mittens (and the picture!)


    *From:* It’s About Now *Sent:* Friday, January 29, 2021 10:01 AM *To:* *Subject:* [New post] Shared Views #5

    John Bender posted: ” Post 5/2021 Friday 29 January . . . Mary Baechler, my late great-aunt, knitted a pair of mittens for me that I’ve just retrieved from a bottom dresser drawer. The mittens may be 50 years old. At one time I wore them all the time for walks in winter. They”


    1. Thanks, Marlene. These times elicit many journeys into memory–good ones and not so good ones, but essential stuff nonetheless.


  2. I remember Dad’s mittens although I forgot aunt Mary knitted them. Amazing you still have those mittens. Yes very cold this week and we encounter icy trails too. You are fortunate your local library is open. We aren’t so lucky.


    1. Thanks, Kaye. Always a pleasure to hear from you across the line. Let’s hope your library opens in due time–as also the bridges.


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