Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Family Photo--Biggie

Sunday I was moving winter coats to storage when I pulled out a forgotten maroon, hand-knit, zip front sweater in a dry cleaner bag that had belonged to my husband's grandfather, Stanley, or Biggie as he was known to his grandchildren. I think I have the story straight when I say that the oldest grandchild, whose name is Norma Lou, gave him that nickname. Probably because she was little and he was "big." She was raised by her grandparents; her cousins, my husband and his sister, visited on week-ends. These three little ones were all children of divorce, so Biggie was the one monumental and consistent male figure in their lives. Yes, he was BIG. The whole family always called them "Neno and Biggie," and so did I (although I never knew his grandfather).

I decided to take the sweater out of the bag and check for moth holes because it is 100% wool and probably close to 90-100 years old. It was made at a time when knitting or sewing for the family was just a feature of the homemaker's life, a necessity rather than a "craft." (Neno had been a police woman before marriage.) I had a vague recollection of my husband wearing it on very cold days back in the 70s (when all the talk was about global cooling and we couldn't keep our house warm enough), and I think I used to occasionally wear it to work in the 80s because we couldn't control the air conditioning in Sisson Hall. Frankly, I'm not sure either one of us could get this sweater zipped today. And no, the dry cleaners didn't shrink it. It would definitely be an XXS in either a men's or women's size.

The item on the sweater is Biggie's gold pocket watch, and we don't have much else that belonged to him. When I asked my husband where it was, he couldn't remember, but then found it in the first box he checked--along with the silver cuff links we bought our son for his wedding or graduation--don't recall which--and a few other odd items.) The photo below is Biggie, Neno and brother Jimmy, and was probably taken about 1948.

There seems to be a strong family resemblance--photo of my husband at about the same age in 2003.

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