Socks No More


Helvi Oosterman

When I was a kid, we used to get hand-knitted woollen socks for Christmas. Mum was very busy and sometimes she had only enough time to finish one sock, and we had to patiently wait for a whole year for its partner. By the time I was ten, I had received roughly four and half pairs of socks…

Mum was lucky that she did not have to go shopping for the wool; it grew on the backs of our black and white Finn sheep, which was very handy. All she had to do was to send it to the local wool co-op to be processed into a knitting yarn. Some busy people called it  LWCO for short, but we had enough time to get the words out, and we used the longer version.

Our Mum was a gentle person, not one of those tough black and white people. She liked nuances and shades better and therefore she also asked the wool to be blended into soft grey. Of course in those days we had never heard of the Aussie Rules that tell you that girls ought to wear pink and that blue is for boys. We were blissfully ignorant of such rulings and were happy just to have warm feet.

Life was good; we did not even know that paedophiles existed in our charmed world. Our parents let us walk to school, so obviously no one had told them either about these bad people. In return we did not tell them of our adventures of swimming in fast flowing rivers and the games we played on breaking up ice floes in springtime…we knew of people who had drowned, but not THAT many…

Now the mums have to buy big black cars and become taxi drivers for their offspring, and by the time the kids turn ten they have sleepless nights before Christmas because they can’t think of anything new they still have to have. They have their laptops, WII’s, IPods, IPads and scooters and trail bikes, and socks and shoes to die for with labels etched into them. Even the pencil cases have to be bought only at some special Smiggle shop; pens and rubbers from K-Mart just don’t cut it…

On Christmas Eve Dad and Big Brother used to go to our own forest and came back with a proper Christmas tree, a spruce with sturdy branches, branches so strong you could hang  edible red apples on them, and of course home-made gingerbread biscuits and real candles firmly sitting in their holders…no, we never managed to start a fire…We made sure all the edibles were eaten before the 6th of January, the Finnish Independence Day, and also the customary date for taking the Christmas tree down and out.

Little Max saw a black plastic Christmas tree the other day at some shopping mall and thankfully thought it was horrid, so would have my Mum, if we would have talked about it too loudly on her well-kept grave.

They don’t make Childhoods or Christmases like they used to. I only hope that it is still politically correct to wish you all a very good Christmas…!

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8 Responses to “Socks No More”

  1. Päivi Kjellman Says:

    Kiva lukea “Härmän-mummon” ja hänen lastensa elämästä…

    Kyllä Suomen itsenäisyyspäivä on vieläkin 6 joulukuuta 🙂
    terveisin veljentyttäresi Päivi Suomesta


    • H Says:

      Hi Paivi, I thought the independence day was on the sixth of January, that’s when the tree was taken out… 🙂

      Happy New Year to all of you!


  2. auntyuta Says:

    Hi Helvi, when I was a child in Germany we always had a fresh Christmas tree with some candy hanging on it, as well as lametta and wax candles. My Mum usually had enough time to finish some knitting for us children for the ‘Bescherung’ on Christmas Eve. I grew up during WW II. The toys we received would not have been as plentiful as what today’s children expect.
    Maybe it is a bit early to wish you a good Christmas. However time flies. Only two more months to go!
    I enjoyed your post very much, Helvi. I intend to read more of your writing. 🙂
    Today I became aware that you and Gerard are upset about some of the comments in some of Gerard’s blogs. It is very regrettable when people resort to becoming abusive.
    Regards, Uta Hannemann

    Liked by 1 person

    • helvityni Says:

      Thank you, auntyuta. I think that if more people took up knitting, this world would be a better place. At primary school we all learnt this practical art, both boys and girls…I of course learnt from my mum well before starting school.
      There are many unhappy people out there, and on the internet it so easy to say nasty things , to be unkind to others. Hiding behind pseudonyms makes even easier…

      Thank you again for your kind words 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  3. rod Says:

    A teacher tried to teach me to knit. She kept shouting ‘in over through off’, but didn’t say in what, over what . . .


    • helvityni Says:

      LOL, Rod. My biggest worry was to be as good at crocheting as I was at knitting. The boy who sat sext to me, Mikko, said he was better but when I checked his potholder, it was not square, it was more of a pyramid shape, he must have dropped lots of stitches: I was the Queen…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. happy go lucky Says:

    I really enjoyed Helvi’s words about Christmas in Finland

    Liked by 1 person

  5. happy go lucky Says:

    Rod have you ever thought she may have had different meaning


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