Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Pilmgrimage

Yes, that is me bowing down in front of a giant horse. The giant horse is actually the entrance to the FAO Schwartz store. So why am I bowing to a toy store?

Four years ago almost to the day something happened at that toy store that changed my life forever. So every year when we go to Las Vegas for the Electronic Retailers Association convention, I make a side trip to relive that fateful moment.

FAO Schwartz is in the Forum Shops which are part of Caesar’s Palace. The Forum Shops were the first of the fake shopping streets. The floor feels like cobblestones and the ceiling is painted blue with wisps of clouds. There is a lighting effect that makes it appear to go from daytime to twilight and back again. Of course, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore when you have a canal going though the Venetian with gondoliers singing as they push the boats past a replica of St. Mark’s Square (without the pigeons).

I ride the escalator to the second floor and as I walk across the store, I turn and look at the eye level spot where I found the little blue suitcase. It was the banner that caught my eye. It said something like learn how to make granny squares and was a huge eureka moment for me. I guess people have all different things that seem to speak to them. For me, it was anything made out of granny squares. And learning how to make the squares was on my wish list. So when I found that kids’ kit, it looked like my wish was finally going to come true.

With kids’ kits, they tend to break things down into steps and have illustrations for each step. And that is exactly what the directions were like in the little blue suitcase. Adult granny square directions tend to be a bunch of abbreviations that make your eyes go in circles and are hopeless to follow if you don’t already know how to crochet, which when I found he little suitcase, I didn’t.

I am embarrassed to admit that I was actually sweating when I made my first squares. The very first was lopsided because I missed one of the corners in the beginning. The second had all the corners, but the stitches were loopy. Still, when I looked at it, I could see the granny square shape. And with that square, the golden door of crochet swung open and I knew I could figure out how to make almost anything. And then I thought why not write a mystery about granny squares. I was going to call it Squared to Death. The name got changed and it turned into a series about crochet, but as they say, the rest is history.

So, every year I go back and give thanks for my encounter with the little blue suitcase.


donna said...

Isn't it amazing the different things that make us all tick? Granny squares! Whoda thunk it?

Love this story!

Karin Corbin said...

What a great story and I love that horse I would bow down to it too!
Never too old to learn new skills are we?

I am currently learning to use a kiln among other things and of course I am sweating over it too. Will I blow up the tiny pieces I put in? If I do blow them up will it be the end of the world as I know it? :-)

I learned to crochet so young that I did not have fear but it was a while before I did anything besides endless long chains that I zipped apart and wound back up on the ball. No reading of crochet shorthand instructions until I was in my teens. In my early twenties I began teaching crochet in the local community school with the promise in the course description that anyone could learn to do this, even a child.

Betty Hechtman said...

Donna, I use that "whoda thunk it line all the time" in other aspects of my life. Life is full of surprises.

Karin, you are certainly a woman of many talents. A kiln would certainly make you sweat. Good luck.

Linda O. Johnston said...

How fun that you can associate a date and location with when you started something so meaningful to you, Betty!

Tamara said...

I'm just re-reading 'Murder at the War' and dropped in to say hi--- "Hi"

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, it is fun to relive my fateful moment. It really was fate. The way they display the craft kits now, I might never haven noticed the little blue suitcase.

Tamara, thanks for saying hi.

Terri Thayer said...

So awesome!