Saturday, December 02, 2006

Roma loves Jack

Mum and I had morning tea with her Uncle Jack and Auntie Roma today.

After a cup of tea and piece of fruit cake, and while we chatted over this and that, I took out my knitting. Roma asked if I knitted constantly like my mother used to and told me how Mum and her sister never sat with idle hands. Then, between them, Jack and Roma and Mum told me the story of Jack's cardigan.

Jack met and fell in love with Roma at an early age. Roma was beautiful and kind. To my mother she was a glamourous older sister. Jack and Roma became engaged just before Jack was posted overseas with the Army. During his time away, Roma knitted him a cardigan.

It was a Fair Isle cardigan with eight different colours of beiges, greens, browns and tans. Mum, Roma and Jack all described the pattern and the colours in detail. It was Fair Isle all over, not just the yoke, Roma and Mum took pains to tell me.

Roma knitted Jack's cardigan at night at the kitchen table. She couldn't sit in the living room to knit it because she needed the family's tea cups and a flat surface. Each ball of wool was placed in a different tea cup to keep the colours separated. It was lucky there were only eight colours because that was all the tea cups they had. When someone in the family wanted a cuppa, knitting ceased until the tea had been made and drunk and the cup washed, dried and returned to Roma at the kitchen table.

When Jack returned home from his posting a year later, he and Roma were married. Jack swears the cardigan was his favourite and he wore it all the time. Mum, who was 7 when they married, confirms that he did as she vividly remembers the cardigan.

Jack's eyes glistened this morning when he told me how upset he was when Roma discarded the carigan when they moved into their retirement unit earlier this year. He smiled and held her hand when she told me that although she'd always hand washed the cardigan and looked after it properly, it had shrunk a little and was becoming quite worn.

Jack and Roma married in 1949.

Uncle Jack selling hub caps at the Jamison Trash and Treasure Markets, 5 September 1985.

Image courtesy of the absolutely essential ACT Heritage Library, Canberra Times Collection.


happyspider said...

what a gorgeous piece of history... such a shame but the memory remains strong so its ok.

Sue said...

What a lovely story!

Anonymous said...


I love a moving love story!!!

The tea cups got me.

Anonymous said...

gorgeous story. Soooo lovely.

And yep, I agree, the Heritage Library *is* absolutely essential.

*sigh* that's true love for you. Meanwhile, I STILL haven't finished Alex's sock!

stoopid jude

Anonymous said...

Heart-warming story, Taph - loved the tea cup solution :)

When I first met my future husband, in 1982, I was 17, and an ok knitter... I was so besotted that I decided to knit him a cabled vest - I made it in dark blue Totem, and he wears it to this day (well, not TODAY obviously os it's hot, but in the winter ;) He calls it his 'Bunny Hug' !

Kate said...

Aww, so nice to hear a story where the curse of the jumper didn't come true. You know the one? The curse goes: besotted woman knits an incredibly perfect jumper. Approx. 2 months after presenting the product to him, they break up!

Anonymous said...

great story, fantastic picture...i hope that my OH loves the things ive made him half this much! thanks for posting this.

Margie said...


Sometimes Unwilling Guru said...

What a wonderful story,my Nan never knitted but my other nan did,and I wish i had been able to talk to her more before she died as she was one of the first spinning group in Bourke and had started weaving as well before she became ill.I am knitting an Iris Hiking scarf at the moment for a gift on a pair of needles that came from my Non knitting Nan so not sure where they originated from,
as I said ,what a wonderful story,its nice of you to share!!

0thlon said...

what a cute story! and very well told ^-^ but thats hardly surprising though is it.

Anonymous said...

That's so lovely! It's such a shame you didn't get a chance to save it and turn it into a hot water bottle cover or something.
Sanity and socks seem to go together and I'm churning them out at the moment while I languish at my sister's in Dorset. Cheers for now Gillian

sue said...

What a wonderful and lovely story. I loved how your aunt used the teacups to separate the yarns, use what you have they say.