I was recently talking to a second cousin of mine who told me the story of how she found a piece of Grandma Olson‘s lost lace. Marian Olson Boag is a descendant of my grandma, Celinda Olson, a lacemaker. Marian is the granddaughter of Kent Olson, one of Celinda’s sons.
“I was climbing through the rafters of Kent’s old barn where we milked the cows. I was cleaning out the loft, and found a metal box that had lost its lid. I decided to rifle through the box to make sure there wasn’t anything important in there before I threw it away.
The box was full of garbage, magazines, newspapers, burlap sacks, twine, straw and it had, nestled in everything else, a mouse nest. There were mouse droppings all over everything in there.
In the old rusty box, I discovered a delicate hand-knitted bag. Rolled up inside the little bag, was this perfect piece of hand-knitted lace.”
“I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. An incredible feeling came over me. It was pretty special. I imagine that Grandma was very happy the lace had been found.
The sack had a few holes in it from the mice chewing through it, so it really was a miracle that the lace wasn’t ruined. I figure it was at least 50 years old at the time, and I’ve now had it twenty years more.
I cleaned it, and stowed it away for safe keeping. I told my mother about it years later. She told me to keep it, which is good… because I would have had a hard time giving it back!
No one had any clue that it even existed, and no idea why it was ever put in the barn. Finding that lace was such a blessing, and to know the love that went into making each tiny stitch just makes me feel close to her. I don’t know how it was lost, but I’m so glad it was preserved so I could find it. It’s such a gift to have something so beautiful of hers. I love it.”
What a treasure. Uncle Kent’s barn is not far from the log house my grandmother lived in as she knit her lace by lamplight. A beautiful piece of her love, for her granddaughter, made it home.