Unlocking the door
Saturday February 26th 2011, 1:09 am
Filed under: Family,Warm Hats Not Hot Heads

(With proud new-grandparent pictures and captions thrown in, of course.)

My last semester of high school way back when, I took an after-school class in downtown DC, way down there from where I lived in Maryland: it was held in a rehabbed rowhouse near the Duke Ellington Bridge.  Down Connecticut Avenue, for those who know the city. It was a lipreading class for those with new hearing losses and that’s where the agency that ran it happened to be.

It let out at ten to four, because at four, all the one-way streets turned one-way the other way. Connecticut had a chicken lane, a fast lane down the center that changed direction then, too, bouncing up and down over hills that hid daredevil oncomings from each other in heavy traffic. Not for me thankyouverymuch. The Founding Fathers forgot to put in freeways.

It also means the one time I got out late I had no idea how on earth to find my way out of the side street maze to get home. The neighborhood looked nice enough on the surface, but I learned that day why you had to stand in front of the steel-barred doorway every time and verify that you were you before they would buzz you in.

We now have 222 hats’ worth of knitters who have picked up their yarn to say no to the anger driving too much of our public discourse down the chicken lane. To urge yes to civility and respect to those in the public sphere.  Hear us.


I called ahead first today to tell them who I was, what I was doing, and why I was coming. And was that okay?

The guy sounded surprised, and then charmed.

Then I drove to the office of my House Representative, Anna Eshoo, to offer up my letter about Warm Hats Not Hot Heads along with the red royal baby alpaca hat I’d made her.

I recognized his voice as he answered the door and unlocked it from the inside and let me in.  But oh, it so brought back those memories–and in such a different time and place.  It tugged fiercely at me that they would need to do that. But they do.

He invited me further in and I could see someone else at work as I stood there, unsealed manila envelope in hand. Both of them had the biggest smiles on already.

Then I showed the two men the pink and periwinkle hats tucked away in my purse as backups and wondered out loud what colors Ms. Eshoo likes, what colors they might have seen her wearing so that I could give her whichever one she would like best. I’d made the red one for her, but it was more important that she be happy with it.

Ask guys about colors and what do they do? They run for the woman in the office.

Who stepped from around the corner and she was beaming too. She looked at the red and went, Oh, that’s beautiful! And so soft… And pronounced that if that was the one that I’d made specifically for Ms. Eshoo then of course that was the one she should have, and she pronounced it perfect. We talked a little about the hats for Congress idea and they thought it was really cool that knitters would do that.

I tell you. I went home just floating at how happy those three people I’d never laid eyes on before were in their anticipation of seeing their boss made happy. That feeling could carry me forward for a long time.

Just imagine taking that experience and multiplying it by 221 more congresspeople and their staffs. Let’s get the rest of them too! Go knitters go!

10 Comments so far
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Alison, Parker looks much bigger when you’re holding him. Is he an amazing shrinking baby? (I joke, paraphrasing a line from the TV show “Ed”)

Comment by LynnM 02.26.11 @ 10:06 am

Darling photos! Parker looks a little like Grampa.
Yesterday at the Avenidas current events class, they wanted “Good” stories, so I told them about Warm Hats Not Hot Heads. Went over well.

Comment by Don Meyer 02.26.11 @ 10:24 am

We’ll be late with our hat, the hat is finished but Oscar had an unexpected commitment come up. I made a hat with owls on it, for wisdom :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.26.11 @ 11:00 am

Whoops, meant to say WHAT HAPPY FACES in the photos. I am all glowy and weepy :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.26.11 @ 11:01 am

Mailed the hat today.

Comment by afton 02.26.11 @ 11:24 am

I love the pictures!

Comment by robinm 02.26.11 @ 12:24 pm

Wonderful photos, and I’m so happy you had an even warmer reaction/reception to that red hat than what you’d hoped for!

Comment by Channon 02.26.11 @ 3:57 pm

I’m loving every bit of this post, especially the visual aids (as if the story of the hat being received so well weren’t enough to have me smiling).

I find my husband to be extremely charming and dear, but never so much as when he is holding a baby. I suspect that when the day comes that it is a grandbaby, I will barely be able to stand it.

Comment by twinsetellen 02.26.11 @ 7:05 pm

Great report on the hat delivery. I’m still loving the photos with Parker.

Comment by sjanova 02.27.11 @ 10:32 am

If we get 1 in 4 to react that way, I guess it’s pretty good odds? My Senator Warner’s office person on the other end of the phone thought the idea was just great! You could hear the amazement in his voice…but it helped I could say that I knew I was preaching to the choir…the other three were far more tepid. But still, maybe we can hope that it will make a difference. Okay it already has – it’s made a difference with us!

BEAUTIFUL photos!!!

Comment by Knitnana 02.28.11 @ 6:54 pm

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