The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 28, 2003



Fair balance

At times readers have criticized the Mosquito for being too liberal, too green, too focused on schools or not enough. We listen; we question ourselves; we talk about fair balance. Are opposing viewpoints overlooked? Are some silent minorities (or silent majorities) underrepresented? Are we digging deep enough? This week we offer personal accounts of Carlisle citizens who participated in anti-war protests, but we do not have a report from the White House on the administration's 'respectful disagreement.'

As a non-profit organization, the Carlisle Mosquito does not take a position on issues or candidates. Hence, editorials appearing on this page are signed and represent the editor's personal opinion. Forum articles are written by individuals elected by the board of directors of Carlisle Communications, Inc., our parent organization, and are not edited by the Mosquito staff. We believe there is a firewall between the editorial page and the front page.

It is true that in a small newspaper in a small town it is rarely possible to cover all sides of a story in the same issue. We must also recognize that townspeople rarely split 50-50 over an issue. Sometimes minority views are hard to find. That said, it is our mission and our intention to hear all voices and offer a balanced representation of issues and events in Carlisle. In fact, a diversity of approaches and opinions will make us a better town.

In part we depend on our readers to help us achieve the desired balance. We welcome letters to the editor, especially when they shine a different light on a current issue or problem. We also welcome comments, suggestions and news tips sent by e-mail to Informal communications to our e-mail address are read, but not published. We invite our readers to a Mosquito open-house on the evening of Monday, April 7, to meet the editors, tour our facilities and engage in a conversation on how our only town newspaper can be better every year.

Clicking comfort

It's been a tough winter. As if record snowfall and single-digit temperatures aren't enough, we have the added tension of an impending war and terrorism by duct tape. Top this with budget cuts and oil bills that exceed the rent on my first apartment, not to mention the worry of being felled by the Norwalk virus. In times like these, what's a girl to do but turn to her knitting?

Jokes aside, I first experienced the clicking comfort of knitting in a gender-neutral needlework household. My brother and I learned to knit at the same time (being the second and third of six closely spaced children), my mother taking advantage of economies of scale whenever possible. We were both avid knitters, although, of course, my brother had a more muscular style. (His stitches were so tight it required some strength to complete a row.) I also suspected that he got some mileage with the opposite sex from the knitting angle. I recall one turquoise fisherman sweater he knit for a well-endowed girlfriend. The sweater was stunning, if only a wee bit too tight.

I came into my own in the 1970s. Does anyone recall the vests composed of a single crocheted flower in front and back with the matching Love Story-inspired head-hugging cap? How about the striped openwork poncho with the yards of fringe and coordinated double-crocheted miniskirt? I even attempted to knit a bathing suit (big disaster). I have the front two-thirds of a cable sweater which dates from this era begun on impossibly small size-2 needles. This work-in-progress has been stuffed into the bottom of so many moving boxes that the slender aluminum needles now resemble the bent and bony fingers of Baba Yaga. This was the era of liberation and empowerment; no project was too bizarre or daunting.

After a long hiatus, I took up my knitting again two weeks before last Christmas, starting a new project on the T ride home from work. Almost immediately after pulling out my needles I realized that I had tapped into a wellspring of emotion. The usually taciturn commuting crowd came alive. First came the general questions: "What are you making?" "Who is it for?" Then came the offhand biographical remarks: "My mother used to knit." "I used to commute every day with a woman who knit." Then, as if my needles unlocked a memory door, I started hearing the underlying stories: "My mother knit mittens for me every winter. I lost them all, but she kept knitting them anyway." "I can picture my mother knitting afghans, enough for each one of my brothers and sisters after she died." "My mother knit a pair of argyle socks for my father when they were dating. My father still had them after 45 years of marriage." The underlying stories were all about comfort and security.

There is a meditative quality about knitting the click and slide of needles, the soft heft of the wool, the regularity of the movement, the turn of the stitch. I took it up again to comfort myself, but in so doing may have inadvertently given comfort to many fellow commuters. And the reactions of strangers made me realize that I'm creating warm memories for those I love, a comforting thought in times like these.


2003 The Carlisle Mosquito