After attending our OCC shoebox campaign launch a couple of weeks ago, Mr Puppet Lady decided that we should to 'do a shoebox'. Now it is probably the case that many of the shoeboxes donated in the course of the campaign will have some special story or significance for both the donor and, more importantly, the recipient. Here is the story of our shoebox, and it's special significance for me.
First you have to cover your shoebox. No, wait a minute. First you have to find a shoebox big enough to fit all your stuff into. This was actually the third one I'd covered, after the first two proved to be too small. (Never mind, we'll use them in the warehouse - I'm getting very well practiced at covering shoeboxes at the moment.)
There, done. I've taken to using glue instead of sellotape - I find it easier and quicker.
Then start filling it with some paper, a little notebook, crayons and a homemade knitted pencil case, full of pencils, pens, pencil sharpener and ruler.
Then add some toys - our box is for a 5-9 year-old boy.
Add some toiletries - soap, flannel, toothbrush and toothpaste.
The knitted teddy bear puppet - number 102 this year - and the knitted snake were specially made by yours truly for this special box.
A warm hat and mittens.
And still there's some room in the box for a very special scarf.
This bag of knitting had been lying in a drawer for nearly three years.
Inside it were the beginnings of a knitted scarf. Three years ago, my mother was in hospital for a long period. She was 90 years old and becoming very frail. She had always been a keen knitter, and had passed this on to me as a child, an interest which, as you know, remains with me to this day. She was obviously very bored and unstimulated in hospital, and I tried to spark her interest by giving her a simple scarf to knit. Indeed, on her better days, she did manage to knit a few rows, but sadly she never finished the scarf. She passed away, by this time in a comfortable nursing home, a couple of months later. When I was clearing out her belongings, I found the bag of knitting and put it away in a drawer. Several times over the last three years I have looked in the bag and wondered what to do with the partially finished scarf. I was never quite able to do anything with it. Until now. Now I decided that the time was right to bring it out, finish it off and put it into our shoebox to bring some comfort and happiness to a needy child. Mum would have liked that, very much, I know. She herself used to knit for charity, and made dozens of 'teddies for tragedies' when in her eighties. Indeed, I am still using bits of wool from her stash!
As there was not enough of the original wool left, I added some extra stripy bits on the ends. (The cream wool was from mum's stash too.)
And here it is, my Mum's and my scarf for our shoebox. This, for me, is what makes our shoebox so special.
So all that remained was to make our on-line donation, and write the reference number on the form, and add the label to the box.
So here it is, our very special shoebox, ready to take to the warehouse tomorrow as our shoebox campaign continues.