Spring has sprung into summer here in Georgia, and poppies are popping up in gardens all over Athens.

These vibrant blossoms bring two things to mind:

  1. That trippy scene in “The Wizard of Oz.”
  2. Soldiers.

Poppies became a symbol for remembering soldiers killed in World War I. In Vlanderaan (Flanders Field), Belgium, the disturbance from battle induced poppies to germinate.   John McCrae wrote about these blooms in the poem “In Flanders Field,” and now we pin them to our lapels on Memorial Day to remember all fallen soldiers.

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Poppies growing on the University of Georgia campus.

When Interweave Crochet put out a call for designs incorporating poppies, my mind and heart were with my Uncle Jim.  He was a Vietnam War veteran and had just passed away.  His brother D.J., a Korean War veteran, passed almost 3 years before him.

Jim played guitar and concertina, and the only song we both knew was “House of the Rising Sun.”  Well, that and that goofy booger song.  He was quiet and didn’t talk much.  The last time I spoke to him was the Thanksgiving before he died.  I was living in South Africa and called Mom to see how the big family dinner was going.  She passed the phone around and I was pleasantly surprised when Jim picked up.

With my uncles on my mind, I designed the Perennial Purse.  I’ve been in a mitered Tunisian crochet square phase for a while, and I am particularly fond of the alternating textures forming diagonal stripes in this one.   I folded the square into an envelope to form the purse and added the poppy for a pop of color, naming it “Letter from Vlanderaan.”

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“Perennial Purse” from Interweave Crochet, Spring 2017. (Photo credit: Interweave Crochet/GoodFolk Photography.)

This poppy is my small homage to my uncles and to their service.  Memorial Day purists will point out that my uncles did not fall in battle.  They did indeed survive their wars, but they lost their battles with cancer.  I see those round, red flowers and I think of my love for my departed uncles.

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Jim and D.J

Special thanks and love to cousins Angie Kriz and Denise Willers for providing the photos of Jim and D.J.!

 

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