If These Hands Could Talk: Meet Ellie

If These Hands Could Talk: Meet Ellie

Ellie. Hands with foresight….

If these hands could talk, they’d tell stories of romance, tales of irony and talk about the curse of the hand-me-downs. Ellie began knitting to avoid wearing her sister’s castoffs, which simply “weren’t my style”. As she walked the two miles to school in Salem, Massachusetts in the 1940’s, she passed a storefront where a women’s knitting group met. She decided if she wanted her own style, she’d have to create it herself. And so it began.

Ellie’s knitting led her to a job with the Red Cross for an organization called Bundles for Britain. They sent knitted wares and candy bars that soldiers during World War II actually wore…and ate. When it came time for college, Ellie and her fashionable self headed to Pennsylvania where she met her future husband on a blind date. An MIT student who nearly lost his chance with Ellie after not writing to her for not 5 or 6 days, but 10 days after their first date. When he finally did write, a night at the Pops led to him giving Ellie his fraternity jacket, Ellie knitting him socks, and all was forgiven. The rest is knitted in history and the couple was married.

After moving to Portland Oregon, then California, the couple had two children; “one of each” and Ellie discovered another interest as well. At age 27, she began working in a retirement community. “I knew we needed programs for elders and I thought that someday, these programs might be here for me.” Ironically, Ellie has resided in the Redwoods in Mill Valley for nearly four years. Thank goodness for foresight.

Ellie apparently loves knitting so much; she would do it for free. When her first paycheck arrived to the Redwoods, Ellie had no idea what she was getting paid for. We were more than happy to remind her.

Ellie Liva is 86 years old and has worked as a docent at the Stanford Museum as well as the Cantor Museum. Ellie and her husband have traveled extensively collecting passport stamps from Denmark, Croatia, Scandinavia Turkey, Egypt and Africa followed by a tour of the US by RV. Of course Ellie was impeccably dressed at all stops.

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