Geraldine and Thomas were like peas in a pod. It seemed they’d known each other forever and each cared deeply about the other’s well-being.
They’d made a home for themselves in a tiny apartment in premises alongside an old working woollen mill. The year was 1918 and many people were living hand to mouth in the poverty stricken town.
On frosty mornings the pair of them despaired at the sight of small children without socks, passing by the window.
Thomas had a big heart and was grieved by the plight of the hungry little waifs and strays tramping to the workhouse. Geraldine, a truly simple soul had a brainwave: “Thomas,” she said, “I have an idea.”
Thomas came over queasy: “Lord, give me strength.” He squeaked. “You’re not good at those Geraldine. I haven’t forgotten the last one!”
Geraldine wiggled her nose. A peculiar habit, but she could never think of a smart reply: Listen Thomas,” she reasoned. “There are yards of yarn in the mill next door. What do think about us borrowing some? We could set to and we could …”
“WHOA,” cut in Thomas with his most stern expression. “Geraldine, that’s stealing and you know it is!” Geraldine slunk into a corner of the bedroom to sulk.
Ten minutes of silence later, Thomas stroked his greying whiskers and declared: “Geraldine, you’ll be the death of me! C’mon then, let’s go.”
Geraldine cheered a little. Her brain didn’t wave often, but the plight of those sockless youngsters trailing to the work-house for a bowl of gruel pricked her conscience. She and Thomas were as poor as church mice, but they were warm and cosy and always found sufficient to eat.
The waste from the spinning looms was minimal but the children’s feet were small. Suddenly, with insight and grand aplomb, Thomas uttered a profound statement:
“THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!”
So he and Geraldine called round at the houses of family and close friends enlisting all available help. Before long, the discarded strands of yarn were stacked in neat piles in the living space of the apartment in the old mill-house.
Hour after hour, in good will and faith, the family of helpers busied themselves with the task in hand. Differing coloured strands of yarn were carefully woven into socks of all miss-shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of thickness and flimsiness.
A thriving cottage industry was born out of love, compassion and a simple mind.
The following morning, the goods were laid in fluffy bundles of multi-coloured surprises on the cobbled street. Astonished children squealed in delight as they pulled soft, woolly socks over tiny blue toes.
Twitching whiskers of jubilation, Geraldine and Thomas tenderly touched noses as they snuggled up together for the winter - in their mouse hole, in the house, by the old working mill!
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