Tuesday, November 06, 2012

MY ARGYLE SOCKS CAPER, 1951


In 1951 I was in my freshman year at Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey. I was lucky enough to have received a scholarship so tuition was paid but I still needed “spending” money.

I secured a part-time waitress job in the local “greasy spoon”. It was mainly frequented by students so you can imagine how sparse the tips were...but, I loved the ambience. It was a great place to meet the athletes and the upper-class guys and the music played non-stop from the Juke Box.

I was pretty frugal and I did save what little money I could, but it was becoming apparent that I’d need another job if I ever wanted to get ahead. It was at this point that I met a wonderful “older” student named Larry who was in college with the aid of the GI Bill. He ate most of his meals where I worked and he and I became friends.

He was a fairly sloppy dresser, as most of the returning GI’s were, but he took great pride in his colorful Argyle socks. We used to kid him about them, especially when he told us that they were hand-made by his mother. But, he didn’t care. He loved them and showed them off whenever he had the chance.

Now, Larry was very popular and I noticed that a bunch of the guys were eyeing those socks and one even had the nerve to ask him if his mother would knit a pair for him. Suddenly a light bulb went off in my head. I could knit those socks ! I had done a lot of knitting in High School and all I needed was the wool and the needles. I talked it over with Larry and he was happy to be my agent. We decided on a price ($6 a pair being my portion) and before I knew it I had orders for over 10 pairs of socks. I used my meager savings to buy the materials and I was off and running.

This really turned into a very lucrative little business for me and I had Larry to thank for that. We never actually dated but he did tell his mother about me and when she came to visit we all went out for dinner. She wanted to meet and exchange patterns with the girl of the “Argyle Socks Caper”, as her son had so aptly named it.

Two years later I transferred to Boston University and had to give up my business. No one was the least bit interested in argyle socks … I should have persuaded Larry to transfer with me !!

13 Comments:

Blogger kenju said...

It is too bad that mr. kenju didn't know you then, as he would have been your best customer. He still like argyle socks, and they are getting harder to find. Brooks Bros. sometimes has them.

4:18 PM  
Blogger joared said...

That's pretty neat!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

This ia a great story Ginnie! I wonder, could you still make them today? I'm looking through my crochet patterns for men's socks. Warm one's to wear around the house. I've crocheted everything but socks so this will be a new experience for me. Love Di ♥

4:55 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That was a pretty good haul for a pair of socks in those days.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

You are so clever. Lately, I have been crocheting again. I never could get the knack of knitting, although I tried. Dianne

8:29 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

I am such a sock lover. I'm also a knitter but interestingly enough I've never knitted socks. I've heard too many horror stories about "turning the heel" so I just keep on buying them.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

You know what is the best part that I liked? "music played non-stop from the Juke Box"
What better ambience to work with.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Oh, how I wish I was this enterprising in college! I found you searching for the term city slicker in the 1940s, and am so glad. You write beautifully.

1:51 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

American free enterprise at its very best. I love it....

9:07 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Well good for you!
Someone made me a pair of socks a few years ago - they are treasures! No, they were not argyle, but rows of colors mixed together. So cool!

4:57 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

My brother-in-law emailed this to me.
"--peg knitted a few pairs for me--I'm sure they cost me more than 6 bucks"

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To knit socks, in my mind, takes the patience of a saint. Good for you!
Cop Car

1:27 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

Nice, Ginnie. You were a young entrepreneur. My mother knit me a pair of solid socks for wearing on the water. I still have them.

5:32 PM  

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