The blanket is symbolic of one crocheted by my grandmother, Ann L. Johnston (1901–1998) for the birth of her first great grandchild in 1975. Ann was the second youngest of five children and third daughter, born to Swedish immigrant parents who had met and married in San Francisco in 1894. The family was living in San Francisco in 1906 when the city was hit by a severe earthquake that was followed by a devastating fire.
Their home, in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of the city, somehow survived a disaster. The family was offered such a large sum for their still standing home; they couldn’t afford not to sell it. They moved back to Sweden, returning to San Francisco one year later when the city had been rebuilt. The mother, who before her marriage had worked as a maid in the household of a prominent shipping family, insisted on returning to America, because she felt that opportunities for her daughters would be limited if they remained in Sweden.
The crocheted blanket has been enjoyed by Ann’s great grandchildren, Stacy and Ryan Westbrook and now her great great grandson, Carter Westbrook.