I don’t let too much interfere with what I think of as my crochet groove, but before I learned to crochet, I was an avid true crime reader.
My habit began in the early 1980s when I still lived in Woodland, a town located in the Central Valley of California, just east of the state capital, Sacramento. It was the town where I had grown up and where two of my children were born.
It was also one the periphery of a number of well-known crimes and crime sprees.
There was the sad and scary case of John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves, two UC Davis students kidnapped and killed in December of 1980.
There was Dorthea Puente, a nearby and prolific poisoner who ran a boarding house in downtown Sacramento where a number of residents who were addicted and otherwise down on their luck found a place to live, and sadly, a place to die.
And then there was the East Area Rapist.
The neighborhoods where he committed his crimes from June 1976 to early 1978 were in areas of Sacramento that had high schools that were in the Delta League, the same athletic league the high school I attended was in.
The East Area Rapist was not some remote boogey man sneaking up on people while they slept and then waking them to commit his crimes; he was an almost local boogeyman sneaking up on people while they slept and then waking them to commit his crimes.
Then he moved west, committing three rapes in Davis, another Delta League town — this one even closer to the town I called home — and then he turned south, eventually making his way down the state where he committed more crimes that were even more awful.
So yesterday morning, when I awoke to the news that the East Area Rapist was in custody and that there would be a news conference at 3:00 pm EDT, I knew what I was going to be doing at three o’clock.
While I waited for the appointed hour, I worked on my downsizing. I sorted though a box of papers, I vacuumed dog and cat hair from the sofa, and when clock struck three, I sat at my computer and waited for the press conference.
While the prosector laid out the case they had against their suspect, I listened intently. After the press conference was over, I found websites devoted to detailing the crimes in an effort to find the man who had eluded justice for so long. However much I read about his capture and the crimes related to him, I was left feeling that I needed to read just one more article, that buried somewhere in the text would be something that could explain why he did what he did. But there wasn’t.
So today, when the temptation to read about every atrocity he committed loomed large, I did what I could to avoid giving in to that temptation, and I cleaned house.
I did laundry, I sorted through another box, I swept and then swept some more, and then finally, I sat down with my crochet. I had managed to misplace one of four crochet squares for a four-patch of grannies, so I focused my efforts on the second nine-patch of crochet remnants to be rehabbed and got to work.
My progress was modest, but it was progress:
And while I have (for the time being) misplaced one crochet square that is a central part of one rehab I am working on, I did find these candidates for a third nine-patch of five-inch granny squares:
As I worked on the squares today, I thought of all of the lives that this one man had disrupted, both those of his victims and the people who loved them, and I was grateful that I had a crochet groove into which I could retreat, moving forward, one stitch at a time.