Gradually, she began making more for birthdays and other gifts as needed. Then she started teaching the nursery-aged Sunday School class at her church about 30 years ago. She started making sock monkeys to give to her students on their birthdays, and continued this for as long as she taught the class.
Maust said she’s not sure how many monkeys she has made over the years, but estimates that it is somewhere between 400 and 500.
“I don’t know how many I made each year,” she said. “I know one year I made 80, when I gave each of my children and grandchildren one for Christmas, but that’s been a good many years ago now.”
She has been trying to make one for each great-grandchild when they turn 2 (which included three last month.)
The current count is nine children, 36 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, with three more on the way.
Maust and her husband, Elmer, were married 47 years before he died in March 2002.
In the early days, she bought the socks locally, but then wasn’t able to find them at stores. She used regular socks that didn’t have the red heels for awhile until she was able to get them again. Today, she buys them by the box online.
“Sometimes I just got socks that were brown or gray or something that would look nice for a monkey,” she said. “I like these better because it’s what they were intended for.”
She said she doesn’t feel bad about cutting the socks up to make monkeys for children.
“I still get a lot of socks and give them to organizations when they need them,” she said.
Maust slowed down on the sock monkey making during some years, especially when she was busy with Garrett County Hospice, working as the volunteer coordinator.
Now 86, Maust went through some changes in her life in the last two years. It began with a knee replacement in July 2019.
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