By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 28, 2024 at 2:31 PM

Today, Milwaukee is recognized as way more than “the city where ‘Happy Days’ and 'Laverne & Shirley’ took place,” but it will forever be a part of our culture. And I will forever collect random stories about said culture.

Case in point: that time a casual Facebook post led me, within an hour, to have a phone conversation with Gavan O'Herlihy, the actor who played the eldest Cuningham in season 1 of “Happy Days” and then disappeared forever. (I was unknowingly Facebook friends with his nieces and they connected me.)

Last week, I was unexpectedly connected to Judy Graham, a maker living in Los Angeles, Calif. who knit several sweaters for Penny Marshall’s Laverne character that she wore several times on air.

Of course I had to hear more.

“A friend introduced me to a Hollywood costume designer who bought some of my hand-knit sweaters,” says Graham. “Actually both Penny (Marshall) and Cindy (Williams) bought sweaters for their personal use too.”

Graham did not, however, create the famous cursive “L” that adorned all of Laverne’s tops. “The costume department sewed on the ‘L’ after I sent them the sweaters,” she says.

Graham, who is 80, still runs an LA-based business called “Topaz Knitwear.” She continues to make garments for a client who builds costumes for characters at theme parks. She also teaches people to knit through a venture called "Knitting Tips By Judy."

“I started knitting when I was a teenager,” says Graham. “I knit all the time while watching TV or listening to podcasts.”

Graham still has the kitchen stove she purchased with the money she earned from the experience. “I call it my ‘Laverne & Shirley stove’ to this day,” she says.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.