Sunday, February 24, 2013

#9 Grandma's Quilts

My story: My grandmother was one of the most incredible women I have ever known. She developed a spunk that I adored after enduring a life of hardship. After surviving a very difficult childhood in the depression, she married my grandfather, who she met at the Ford factory where she worked on the assembly line for over 40 years. He left when my dad was only 8 months old, opting for a homeless, alcoholic life without them. She never received a nickel of child support while raising my dad, all the while being shunned by the small-town folk for being a divorcée. She married again when my dad was 16 to a war veteran with a young son. Even into her 90’s, she lived on a large farm, grew all of her own food, and delighted on making huge meals for her family. She also a most magnificent craftswomen and artist, constantly hand-sewing gorgeous quilts for her family.  Snuggling next to her as she sewed, it is a favorite memory of mine to hear her laugh when she would let me stay up late to watch “Hee Haw” and "the Johnny Carson” show. A lot of the patterns on the quilts are made with scraps of cloth that she also made dresses and aprons for me. I still can picture her delight in watching me wear them.

Her quilts are a comforting and warm remembrance of that time. Precisely six stitches per inch except for her name that she scribbled roughly, exactly as her handwriting. I sometimes catch myself gazing at her signature on these brilliant tapestries, and miss her so much.

The truth: I have only one bed, minimal closet space, and many of these quilts. Most of them, although gorgeous, are not on display because of space constraints. All those hours she spent making them, and they are pitifully folded at the foot of my bed on the floor.

My action: I gave a few of them away to family members who can use them now, instead of waiting for me to die so they can inherit them! I wanted to keep them with the people that can also remember her laugh when they look at her signature. I kept only the ones I will use and rightfully cherish.   

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