Monday, September 1, 2008

My Show and Tell Quilt--Carnival of Genealogy

Taking a break here to show off the item I chose to bring to the Carnival of Genealogy's "Show and Tell." I always loved show and tell at school and could never decide which of my treasures to share. Still can't. So I hope we do this one again.

When my Patriarchal Grandmother Hortense Carpenter died, she left instructions that each of her grandchildren should receive a quilt that she had sewn. She had made many beautiful quilts that were distributed to her 11 grandchildren. All except me--the oldest grandchild. Somehow (and after a certain relative took a couple of extra quilts) all of the grandchildren got one but there wasn't one left for me. I wasn't really upset about it, I had inherited several things from my grandmother, but my mother was really frustrated that I hadn't received one of my grandmother's beautiful handcrafted quilts.
Grandma died in 1991. In 1996, my mother was at the family condo and looking at one of the beds, realized that there was one more of my grandmother's quilts that had been overlooked and was being used as a bedspread there. She snatched it for me and brought it home to give to me. In the days before she could give it to me, I suffered the miscarriage of my first pregnancy, a pregnancy we had been waiting and hoping for for a long time. My mother gave me the twin size, thick, warm, corduroy log cabin style quilt the day after we found out that the baby had no heartbeat. Over the next couple of days, following surgery and through intense emotional despair, I had this quilt wrapped around me constantly. My hormones were adjusting and I was freezing cold for several days, so even at work, I kept this quilt around me. It was like a huge warm hug from my grandmother.

Several years later, I discovered a picture of me and my grandmother while she was working on this quilt. It was Christmas 1974 and Grandma had made one of those typical scrumptious Christmas dinners. Grandma was a retired home economics teacher and there was nothing domestic that she didn't do perfectly. My sister and I played under most of the quilts Grandma had stretched out on the quilting frames. I remember building wonderful forts and playing with our dolls in our own little world under there. And eventually she taught us to quilt. I have one of her sewing machines and I have made several quilts on my own quilting frames.

More recently, as my wonderful children arrived, and grew big enough to understand, I have wrapped them in this quilt, and told them about how much I wanted and waited for them, and how much I loved my grandmother. As we have cuddled under this quilt, they have learned of her sewing talents, but also of her adoration of me, the long walks we had in the mountains near her home and how she taught me the names of all the wildflowers there, and many other things I loved about her. I miss my Grandmother but I am thankful my children and I can have a hug from her any time.


moo... said...

what a beautiful, bittersweet story. thanks.

Janet Iles said...

Thanks for sharing your story about the quilt. I am glad you finally received a quilt that your grandmother had lovingly made and tht you received those hugs from her when you wrapped it around yourself.