I don’t have much that belonged to my grandmother but one of the things I did manage to
procure was a patchwork quilt that she made long after her skills at sewing had expired. It is a
valued prize for me and reminds me of her every time I see it.
My grandmother was a tiny woman and had her clothes made by my seamstress aunt. Being
frugal, she always kept the scraps of dress fabric and made quilts from them. She was born and
raised in a time when nothing was wasted, and she had a large family. She did her part to
provide warmth and a loving home.
What makes this quilt so absolutely special is that it is one of the last things she made. Her eyes
were failing, and her fingers were less nimble. The stitches are incredibly large, for a quilter.
The lines are not all straight. The colors don’t match perfectly. But it was assembled with love
and with the scraps of the last dresses she had made.
I remember those dresses. I look at the quilt and see my grandmother wearing one of them as
she works in the kitchen, helping to prepare a meal. I see her in a purple plaid summer dress,
sitting in her rocking chair, peeling an apple so closely you can almost read through the skin.
She ate a large red apple every day. She lived to be 88.
The black crepe, perhaps not so suitable for quilting but beautiful anyway, reminds me of her
more formal attire. She dressed to go to the store. She would not have been caught dead in
pants! And she would be appalled by today’s fashions.
My grandmother was a Southerner who never went outside without her bonnet, gloves, and long sleeves.
I often wondered how she kept from having a heat stroke but her clear skin was worth the
discomfort of being hot.
I never heard her raise her voice, though she had five boys and three girls. She walked off her
headaches and her anger. I wish I had learned that trick. She had many talents I was too young to appreciate until it was too late. She could play the hammered dulcimer and the pump organ. She made Irish lace. And she could cook!
This quilt will mean nothing to those who come after me. My children did not know their great
grandmother. They will have no association with her and the dresses and the quilt. But I do and,
while it is mine, I will cherish it as if it were a precious treasure. For that it is. At least, to me.
What is your most precious keepsake?