Monday, January 18, 2010
Imogene's quilt stories
What I gained was much more than the story of that quilt (which we'll save for another day). Imogene was the classic comforting grandma, with a sweet smile and twinkling eyes. She fed us cinnamon rolls. We got out the quilt and then the stories rolled out.
Imogene remembered the dust storms in the 30s, when they put sheets on the windows to keep the dust out. She said it was awful. She wondered if there was dust in the quilt from then.
And she told me fun things about herself. “I like things,” Imogene said. (I do too.)
Imogene remembered their house had a full basement and her mother had a frame set up there for quilting. She remembers always liking crafts (“I like to be busy”). And she remembered her mother saying, “That’s enough for today” when they were quilting together. Imogene wonders if that was a polite way of stopping when her mother noticed poor stitching on her part.
She recalled her mother making crazy quilts for daily use. One was made in corduroy. She said her mother Birdie would piece scraps into blocks, “She saved every little scrap.”
Birdie made lots of quilts, pieced by hand. For the “ever-day ones”, she used flannels. They made dresses with matching aprons from feedsacks, also underpants and dishtowels. “My mother made everything out of them.”
I took notes of our visit and gave a copy to Imogene. I know they made her happy, seeing her memories saved on paper for the future. And I gained so much too, getting to hear her quilt stories firsthand.
If you know someone who has a story to tell you, take the time to write it down. Imogene passed away last week (she was 89) and I am so glad we saved some of her stories that afternoon.