Friday, October 30, 2009

My patchwork quilt

There is a story in each square of fabric. Pappa's soft gray flannel pants, Aunt Phoebe's favorite blue blouse, little Teddy's plaid knickers with the knees worn clear through, and Grandpa's old flannel shirt. Not my Grandpa, but someone's. The quilt passed to me from a stranger, it's story unspoken and unknown.

Each piece sewn to it's neighbor, by hand. By whom? Were they young nimble fingers or were they crooked and stiff? Did she sit in the lamp light in the quiet evening the rest of the house asleep and her work done? Was the quilt a gift to a daughter leaving home? Taking with her the memories of family who wore these garments and of the mother who turned discarded clothing into something new and beautiful.

How many shoulders did this quilt warm? Did it rest at the bottom of a narrow bed? Was it spread on a sunny summers field for a picnic? I don't know. What I do know is joy and warmth with this quilt on my lap as I gently add patches of my own, mending and healing the weakened cloth and loosened stitches of a lifetime.