I am a collector of memories…I have boxes and boxes of memorabilia from my childhood, my high school years, college years, and our marriage. I do try to be selective and not keep “everything” but I’m sure there are things I keep that many would discard.
There are some things that seem to instantly bring back memories. Maybe it’s the smell of fresh baked bread or chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. Or maybe it’s certain ornaments placed on the Christmas tree or a certain song that we hear.
One thing that instantly brings back many memories from my childhood is the sight of needle and thread. You see, both my mother and grandmother were very accomplished seamstresses who didn’t go many days without picking up a dress pattern or a button or a basket of scraps and begin to stitch away. My mother worked full time, but she also sewed for the public to help make ends meet, as well as make just about all hers and my clothes. She also spent many, many hours making dance costumes for me and other girls in my dance group. I honestly don’t know how she managed it all because each and every sequin and seed pearl were sewn on by hand!
My grandmother in her latter years mostly sewed quilts. She made MANY through the years and never once did she use a sewing machine…everything was hand stitched. I was recently going through some stored-away linens and came across the last quilt I believe my Granny ever made…and it was made especially for me. It’s what would be called a CRAZY QUILT since there is no real pattern. Granny wasn’t much on patterned quilts…she just sewed together what she had. She would use leftover scraps from my mother’s many sewing projects as well as scraps from old clothes. This quilt is not the prettiest Granny ever made…after all she was in her 90s at the time…but so many patches I recognize and could tell you the stories behind them.
My Sweet Granny
As I was looking at my Crazy Quilt and thinking about my Granny, I couldn’t help but think that life is really a lot like a patchwork quilt. Each quilt is made up of a kaleidoscope of brightly colored fabric patches sewn together in a special way, just like our life is sewn together with our individual experiences, dreams, and memories. And just like each patch is a unique part of the whole, each of our lives also has a special place in the scheme of God’s creation. One patch can’t make a quilt…it takes all the patches together to make something beautiful. If only all lives could come together in a beautiful pattern….all colors, all patterns, all shapes…working together to make a beautiful quilt of love and kindness. Oh how beautiful the world would be!
Another memory brought to mind by quilts is also from my childhood. Since my mother worked, I would often stay with my other grandmother (also called Granny). She lived in a very old house that was heated with gas space heaters. Not the best source of heat in the world! My mother would drop me off early in the morning and on cold days Granny would quickly tuck me into her still unmade bed that she had waiting for me. She would then smother me in homemade quilts. Sometimes I could barely move there were so many, but oh how very warm and cozy! I guess it’s not surprising that whenever I see a quilt I think of Grannies and love.
I’m sure some people still decorate with handmade quilts, but probably not as many as in years past. Instead we buy lovely bedspreads or comforters that were stitched by a machine in a factory by a worker who probably was only trying to meet a quota. Those bedcoverings might be beautiful and every stitch might be perfect, but one thing they are lacking…love in every stitch. Snuggling with a quilt made by your Granny from scraps sometimes precious to come by and knowing that every stitch was painstakingly placed is priceless. I no longer have my Grannies but I do have their quilts. In fact, I think I’ll go find one now and snuggle for awhile and let the memories warm my heart and soul.