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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Blanky Memories

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This is a picture of me from 1968, laying on a blanket in the backyard of our house in San Bernardino, California. The quilt on the bottom was made by my maternal grandmother, Mama Dee, just for me. My grandmother has always quilted, piecing together scraps of fabric into bundles of warmth. I always loved that her quilt blocks didn't come from the inside of a fabric store, but from the worn and tattered remnants of clothing and sheets and whatever she could find. She took things that were ready for the trash heap and turned them in to treasured items.

This particular quilt was crafted from one of my mother's childhood dresses. She was about 8 years old when she wore it, and it was her favorite dress. It had a full circle skirt, and when she twirled, it spread out like a ballerina's. The memory of that dress makes my mom smile and re-live that feeling. I just asked her about it again, to make sure I had my facts straight, and she smiled and put her arms out to demonstrate how she had twirled and whirled.

Memory is a powerful thing.

This quilt kept me warm as a child, decorated my room as a teen and adult and had grown tattered around the edges. The binding had long since worn away, the batting was starting to seep out around the edges and I was afraid I was going to lose it. I took it to Mama Dee not long after I married Dr. SmartyPants and she put a new binding on it, from her fabric stash. My boys love the quilt, even with the pink and red flowers, because they know it belonged to me and to my mother and to my grandmother.

Family is a powerful thing.

Mama Dee has made quilts for all her grandchildren and her great grandchildren, including my boys. They have their places of honor on the bed - never going in the closet. They are too precious for that. They pull them out and talk about them and call them their favorites. Of course they are. I have other quilts she has made just for me and I would rather wrap up in them than in all the most precious luxurious fabrics in the world.

Love is a powerful thing.