Tuesday, August 5, 2008

From Humble beginnings....

This is the story of how a humble quilt initiated a lifelong love of the art of quilting.

When I was a child I lived in a very, shall we say, 'economically challenged' neighborhood in Michigan.

My home from the ages of 5 to 9 (the longest stretch I ever lived in one place growing up) was on a dirt road outside of Lansing. My hometown was small, and really of no consequence. However, it did make national news when the high school was the first in the country to offer extra-credit to students for enrolling in an after school drug and alcohol rehabilitation/counseling program.

I had moved on before reaching high school. But this gives you an idea about the area.

We lived in a small 800 square foot house. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and one large room that consisted of the living room, dining room and kitchen all in one.

There was no central heating, just one vent that was located next to the bathroom. Our insulation was so bad that during the long winters the snow that gathered on our roof would melt and refreeze as icicles that hung off our eaves. By the time my father would return home after working all week in Holland, Michigan the icicles had grown to form an ice sheet from the roof to the ground.

I thought it was the neatest thing to look out our living room window and not be able to see anything at all but the ice that had formed from our roof.

As a child I didn't understand that it wasn't a good thing. What I remember most vividly about those winters was the bone-deep chill, that you could never escape from.

The only time I was ever warm, was on the rare occaisions my parents would allow me to snuggle up under the quilt in their room. It was the one warm blanket we had. I thought that quilt was the most wonderful, beautiful thing we owned.
My child's eye saw the blue velvet squares as elegant and rich. I still own that quilt. It's quite threadbare. And it's not even close to a work of art, or difficult in stitching or pattern.

But when I think on my history, it is no wonder that as an adult I have become a quilter. And indeed, during lifes ups and downs it is during the times deep in the valley that I am compelled more than ever to make wonderful, beautiful "blankets".

My children will never know what it's like to be unable to find warmth in their own home, but still they love their quilts for their own reasons.

4 comments:

Sunny said...

That is a wonderful memory. Thank you for sharing this story. I grew up financially challenged. My dad was military and we move a bit. My motner and father divorced, them my ma moved us across country. Money was very scarce in a single parent family at the time. We never seem to have many blankets. We were give one and had to make it last for ever. They were cheap nasty blankets that were not warm and very scratchy. As an adult I think I have some kind of blanket fetish. I make all kinds. Quilts being my most favorite. I have lots of types and colors and sizes. My hubby makes fun of me all the time. But what can I say. Take care.

Helen in the UK said...

What a lovely story. How wonderful that you still have the original quilt and have now learned to make quilts yourself and continue the family tradition :)

eileen said...

This is my first visit. And I'll be back many times more. This was a really beautiful story. I'm glad you commented on my blog so I could find you.

Sue said...

Lovely story and it's even nicer that you still have that first quilt. Thanks for visiting my blog.