The Remembering Quilt

“Where’s my quilt?” Eighty-two year old Paula asked her daughter.

Betty got up from her sewing, “I don’t know.” She walked into her bedroom and took the quilt from the foot of her bed to her mother, “Why don’t you use this one?”

“That’s not my quilt.” Paula insisted.

Betty sighed; she knew which quilt her mother wanted. When Betty first entered the quilting world she’d made a simple patchwork quilt, with the patches being various sizes and coming from clothing in the family. She’d used flannel for both the backing and the batting and tied it. Over forty years old, the quilt was ragged and worn, but still her mother’s first choice.

“Ok, I’ll help you look.” After scouring the house, she found the quilt inside a pillow case tucked away in the linen closet.

“What’s it doing in there?” Paula asked.

“I don’t know Mom. I guess you put it there.”

“I know I did, but why?”

“I don’t know Mom. But you have it now. Do you want to lie down and rest for a bit?”

Paula made a face at her daughter, “Yes. Why do you think I wanted my quilt?”

Betty just shook her head and spread the quilt out for her mom.

Paula looked from the quilt to her daughter with a quizzical expression, “why did I forget where I put my quilt? And why did I put it in a pillowcase?”

Betty gave her mom a hug. “Mom, sometimes your brain just doesn’t remember some things. It’s okay.” She smiled at her mom, “and you did remember that quilts could be placed in a pillowcase to keep them clean and safe.”

Her mother nodded. “I know that’s how to store a quilt. But why would I store mine? I use it every day. I should remember things. They’re important.”

“If you could you would, it’s not your fault.”

“I remember these.” She pointed to the patches on the quilt.

Betty smiled. “You do?” She’d often wondered why her mother preferred this ragged and worn quilt to any of the newer ones she’d made.

Her mother pointed out a couple of the patches and told Betty little anecdotes about them. After a few minutes she tired herself and settled down to sleep.

Betty tucked the quilt around her mother and left the room. She smiled to herself, glad her mother had something that helped her keep her slippery hold on to the past.


6 thoughts on “The Remembering Quilt

  1. Sue Watson

    There’s a children’s book about a quilt. I want to say the name of it was “The Remembering Quilt”. I used it to teach my 4th graders about slavery. It is based on a true story about how a quilt was sewn as a map to freedom. I also seem to remember that escaped slaves were to look for
    a quilt hanging on the clothesline of members of the underground railroad. If the quilt was on the line, it was safe to come up to the farmhouse. If the quilt was not on the line, they were to stay hidden in the woods because it wasn’t safe to come in. I liked your post. My grandmother made quilts out of clothes that had worn out or were outgrown. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Nita Post author

      Sue, Thanks for stopping. I’ll have to try to find the children’s book. There is some controversy over whether or not there was such a thing as a quilt map. I love the idea, true or not, it’s both a good story, and a great teaching tool. My father, thought all quilts had to be made with leftover fabric or outgrown clothes. Cutting up a piece of fabric to sew it back together didn’t make sense to him. 🙂

  2. Sharon Ervin

    Great story and familiar. My grandmother belonged to a quilting group in Martha, Oklahoma. She went every week. Looking at one of those quilts, she could remember people, personalities, conversations and events of the day. The hand-me-downs I have prompt my own memories of Mama Jewel and her colorful friends. Some of those memories are 50 years old. Wow! Her heart died 35 years ago, yet the beat goes on, recognizable in me and my children and their children. A glance at a raggedy old quilt brings a flood of memories. Delightful.

    1. Nita Post author

      Sharon, Thanks for taking time to stop and comment. Love your memories of Mama Jewel, and yes, the beat goes on, or the thread continues. 🙂

  3. Starla Criser

    I spotted your message about quilts and had to check it out. I, too, am a writer, mom, and quilter. But I make art quilts, small projects that I can finish in my limited time and that mean something to me. Some of them can be seen on my website. (In case you’re curious)

    1. Nita Post author

      Starla, welcome, I’m glad you came to check me out. I don’t normally do art quilts, for a couple of reasons. However, after looking at some of yours, I may change my mind. A set of placemats can be small art quilts, right? Thanks for stopping, come by anytime.


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