Monday, May 23, 2011

The Quilt

When my oldest brother married his sweetheart 34 years ago my Aunt J & cousin LF came up with a brilliant idea.  (OK I'm not sure who thought of it and I think cousin LF did the first few?!)  A few months before the wedding, each family member on the Groom's side received some cloth squares in the mail with instructions to 1) sign your name in cursive on the square - legibly please - and return to Cousin/Aunt and 2) DON'T MENTION THIS TO THE GROOM/BRIDE.

On the eve of the wedding, Aunt & family showed up from far away in middle America with The Wedding Gift:  a beautiful handmade quilt with all the signatures of the family embroidered (quilted?  Hell IDK.  We've already established I am NOT craft-abled!).  Included in the quilting was also the wedding day and the place.  A priceless gift.  We all cried.

Thus the tradition began of The Wedding Quilt.

Again the benefits of being the Baby - by the time my wedding rolled around, it was no longer a surprise, so I got to choose my colors.  And no, it wasn't Pink.  My all time favorite color is still blue.

But I had to wonder - Grandma and Pop had long since passed - would they be missing on my quilt?

Nooooo, they would not be missing.  My Aunt thought ahead and had them sign enough squares for all of us.  See?  There they are!!!

 Even though I knew it was coming, I still was beside myself when it actually arrived.  It is a work of art.

No, we never actually used the quilt - but we painstakingly put it on the bed every morning and folded it up every night and put it on the quilt rack.

Until the Divorce.  Who wants a Wedding Quilt with his name on it??!!

I mentioned this once and JO said, "I bet a certain sister-in-law of mine could fix that." 

On one of DF's trips through town, I mentioned it to him.  He had my kids sign squares (and my new sister-in-law who replaced a certain not-very-well-liked SIL also signed one) and took the quilt and the squares home to his bride.

I had kind of forgotten about it - I think it might have been last year? 

On his latest trip up north, DF said, "Hey come out the car - I have to get something."

And there it was - THE QUILT.

Except now?  My kids are on the quilt - with the thread and the stitching and the signature sizes exactly matching those in the same row (the miracle of computers or so DF tells me).

AND my "new" SIL is also on the quilt, replacing the rather nasty previous name.

I was so happy and so sad and so overcome, all at the same time.  I truly have an amazing, loving and supportive family - yes and then I cried.

Sadly, my Aunt and my Cousin are no longer with us, but I think they would approve of the alterations.  The Quilt is back on my bed, bringing joy to my every day, just as they intended.  And their signatures, below.

And JO I still love the message you left on my quilt!!  (I can't figure out how to turn the photo)

I also love the handprint of the niece who was too young sign. 

And somehow, Stinky Butt has figured out that THIS Quilt is not to be jumped on or burrowed under!


Busy Bee Suz said...

This is so beautiful; what a treasure.
Did you hear me gasp when I saw the signatures of your Pop and Grandma? Yes, a big ol' gasp and a tear too.
Love this. I know you will always keep it close to your heart.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love quilts, so I love this one especially!

My daughter has one that an aunt made out of pieces of the cousins' old jeans, also signed. It's very cool.

JO said...

In all things you do, I will ALWAYS tell ya "WAY TO GO CUZ!!". Because YOU rock. Love this post....glad the quilt is back safely in your hands.

Gigi said...

What a beautiful tradition! Makes me (almost) want to take up quilting (nah, that'll never happen).

You have yourself a true family heirloom there.

Jason, as himself said...

Wow, what a great tradition and story.

dkuroiwa said...

what a wonderful family tradition. the art of quilting is still alive...and that is so nice to hear. i have such memories from when i was very little, of playing under the quilting rack while my mom and the ladies at the church worked on a quilt.
i understand the feeling that comes with something like SIL (who i love dearly!) made us kids quilts out of daddy's jeans....some of the squares even have the creases from years of being sent to the cleaners and pressed.
treasures that warm your heart and soul AND your body are the best kind.