April 19, 2009

Life's Pretty Fragile

As mentioned before, my husband and I took a year's sabbatical to live in Alexandria, Virginia, while he worked at the Dept. of State. While he worked, I tried to revise my grad school novel (pitiful thing), visited museums, walked all the sights that D.C. has to offer, gazed at the monuments and joined a quilt group.

Mount Vernon Quilters became the place for me every Tuesday afternoon. The Bees, where we'd meet and just quilt--always hand piecing or applique--were alternated with our Business Meetings. We were one of eleven chapters of a much larger guild, Quilters Unlimited of Virginia, a group totaling around one thousand members.

However, our chapter was small, and I'd say the average age was retirement, with a few young quilters around the edges. I grew to love them and their interesting meeting snacks and amazingly, they took me in and loved me too. It was very hard to leave that little nest. So, in a way, I didn't. I agreed to serve as Newsletter Editor--but from California--land of the fruits and nuts and machine piecers. Blogs were just starting to come on line at that time, and I set one up for the ladies of Mt. Vernon. It was completely radical--something they really liked--and we became known for our "with-it-ness" all around our greater Virginia Quilters Unlimited Guild.

After two years, Beverly took over. I'd never met her--she joined after I had gone--but I taught everything I knew about blogging. She caught on quickly, asking her son for help when she couldn't figure out long-distance what the heck I meant about copy-paste, or control-C-control-V. She made it her own. When I went back for a visit last year, I met her and her disabled daughter Catherine. Beverly was as sweet in person as she was on the phone.

Catherine died last week, in her sleep.

Her mother had tucked her in under a flannel chenille quilt made by one of the Mt. Vernon quilters, a slight breeze coming in from the window--and turned out the light. But in the morning, Catherine was gone. I wrote to Beverly to express my condolences and she wrote back:

It was so unexpected. Catherine seemed to be thriving--I really thought she'd outlive me. She was a happy young lady that made me smile everyday and never disappointed me. She was totally innocent--I called her the "barometer of good." It will be so difficult as I have wrapped my life around her... it's going to be quite an adjustment. Cath asked for nothing but love, and she got plenty.

So, to help Beverly out, I've picked up the blog for a while, trying to fill her shoes, and probably making a mess while I do it.

Life is pretty fragile. Perhaps we all need a quilt somewhere.

3 comments:

  1. I feel like I have so many things to say!

    Here is what I have settled on: our former mission president's wife was a quilter. She did a presentation for Women's Day about it once and displayed about 20 of her quilts. One was a gift that had been given to her daughter by volunteers from Primary Children's Medical Centre. A child had been killed in a car/bike accident and the quilt was given as a momento. Of all her quilts, it was the least complicated, the most simple, and yet the most important. That is what I thought of when you wrote about Christine being tucked under a quilt made by a group of friends.

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  2. It's amazing how we share our lives in these posts. I started reading your gem and you began with us in one interesting place and took us with you on a deeply productive journey we were lucky enough of share.
    Wow and thanks from Israel,
    Bonnie

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  3. My mom is a quilter and made me a perfect one for Christmas this year. It follows me from room to room. It's like having her hold me. A quilt is part of the people who made it because you know so much love went into it.

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