I was thinking about relatives of mine and women I’d never met the other day.
Specifically I was thinking about my Great-Great-Grandmother Betsy Amelia and her friends.
Sometime around 1892 she and her friends made a Crazy Quilt. There are many quilts in the family trunks, but this one has always been my favorite.
Part of the appeal is the quilt itself, I love to search for all the different embroidery stitches that dance over the many fancy fabrics. But the real draw is the hidden stories.When I see an old quilt or other handmade item, I wonder about the person who made it. There are always stories hiding within things if you can find them. A quilt like this sets my over-active imagination wild. Not only was it made by many hands but those hands purposefully left their own marks on it.
Who were these women who left their initials behind in so many colors and styles? Where did all those fabric pieces come from?Who did the painting?
Why did my great-great-grandma take the quilt home when it was done? Did they make one for everyone?
So many questions.
It was over a hundred years ago and her life, their lives, were likely much different than mine. But the big question that always sticks in my mind is, once they all sat down together, was the substance of their conversations really that much different than when my friends and I gather for a book club? I like to imagine that they talked about babies and husbands and friends and families just like we do. And for all that the world has changed in the years since, I find that thread of conversation that weaves us together to be more important than the rest of it after all.