Friday, May 1, 2015

Quilt Story from Paducah

     Quiltweek Thurday night in Paducah, the Broadway Methodist Church had a dinner they called fine dining. Was it ever. Cloth tablecloths and napkins, beautiful china, flowers, and such awesome food. They use this as a fundraiser. The whole hall was draped with antique quilts. We had a chicken breast stuffed with cranberries and a chardonnay sauce, green beans wrapped in bundles with bacon and baked, roasted different colored potatoes, homemade rolls, and the most exquisite chocolate pie I ever had. We had to try hard to mind our manners as we wanted to pick up the plates and lick them. Unbelievable. 
Quilts made for the church

    After the dinner, they held a story time about quilts hung in their sanctuary that evening. One man told most of the stories, except for this quilt below- a narrow quilt made for a Graham double bed. One very frail elderly lady came to the microphone. She said her kids would kill her if they knew she was out. She said she was compelled to tell its story. She was not a quilter. 
    She first told how her husband and her had attended the church for many years- from the destructive flood in 1937 to the opening of a plant in town in 1951 that brought in such an influx of people that the infrastructure couldn't handle it. (I looked it up later, it was a uranium enrichment plant- Yikes!). After attending services Sunday morning, her husband would travel to country churches Sunday evenings where they held big suppers and sold quilts to raise money. Her husband loved quilts and bought them. They had chests of quilts. She mentioned a Graham bed they had which was narrower than most. (I have not been able to find any info on them or a photo).
    When he became very ill, he asked his wife to get this quilt out of the chests and put it on their bed. It is not a masterpiece quilt or anything the Quilt Museum would keep. It is a humble fabric quilt made lovingly by someone to fit a particular bed. He slept clutching it tightly. When he became so ill that Hospice was called in and had a Hospice bed in the living room, he insisted that quilt be with him all the time. One night, the nurse woke the woman and she went to see her husband, who had just passed away, comfortably tucked in this quilt. Kleenex time. She was so determined to tell us all this story and I saw the relief on her face when she was done.
    Really, this to me is what quilts are about, what inspires me. They are a personal hug. I will never make it in a big quilt show, but I am privileged beyond measure to have had cancer patients find comfort in the bits of cloth I put together for them.  I made quilts for all my family. As much as I love art quilts and such, this story is my homebase for quilting.
    I have a couple of story quilts of my own made by my mother in law. Sometime, I will share their stories.

The quilt for a Graham narrow double bed


Kevin the Quilter said...

What an absolutely moving story! I will definitely have to go to this church next year! Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

Sweet story