Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Textiles and Memory


Good morning!

One of my oldest friend's mother lived in a retirement community about 90 minutes away.  I would often visit with my friend when she would go see her mother (who has now moved close by).  The retirement community was beautiful and one day, Caroline--my friend's mom--arranged for us to meet her friend Anne who also lived there.  

Anne was a treat!  She was a quilter and quilt collector and often lectured at nearby senior facilities on quilt history.  Caroline knew I would enjoy meeting a kindred spirit and we spent a lovely afternoon chatting about quilts and speaking engagements.

But one of the stories that Anne told us was unforgettable.  When she showed my a 1930s quilt, she said, "I have to tell you the story about this quilt."

Anne had lifted up the quilt while lecturing and was discussing The Depression when an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to her and yelled, "That's my quilt," and started yanking the quilt from Anne.  The interaction quickly became an incident and staff had to forcibly wheel the woman (still yelling, "that's my quilt!" out of the room).

It clearly had shook up Anne who in her late 70s.  I never forgot this story because often when we purchase old quilts, we often don't know the provenance of the textile.

But also so many quilts in a specific era can resemble each other.

Anne's experience was one that every quilt collector fears.  Textiles like fragrance and music can elicit strong memories.  Years ago, there was a quilt challenge that I think was on the Quilt History List.  The challenge was to create a quilt about one's first textile memory.  I've written about this before (here and here).

There are a lot of articles about textiles and memories, one of my favorite (unrelated to quilts) is here.

The pieces I've been working on the last two weeks are part of this genre.  I'll explain more tomorrow.

Have a safe and happy day!

1 comment:

  1. What a sad story. :( I know that older folks can get quite upset (I'm sure my day is coming) and it's so sad that she wanted "her" quilt back.