Monday, April 30, 2012

Finally Finished...... 50 Years Later

My grandmother, Oney Lillian Adams, married my grandfather, Leander C. Coburn, on May 1, 1917. My grandfather, who was 16 years older than my grandmother, had already been married once before but his wife had passed away leaving him with 7 children to raise on his own. After meeting and marrying my grandmother the two had 11 children of their own. My grandmother obviously did not have time to work outside the home but she did in fact, work incredibly hard inside the home. Not only was she responsible to feed and clothe her large brood of kids but she was also responsible to do that task on the small salary that my grandfather brought home by working at the refinery nearby in Drumright, Oklahoma. My grandparent's small home only had three tiny bedrooms... the girls shared a room with only one bed, while the boys slept in the other room nearby. My grandfather's first 7 children had already moved away by this time and two of my mom's siblings had died while they were quite young. This left nine children, 4 girls and 5 boys to be raised in this home. It still boggles my mind when I take into consideration not only the sleeping arrangements, but the fact that they were able to get by on so little. All of my mom's siblings were responsible not only for their own chores, but for bringing in what they could to sustain their large family. My mom was hired out to do ironing for nearby families and became quite good at it. To this day, I have never found anyone who could iron as well as my mom.... who is still ironing... but thankfully not for hire anymore. My grandmother enjoyed getting together with her cousin Mamie Cotner whenever possible. Once they were together they would sew, design, chat, and laugh. Neither woman knew how to drive so they were dependent on others to make these special moments together a reality. Both families eventually moved to California and my grandmother's time with her cousin Mamie was still dependent on others. I'm sure they treasured their time together even more than ever. After my grandmother passed away, my mom would continue to take me for visits to Mamie's home whenever she could. I found absolute delight in being surrounded by the smells, (Mamie and my grandmother were wonderful cooks) the sounds, (Mamie's laughter was contagious! I miss it to this day) and the comfort of just sitting at Mamie's table. She loved working with her hands and it showed. It didn't matter if she was working in the dirt outside her home, or figuring out various patterns inside her home, she worked with excited passion. Each time my mom and I would go for our visit, Mamie quickly took us outside to see all that she had planted and nurtured since our last visit. Once inside
the smells, coming from her kitchen embraced us like a warm, tight, hug. Then she would share her newest projects that she had just finished. Mamie could sew, quilt, crochet, you name it, she did it and with incredible vigor. So... you may be wondering why I am sharing this story with you... here it is.. Several years ago, one of my aunts gave me 20, hand sewn blocks that had been lost in her closet for some time. She gave them to me as she knew I enjoyed quilting. They were made in the early 50's by my grandmother and her cousin Mamie and left behind after both women had passed away. After my aunt gave them to me, I promptly brought them home and hid them again... but this time in my own closet. Recently, I fetched those 20 blocks out of hiding, laid them out on my floor and decided to finish making the quilt that my grandmother and her cousin were never able to complete. I searched and searched until I was able to find a couple of different fabrics that I thought would match the blocks well. I then sewed those 20 long, lost, blocks together to make the quilt that I share with you below. I can now dedicate this finished quilt to these two wonderful women that were a part of my life. I send them heaps and heaps of love. While their journeys may have ended, mine is still going strong. I am now sending all of you lots and lots of hugs and I am encouraging you to not let any treasures be 'hidden' in your closets like these were in mine. Until next time, Debbie P.S. Happy Anniversary grandma and grandpa.