It began as a heritage project and it ended as a lightweight quilt.
The children were little and were asking questions. (Imagine that!)
Who is your mommy? Why is she my grandma then? Did grandma and grandpa have other kids? Did they have kids? What’s a cuz-sin? Is that why Jesus died on the cross?
Questions need answers, and some answers are more complex than others.
So, we did what many families do: we drew a family tree.
Is our Uncle David the nut on the tree?
Yes, children, he is, and proud to be so.
The family tree answered technical questions, like cuz-sins, but didn’t reach the heart. What did Grandpa like to eat? What does Grandma like to do? What colors do they like?
I knew some of the answers, but not all. So we asked. We created a family survey and mailed it off. (I began homeschooling in the days before the internet. That doesn’t make me old. Just adaptable.)
And they mailed the answers back. Well, most of them did. Along with their answers, we asked they send us a piece of cloth, or a swath of old clothing, something that said, “This is me.”
And they did. Most of them. We oohed and ahhhed. I told stories of Grandpa’s fish shirt, holding it close, hoping it still smelled a little like him (on a good day).
We peered at the close lavender stitches of my grandma (your great-grandma, children) and we thanked Aunt Annie for sharing such a treasure from our heritage.
A few years went by before those swatches became a crazy sheet. I’m glad I waited because the children grew, and their clothes did not, so I added a piece of this dress, a collar of that shirt, a pocket from those jammies.
It was another few years before the memories were backed with six different styles of black and white fabric, four representing each one of us in the nuclear Broadhurst Bunch, and two because they were pretty to the seamstress and made good filler.
It’s crazy, and I call it a quilt, but I didn’t put any fluff or stuff between the layers. Unlike homeschooling which needs some fluff and stuff to cozy up to on cold grammatical nights, living in Florida we tend to need more lightweight cool warmth than heavyweight shiver-prevent-ers.
But on nights when we need more comfort than we need covers,
the family quilt (crazy, as it is) wraps us in love and memories.
It’s our pretty and it’s our heritage.