Quilt: a coverlet made by stitching two layers of fabric
with padding in between (Anderson, 687).
It lies there, alone, with the vibrant colors illuminating the room
that contains the beautiful masterpiece. It is carefully folded on the
foot of the bed being made sure that there are no wrinkles present.
It lies limp, engulfing the colorless sheets that serve as its background.
If one were to pass by the room and happen to glance in they would notice
that the center of attention was focused on this breath-taking quilt.
I was five years of age and I would anxiously await the arrival of my
Grandma’s car. It was there to sweep me away to a world filled
with cookies and milk. I peered through the bottom section of the window,
grasping the sill with white knuckles. As soon as her car rounded the
corner I would run over to the door, violently thrust it open, and bound
down the driveway. My blonde curls would bounce in my face and my little
plump body greeted my Grandma. After I arrived at Gram’s fairy
tale like house, she would inform me of the golden rule of her room.
Absolutely, in no way was I to sit, stand, jump, eat, drink, or let
alone touch Grandma’s quilt. My mind, which was filled with baby
dolls and candy, never really fully grasped the whole idea of not even
being in breaths touch of the quilt, but I soon disregard the statement
and trotted outside to my awaiting friends. After a few hours of play
I would trudge in, secretly hoping for a snack before dinner. Gram would
pull a few cookies from her pocket and then shew me to the kitchen table.
After a tummy filling dinner I would rush into her awaiting room, excited
to hear the story of the night that would put me so soundlessly asleep.
But having the capability to only think about me, myself and I, I would
rush into the room and pounce on the peaceful quilt, not even thinking
about the rule. Gram would follow me in and remove the quilt from the
bed, delicately placing it on the chesterfield beside the bed. She would
just look at me and smile at my toothless grin, resting the quilt where
it could not be bothered.
It was not until I reached the age of sixteen that my Grandma decided
to fill me in on the importance of a quilt. She first started off by
telling me the history of the quilt that lay so eloquently on her bed.
My Grandma decided that she wanted to construct something that was so
beautiful that if you touched it, chills would be sent crawling down
your spine. She sat sowing for days on end. Carefully picking patterns,
cross-stitching endlessly. When my Grandma talked about the quilt and
the passion that she put into it, she glowed from excitement. It took
her exactly one month to create an artwork that captured the lesson
of her life and soon to be mine.
Gram and I sat across from each other at the kitchen table. Her long
gray hair glistened in the light from the beams of the adjacent room.
In the past years I have not looked at her the way that I was at that
moment, I mean really looking at her. Her face and hands seemed worn
out form rigid everyday work. Her long night coat delicately hung on
her frame. The aging frame that I had not noticed until now, or maybe
did not want to notice, sat before me. She told me of a quote that she
once read in one of those “how to live your life books.”
She repeated it slowly so that I could grasp the whole concept, “may
you never take one single breath for granted” (Sanders, 12). She
said that she realizes now that the years fly by without you even noticing.
She hoped that she could open my eyes to this concept before my years
were gone. As we sat there and talked about all the things that my Grandma
wanted to do with her life and never got the chance to and about the
things that I hope to do, she brought up the old quilt. She questioned
why she made such a thing when she did not even use it. At the time
she thought of it as so beautiful that it should not be touched or used.
Many years later she realized that the only use it got was sitting on
a bed. Had she done all of that work to have the quilt sit and not even
be used as warmth?
As we sat there sipping our freshly brewed tea, Gram pointed out a
fact that I still carry with me today. She said people are like quilts.
All are differing from each other, but hold some of the same basic characteristics.
Quilts are an organized patchwork of patterns that come together as
one. Each one holds the essence of the creator. People all carry varying
qualities but are meshed together in a mass of one. At times a quilt
seems may stretch or give way but the whole quilt will never unravel.
Although everyday may not be the best of days, there is always the next
to look forward to, so don’t let your life unravel.
I lie contentedly in my bed, covers pulled up to my nose. I glance
down to see the faded, but still brilliant quilt stretched across my
bed. Used. Used many times. My Grandma has been passed for three years
now but I still carry her with me. I remember the time she told me to
never take one single breath for granted and realized that more times
than not, I don’t, which is a step in the right direction. I vow
that I will live by the guidelines of my gram and breath in and out
everyday, with purpose. The quilt has served its purpose. It has protected
me at night and decorated any room that it was in. The quilt may not
cover me now looking bran new, but it covers me with a story of its
own. I shut my eyes and drift off to sleep, quilted by Gram.
1. Sanders, Mark. I Hope You Dance. Library of Congress, 2000.
2. Anderson, Beth. The America Heritage. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.