QUILTED BY GRANDMA


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first draft

By Brooke Mckenzie

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.

Works Cited
1. Sanders, Mark. I Hope You Dance. Library of Congress, 2000.
2. Anderson, Beth. The America Heritage. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.


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