So, it's been a while, my dears, and I can't explain exactly why. I feel a big chunk of my life has been given over to driving boys hither and yon. But there are other things as well. Last week, I drove to Kentucky to meet my mom so we could drive to Cincinnati for the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival. My mom is a good traveling companion and quilting buddy. We took two classes and wished we had time to take more.
Two weeks ago, I went to Uncle Eli's Quilting Party in Eli Whitney, NC. It's a gathering of quilters and other local folks that happens the first Thursday of every April, and has been happening now for eighty-two years.
I brought my audio recorder and interviewed a bunch of people. One of the women I interviewed was 84 and said she'd been coming to the quilting party all of her life. She said her mother had made quilts, but she never did. She had five children and worked in a mill and there just wasn't time.
The whole morning I felt like I was surrounded by the Man's aunts. Good country people who pretty much have stayed put, worked hard, raised their children, and found creative outlets when and where they could. Ten years from now, a lot of the folks I talked to will be gone and so will their way of life. I hope that Uncle Eli's party will continue, but I wonder.
When I was at my parents' house in Kentucky, my dad asked me to take home a bunch of my boxes that had been stored in the basement. His latest project is getting all the junk out of their house so we children won't have to deal with it when he and my mother die. This sounds a touch morbid, but given that my father--my very healthy father--has been preparing for his imminent death for twenty years now, I'm used to it.
So anyway, I brought home the boxes, which are most filled with books I'll end up donating to the library. But there are several boxes of papers and photographs from college and grad school, some of which I've gone through. A lot of it is pretty cringe-worthy stuff--bad poetry and even worse academic papers, lots of pictures of me in one silly incarnation or another--and some of it hints at the adult I would become (including a journal I took with me on a trip to Berlin with friends when I was twenty-four, in which I confessed how embarrassed it made me to mostly just want to be home--twenty-five years later, I feel exactly the same way).
My favorite finds (and I would not have predicted this when I was twenty-four!) were pictures of my family back in the day--my little brother caught in the act of being goofy in his laid-back, cool way, my big brother trying to look suave, my mother looking young and beautiful at age forty-eight, the age I am now. And my dog! How fine it was to see my old dog.
Those are the pictures I'll keep. The one with the guy throwing back a beer at a frat party, a guy I don't even recognize and who's not even cute? That one goes.