Thursday, April 18, 2013

Catching Up

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.

                                                 Me and my mom at the festival.

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.


The dB family said...

Quilts are so beautiful! I'm glad they are still being made and appreciated by many people.

Hehehe! Early days paraphernalia. I shudder at having to go through mine.

I am very much a home body too.


Heather said...

Oh, I love old pictures and family artifacts. My brother has a box full of things that my grandmother sent to him before she passed, and I have yet to go through it with him.

Pom Pom said...

You and your mother are so pretty! You're a little peanut like Mags.
I hope you are putting those interviews into a new book. Are you?
Old stuff. I like meeting myself there.

I agree. Staying home is the very best and I aim to love every minute of it, nine years from now. Sigh.

wayside wanderer said...

Two very lovely ladies and I like the glimpses of quilts, too. What a fun, memory making thing to do with your mom. I like how you described the community of women, too.

Tracy said...

I love quilting. I do. You'd not know it for the lack of attention I give to it right now. Time will give that back to me one day though. I love looking through old photos too. I have my grandmother's photos of my brothers and I as preschoolers. My golly we were so cute!

Your dad has some slightly flawed logic there. You're still dealing with the 'stuff'...just not after he dies! My hubby's grandfather hopped into bed when he was 80 and spent 5 years waiting for the death he believed was imminent. I never knew if he was unwell or just being silly. I think the latter. Eventually he got his way.

debbie bailey said...

Good to hear from you again. You and your mama are cute as buttons. Glad you had a fun time with her and are carrying on the quilting tradition.

magsmcc said...

Is there a story you're not telling us behind beer guy?

Gumbo Lily said...

What a great pic of you and your mom. It's a treasure, I think. How often do you get a picture with your mom? I have very few. I envy you.

Lovely quilty stuff. What a smart girl you are to interview those ladies at the Eli Quilt Party.

I'm saving the junk in my crawl space for my kids to clean out when I die. Won't they love that?


GretchenJoanna said...

With all the quilting, writing, and boy-driving you do on top of your housework and taking walks and.... I am always amazed that you write blogs as often as you do. It's always a treat. Thank you!