Heirloom Quilt

As I've mentioned before, I knew both of my great-grandmothers on my mother's side of the family growing up. So it was through memories more than objects that I knew them both. I know we have a number of heirlooms for each of those sides of the family, but for me what's always stood out was what I remembered of them.

This past year, with all the research I've done and photos I've looked at, that's changed a lot. And in the past ten years, I've started to become more aware of the heirlooms as well. I've mentioned in this blog that I have a necklace of my Nain's. I got it from my grandmother for my 21st birthday, and apparently my Nain got it from her parents for her 21st birthday. It's one of the few things I have of hers, so I treasure it dearly. I never thought too much about what I had from my other great-grandmother until this past month, though.

My granny (my grandfather's mother) lived in Vancouver with her younger sister when I was small. They did very well together until the late seventies, when my grandfather wanted her closer so that he could take care of her. He moved her into a nearby Masonic nursing home, here in Washington so that he could visit her more frequently.

She wasn't too happy to be there. Though she was born in Philadelphia, she didn't like the United States. It seems her parents, Irish immigrants, hadn't been treated too well here, so they left about 1910 and went back to Ireland. She never forgot her early life here in the states, and would have preferred to stay in Canada. Unfortunately, my grandfather was her only living child, and since he lived here in Washington, she had no other choice.

She spent her time in the home doing projects with the other ladies there, including quilting from cloth they'd been given to occupy their time. My sister and I each received a quilt from her for Christmas one year during this time. My pre-teen self wasn't too impressed at the time, as I recall. The one I received wasn't my favorite colour – it was yellow/gold/tan – whereas my sister's was hers. And I had never had a true quilt before. It was cool to have something she'd actually made, and when she died soon after, it became a bit more precious to me, but I spared it little other thought.

It's been well-used over the years, though it is still not my favorite blanket. The wear and tear is definitely beginning to show, thirty-odd years on. When I told my mother-in-law about it, she offered to look it over and fix it up for me, and I began to realize just what a precious artifact it is. This is something that was made by my great-grandmother, and something that connects me to her.

I think, once I can, I'll pass it on to one of my sister's kids. Given that she has the other blanket, they can each have one. And I can tell them both the story of why it's special, and where it came from. And who made it. And maybe they'll feel a bit more connected to her because of it. That's my hope, anyway.

Granny, me, sis, aunt D behind us--the blanket isn't the quilt, but I thought it appropriate.


Shannon Hillinger February 12, 2011 at 8:45 AM  

Mine is in the worst shape. There's no way it's getting handed down, or even fixed.

Elf Flame February 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM  

I'm sorry to hear it. Still, at least there will be one. One can have the Quilt, and one can have the Necklace, then. :)

Post a Comment

About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.