This entry comes to us from Rosemary @ Nationalshare.org, a Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support center. This entry make you wish you had an aunt Mary. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Rosemary! LY!
When I first read about your quilting project on Emily’s blog (Stepping Stones), I knew I had to write about my Aunt Mary’s quilt. Well, technically, it’s MY quilt, but my dear Aunt Mary made it for me when I was 12, and I still think of it as “Aunt Mary’s Quilt,” and so do my kids.
Before I tell you about the quilt, I really should tell you about my Aunt Mary. She was my Great Aunt, my Dad’s mother’s only sister. She was the sweetest, gentlest lady, and she was unable to have children. I don’t know why, but she did tell me once that there was a minor surgery that could have been done, but my uncle wouldn’t allow it. He told her that if God intended her to have children, He would have made her so she could have them. I often wonder what that must have been like for her, because she LOVED children. And they loved her. I loved her. Tremendously. I was the first grandchild for both of my parent’s families, and I have always been told that Aunt Mary spoiled me rotten. My mom used to tell me that when I was little, if I wanted something and she told me no, I would say, “Well, I’ll ask Aunt Mary. She’ll get it for me!” And Aunt Mary often did.
As I grew up, Aunt Mary was one of my very favorite people. Yes, she spoiled me, but not only in material ways. She spoiled me with love. I don’t remember most of the things she bought me, but I will never forget her love. I will never forget how every letter and card she wrote to me began with the greeting, “Dear one,…” After I had my first daughter, she wrote me the sweetest letter and said that she hoped I enjoyed my daughter as much as she had always enjoyed her sweet Mama. Every child should be spoiled the way that she “spoiled” me, and I loved spending time with her.
As I became an adult, married, moved away, and had children, Aunt Mary and I remained close. Ironically enough, she was usually the first person I called when I was having Mommy meltdown moments. There are some things I will forever remember about her…she loved Christmas, she prayed the rosary every day, she loved to get cards, she made the most delicious homemade noodles I’ve ever eaten, she always had M & Ms in a candy jar on her coffee table, she made beautiful quilts, she taught me to crochet…so many more memories I have…I couldn’t even begin to write them all.
In October 2001, Aunt Mary turned 90. Just to give you an idea of how many people loved this woman…there were nearly 100 people at her birthday party. She had so many God children, I don’t even know the exact number. Sadly, three months after her 90th birthday, Aunt Mary suddenly died. She went into the hospital for something minor and died 2 days later.
So now, I’ll tell you about “Aunt Mary’s Quilt.” When I was a kid, we moved around. A lot. The hardest move for me by far was the one my family made the summer between 6th and 7th grade. We moved into a brand new house, and my room was part of the finished basement. Aunt Mary made me a quilt to use for a bed spread. It was squares of pastel gingham…yellow, pink, orange, green, aqua, light blue…gingham of different sizes and colors they don’t make anymore. At each corner of each square of gingham was a fluffy little pom pom made of pale yellow yarn. (keep in mind, this was the 1970’s!) I loved that quilt and still do.
In 1980, when I was a senior in high school, my parents moved again, and I stayed behind, living with a friend to finish high school. The day after graduation, I moved back in with my parents. What a comfort it was to see my quilt on the bed in my new room. I lived with my parents for 2 more years while I attended a local college. When I moved away to finish my degree at Eastern Illinois University, the quilt stayed behind. But once I was married and had a home of my own, the quilt was mine again.
Over the years, this quilt has definitely become a comfort item for me as well as my kids. It mostly stays on the shelf in my bedroom closet, but if I am sick and lying around on the couch (which doesn’t happen often!), the quilt comes out. That quilt is the first thing my kids ask for when they are sick or just want some comfort. Actually, they don’t even ask for it now that they are older, they just go into my closet and get it. If I see one of them on the couch with Aunt Mary’s quilt, the first thing I ask is “what’s wrong?” If more than one child is sick at the same time, they fight over who gets to use it! If I am sick when any of them are, they know it’s mine. During the winter months when the kids have colds, etc, Aunt Mary’s quilt is out of the closet and on my couch often.
The quilt is so soft and comfortable, but it is not in the best shape anymore. Some of the seams have come undone, and every time I was it, I’m afraid it will fall apart. I almost feel as if I should hide it. Yet I can’t. I love that my kids call it “Aunt Mary’s Quilt,” and that they want to pull it out and snuggle under it when they need comfort. A few years ago, I gave it to my sister’s mother in law to repair, but there are now more seams coming undone.
I have a couple of other quilts that Aunt Mary made. They are all special to me, and I can close my eyes and see her stitching each piece and imagine the love that she put into making them. I love them all because they came from her hands and heart, but none of them have quite the importance to me that “Aunt Mary’s Quilt” has.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share something so special to me. I love writing about things that are near and dear to my heart, and over the years, I have written other things about my Aunt Mary. But, I never even thought about writing about this quilt. I also realized that I didn’t have any photographs of this treasured part of my childhood, and now I do. So thank you again for inspiring me. I look forward to your book. I am not a quilter, but I come from a family of quilters, and I love quilts and hearing the stories behind them.