Sleeping Under Four Stories, Four Quilts: Everyday Magic, Day 198

As the temperatures plummeted, I huddled close to cat and man under flannel sheets and four stories of quilt, each one holding its own narrative. The top quilt with its mix of leafy greens, golden stars against the blue batik sky and all manner of other freckled images is the one I made us to celebrate 25 years of marriage, the earth and sky.

The next quilt — squares connected to squares, and some squares divided into Brady Bunch type squares — was made by our cousin Janet with great help from Woody, when he was obviously still alive, and their church in San Diego, then mailed to Diane and Sheldon in Lawrence (now San Francisco) so that they could arrange for various friends from the Jewish center to tie knots in it and make wishes for my total recovery from cancer. Finally, members of my family tied knots and made wishes as they gave me the quilt.

The quilt beneath that was one I hand-sewed, my first quilt, in 1996, in between nursing Forest and settling into this house we designed and help build. Triangles and diamonds in purple, rose and green, this quilt helped bring me home. It also holds the memory of listening to many Native American performers and writers — Sherman Alexie, R. Carlos Nakai and others — as I sat in audiences, sewing. I was a faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University, where I was honored to be a witness to the lives of my students, who came from over 100 tribes.

The bottom quilt, with its red gingham and snappy little sailboats, was created by Ken’s great-grandmother when he was a boy out of scraps, simplicity and imagination. She made quilts for all her grandchildren, each inch of inch hand-sewn with great care and precision.

We sleep under these four stories forged by friends, family, community and ourselves, and in that sleep, we dream deep in gratitude and amazement.

3 thoughts on “Sleeping Under Four Stories, Four Quilts: Everyday Magic, Day 198

  1. don’t you love the sleep that comes under quilts? i mean, honestly, there’s nothing sweeter . . . not even fudge. i’m waiting on photos of 2 more quilts my maternal grandmother made, then i’m creating a catalog of her art. art that nobody recognized as art until i had them bring their quilts and hold them up in the woods, each child and each grandchild. the children saw her quiltmaking as just something to keep her busy, a distraction, but when the first quilt was held up and viewed from afar, a quiet fell throughout the wood then finally a single simple sentence that may have been built like a question but was delivered like a statement: “she was an artist, wasn’t she.”

    you know, as i read this, i am struck by all the things you’ve done in your life. you’re an inspiration, my friend. an inspiration.

  2. Thank you so much, Kelley, for visiting these posts, and leaving your good words — you know all too well the power of quilts. And thank you so much, Jeanne, who also knows the power of quilts (love your quiltography site too). Can’t wait to see the photos of your grandma’s quilts, and I will love reading what you write too, my pal. Both you women are huge inspirations to me!

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