I have very few items in my possession that would count as family heirlooms. But one item that might fit that definition is a quilt.
I say "might" because this quilt was not handed down through generations but rather made expressly for me. The seamstress was my mother. She decided to make a quilt for each of her children. While my father was bishop (in the church they belonged to) he had to travel. He oversaw a number of states including Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky--and getting around to churches required some travel. When my mother accompanied him, she took along quilting squares and stitched them.
When the whole quilt was finished, she and her two sisters, Ada and Kathryn, got together and assembled the quilt. They attached the backing and the batting, then rolled the quilt on a frame and set about the actual quilting process.
I love that image--three sisters on in years, communally sewing. I bet they reminisced about family, about growing up together, about their lives, their children. I imagine they laughed and maybe cried. Perhaps they even sang.
I have come to see this quilt as a metaphor for me--stitched together of fabric from the snippets of my family.
Here are some of the pieces that go into the Donna quilt:
*my red hair--from uncles Arthur, Mark, and aunts Kathryn, Katherine.
*my being an alto--from my paternal grandmother Climenhaga
*my love of singing four part harmony--from my paternal grandfather Climenhaga
*my ability at art (modest)--from my paternal grandmother Climenhaga
*my being always hotter than anyone else in the room--from my maternal grandmother Slagenweit
*my playing jokes on people--from my maternal Pappap Slagenweit
*my expansive vocabulary--from my father and my uncle Arthur
*my keen interest in politics--from my aunt Leoda
*my love of classical music--from my father and my aunt Leoda
*my skill at baking--from my mother
*my toughness--from my mother
*my being organized--from my father and my mother
*my overall body shape--from the Slagenweits
*my intellect--from the Climenhagas.
Enough pieces! Thankfully, I feel pretty well stitched together. And very grateful to all the people in my family who have contributed to the complex fabric of which I am made.
While I was taking photos of the quilt, my cat Allie climbed on it, and settled in! So she gets her picture in the blog!