November 3, 2016

The Stories That Quilts Tell

Featured on Marilyn's Treats, Favorite Things Thursday

My grandmother made this beauty!


Let me tell you a story...

I walked into our son's room (the one he uses when he is here) and started to straighten a few things. Not much has changed since his "at home" days. He can walk into a perfectly neat and tidy space and in a little bit of digging in his old closet for this and that...the room is no longer neat and tidy. :-) ha ha Sorry son, it's true!


While I was in the room I decided to put one of my grandmother's quilts, which my mother recently gave to me, onto his bed. (I am fluffing this room for another blog post...but I want to share this story first.) 



My Granny Pie made this quilt sometime when my mother was a little girl. Since my mother was born in 1932, we can come pretty close to dating this quilt because my grandmother used my mothers old dresses for the quilt pieces. I started looking closer at the old fabrics and patterns. I started imagining my mothers little dresses. 



While the quilt top tells the story of artistry, the quilt back tells the story of skill. I studied the nearly perfect stitches. They are beautiful. Maybe if I practiced my had stitching could be this pretty. 



This quilt has been taken care of and the colors are still vibrant and beautiful. That is saying something for the old fabrics! I have two other quilts from my grandmother and they are both just perfect. (I will share those another time.) My mother has been a good caretaker of this bit of family history. 

I know that there are many of you who keep the quilting art alive, but I am not one of them. ha! 


Let me tell you about my grandmother, my Granny Pie. 

Her real name was Anna A. Jeter. She was the daughter of a turn of the century (1900s) teacher, administrator, board member. Her father was Robert H. Jeter...a respected educator in his county. If I remember correctly my grandmother was one of the younger children of five or six siblings, being born circa 1910. Her mother called her Annie...based on the engraving on the back of her watch. 

I have her old Middleburg High School class ring that she wore most of the time. It is almost worn smooth. She played basketball in high school too. 


Anyway, my Anna went to Eastern Teachers College, in Richmond KY. (Now called Eastern Kentucky University.) At some point she attended Stratton Business College in Louisville...but I am not sure of the time line. I need to ask my mother more questions. 

I remember her telling me about driving some kind of model T Ford in dry creek beds. I believe my Granny Pie was an adventurous gal. I have seen some pics of her in college and she had a new "short" haircut and stylish outfits. She was a modern girl for her time. She wore slim flapper style dresses...and had that short short hairdo. 


After college she began teaching in a one room schoolhouse in the Ellisburg community of Casey County Kentucky. She was single of course, as teachers were not allowed to be married at that time. And she boarded with a family. 

I remember chuckling the first time she told me that she had to saddle a horse to ride to her school....where she then had to load the coal stove to warm up the building before the school children began arriving.  

I have read the rules for Kentucky teachers "back in the day"...and oh my, very different from today. 



After my Anna married my grandfather she had to give up teaching...at which point she became a farm wife. 

She told me stories of cooking all morning for the work hands to have lunch. Lunch came with the job apparently. There were chickens to kill, pluck, and cook. There were vegetables to pick, clean, and prepare. And there was cornbread and biscuits to put on the table. Folks...I am worn out just thinking about it. 

By the time I began teaching, I was already married, then a few years later I taught until a couple of days before my daughter was born. 




So...this quilt, this bit of family history, makes me pause and just think about so much. 

About how my grandmother was a teacher. 

About how hard her early years as a farm wife had to be. 

About how she had to be a single mother during WWII years while my grandfather was away in the South Pacific. 

After my grandfather returned from the war he opened his own farm feed mill business, and my grandmother traded the farm for bookkeeping and business. 

And how on earth did my grandmother get the nickname "Pie?" Even as an adult she was known as Pie around town. ha!  I think it had something to do with her loving pie when she was a kid...and the nickname stuck. ha.


My Granny Pie had no idea that this quilt would end up on her great grandson's bed. She died tragically in a traffic accident one fall afternoon when she was coming to visit me at Transylvania University, in Lexington. I was a sophomore in college and we had planned a get together after I finished classes.  We were going to go shopping, and eat out, etc. 

She was late. And then the head on crash/accident was on the radio. My boyfriend, now my hubby, learned about it, and was scared that I was in the crash with her.  He came to find me on campus...and took me to the Univ of Kentucky Hospital emergency room. I was given her personal stuff to look after until my mother, and grandfather made the drive up from southern Ky. 


Granny Pie stayed in the UK hospital for almost two months...with most of her bones broken. She never regained regained consciousness........ 



I was so sad to loose my Granny Pie. I had been her buddy since I was an infant. I would spend my summers with her when my parents moved the family to Ohio while my dad was a school principal.  

Somehow having some of her quilts just helps! (Sorry...Typing through tears.) Thank you mother for letting me have them. I will take care of them and keep them in the family. 

I know that quilts don't really talk...but this one speaks volumes to me. I think of my grandmother's hands when I look at the little pieces of fabric and the stitches that hold them together. 

I bet you have some special items that talk/speak to you too. 

Would you like to share with us in a comment?


My mother gave this picture to me a few years ago too.




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My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.

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