“Do you know who Granny made these quilts for?” Mama asked one day.
She had been trying to go through some of Granny’s stuff and found some quilts that evidently Granny had not told her who they were for.
“No, she gave us all the ones she made for us,” I said.
Granny made the most gorgeous quilts, and took great pride in giving them to people she loved.
Countless hours went in each of her quilts and she took care to make one with the intended person’s favorite colors or pattern.
“Are you sure?” Mama questioned. “I don’t know who she could have made these for.”
I wasn’t sure either.
Then suddenly, I had a flashback.
It was sometime in the early 90s and Granny had been told about some craft festival.
What had piqued the old gal’s interest was that the person who mentioned it to her, told her she could set up a booth to sell her quilts, pillows and pillowcases.
“You can make some big money, Helen,” the person told her. “Probably more than you made in a week sewing at the Carwood.”
Now, Granny didn’t even make “tiny” money when she worked, but she was proud of it and stretched it to get a buggy full of groceries at the Piggly Wiggly with some left over to get me whatever I hadn’t begged out of Mama that week. So hearing the words “big money,” made Granny think she was going to hit the jackpot.
She was going to be rich.
She had visions of what she was going to do with that money – it involved new carpet and maybe even a new couch.
She was so excited she was almost pleasant.
Since she was told way in advance of the event, she sewed every day and finished two quilts – gorgeous quilts – and several pillows to match to sell.
She made extra pillows, in sets of two, in case anyone wanted to buy just the pillows.
She had enough to fill the trunk of her Oldsmobile by the time the event rolled around.
She paid $25 for her booth rental, which included her table and chair.
I had asked her if she wanted me to go with her and she declined, saying she didn’t want to make anyone else give up their Saturday.
Don’t think for one moment the old gal was being considerate; she was just scared she was going to have to spend some of her profits on getting me a funnel cake and a Coke.
The event was supposed to be all day; Granny was home by lunch.
“Did you sell out of everything?” I asked her, thinking that was the only way she would be home so soon.
Granny threw her purse on the couch and said a bad word.
“No! And I ain’t doing another one of those cussed things again!” she said.
“What happened?” Mama asked.
“I’ll tell you what happened,” Granny began. “I had my quilts set up, had my pillows out, and had my prices out there and had these people come up and ask me if I’d take less for them. I told one lady it wasn’t a dadblamed yard sale!”
She snorted in anger.
“Then, I had one lady tell me how pretty my quilt was, ask me if I sewed it by hand, how many hours was in it – then, she told me she could get a cheaper one at Walmart. So I snatched it out of her hands and told her to go see if she could find one at Walmart that was handmade!”
We felt so bad for her. She had poured so much love into making those quilts.
Not only had it helped keep her mind off my grandfather being sick, we knew she was terribly disappointed it had panned out as she hoped.
“Granny, if they can’t appreciate your quilts, then they don’t deserve them.” I meant it, too.
If someone couldn’t appreciate the time and work – and love – she put in one of her quilts, they didn’t deserve them.
“I ain’t doing that nonsense ever again. I coulda been in my garden instead of having someone try to get me to give away my work.”
Years passed and I tried selling a few on Ebay for her; no luck.
“Maybe I ain’t supposed to sell them,” she said one day. “Maybe I am supposed to give them to people who need them.”
“But Granny, if they need a quilt, they will just go buy one,” I said.
“Not one of these,” she said. “I put love in my quilts. My quilts are going to who needs that love; not who buys them.”
She may have been right.
She always felt like her quilts were almost magical and even told me whatever was dreamed under a new quilt would come true. When I tucked Cole in under one, I told him that little myth and he giggled himself to sleep.
“Could these maybe be for Cole?” Mama asked, interrupting my trip down memory lane.
“No, she gave Cole all the quilts she had made for him.”
She had made him a few full-size quilts for when he was grown, telling me to take care of them in the meantime.
“So I am guessing these were the ones she made and didn’t sell,” Mama said. “I don’t know what to do with them…”
“Put them up for me, Mama,” I said. “I want them.”
If they were made with my Granny’s handmade love, I knew the only place where they could go to be valued and that was with me.