In my whole life of thirty-six years I have always had an “old soul.” While some may say that’s not a bad thing, others may disagree and say, “ I need to come up with the times!”
My Great-Grandma was a seamstress she traveled from town to town catching a train with her eldest son. While I was too young too really know her is held in the highest regards by my mom. My mom remembers times when she would sit and hand stitch a quilt together or dresses that great-grams would make from patterns she created from paper sacks. While the time my great- grams and mom spent together is a lifetime ago, the memories are still as vivid as if they happened yesterday. I was too young to know her, but through my mom’s stories I feel like she is still with us everyday.
It is hard to truly know the impact of a memory. A quilt passes with time. While we may be thinking this is all that I know or this is the only way I know, there is something to be said in the manner in which we piece or bind a quilt. My great-grams had a “style” that she passed to my mom. Of course, my mom passed it to me, with the words, “well this is all that I know.”
Before You Tube, before Instagram, and before Pinterest we relied on our parents and grandparents to teach us “how.” I have tried to tell my mom, "that’s just not how people do it anymore," but inevitably I revert to how my mom tells me to bind or sew a garment. I have learned that my mom’s methods are the most tried and true ways to do anything. If I just listen, then I would realize how smart she really is.
Lately, I have been interested in history. Most particularly, family history is important. As people pass away and your left with “things,” what do they really mean? What if you’re not lucky enough to have something to remember a loved one by? Then what, how can you make sense of your bond, or how much their life meant to you? I dare say, it’s the memories that people can’t take that are the most precious. The time you spent together, the lessons or stories they passed on to you, those are the memories and inheritance no one can take away. They are the true inheritance.
When my great-grams passed I was just shy of five years old if not younger. I never had the memories of sitting in her kitchen eating breakfast or fixing peanut-butter cookies while she stole the dough ( a memory I have of my grams). However, what I do have, my true inheritances are the gifts she gave my mom. She taught my mom how to sew and with that an abundance of memories and techniques that I have been teaching my little one. I don’t know if she will have the fond memories of sitting on my sewing table and piecing quilts together or the special garments I make for her, but what I do hope that she passes on to the next generation of Carl women is the love of family and how to run a sewing machine!
History is not only found in a book. Sometimes it’s found in a story passed through your family. In our case, history is found under a needle stitching two pieces of fabric together. I am a third generation quilter. I will never be a good as my great-grams, but every time I am at my machine I just hope I make her proud.