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Relocating a treasure

May 4, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

My parents, members of the “Greatest Generation,” instilled in me the importance of saving. I saved money and had healthy esteem for the value of mostly everything. Now, today, where minimalism is something to aspire to, I wonder why I saved certain things.

On my 18th birthday, our next-door neighbor, Mrs. Hite, gave me a double wedding ring quilt she made by hand. Growing up, I spent many afternoons sitting next to her while she quilted. We had great conversations, and she told me stories as her needle moved along. We sat behind her quilting frame, located in front of her double dining room windows. Quilting is intricate and time-consuming. Mrs. Hite was high strung, but quilting soothed her. She made quilt after quilt back then.

When I moved to a nursing home, the quilt was left behind. After some time at my first facility, I decided to put the quilt on my bed. After using it for a year or so, a friend feared the laundry might ruin it and suggested I put it away.

Although she was well-meaning I, unfortunately, listened to her. The quilt was packed away and sent off with my sister. I was preserving it, but for whom? I have no children, and I doubt my niece would want a nearly 50-year-old quilt that only covers the top of a double bed.

Two years ago, my sister downsized from a house to an apartment. Late last year, she asked me what I wanted to do with Mrs. Hite's quilt. She suggested I give it back to Mrs. Hite's granddaughter and my best friend, Beth. However, when I called her, she told me she has several of her grandmother's quilts packed away for safekeeping. She is a saver just like me. But she has children and grandchildren to pass treasured items to.

My sister e-mailed recently asking again what I wanted done with the quilt. I told her to bring it. When my sister visited, she put it on my bed. We admired its scalloped edge and its many colors. If it disappears, she told me to just understand that someone else is wrapped in Mrs. Hite's love.

I have even taken the courageous step of not putting my name on it. Somehow I think the quilt belongs to the ages. It is a wonderful example of a woman's work being passed on to others. Many of the aides have commented on the quilt and chastised me for using it. I told them I am so over saving it. It will be on my bed until it rots. It is so touching that Mrs. Hite's little gold safety pin place marker is still affixed to the underside.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...