THE STORYBOOK QUILT
April 3, 2000
"Hey grandma, what cha doin'?" I asked in my little girl voice.
Grandma looked up and a broad smile spread across her face. "Oh, just
quilting, Chrissy. Come sit on your Grandma's lap while I work."
--- Copyright © 2000 Corky Ferguson
After hugging her a bit too tightly and placing a kiss firmly on her cheek,
I cuddled in her arms to watch. After what seemed like an hour to me, but
was actually only minutes in reality, Grandma firmly said, "Now Chrissy, sit
still you're hurting my legs with all that squirming around!"
"Oh! I'm sorry Grammy," I said as I wrinkled up my nose, giggling as I slid
to the floor. I looked up at her to see if she was angry. I could see that
she was amused at my "cute" actions. I decided not to push my luck.
I sat quietly cross-legged on the floor watching as she sorted
and stacked the small squares. I was never, and doubtfully ever will be,
someone content to just sit and watch. I reached my tiny hand deep into
the worn pillowcase, pulling out many squares of beautiful colored material.
"Sweetheart, go slow. Why don't you tell me, one by one, the colors you see?
Do you know all your colors?"
"GRANDMA! Of course I do! I am five you know," I said matter of factly with
my hands on my hips. I could see how she had to bite her lip to keep from
"All right then, my big girl, let's get busy and sort by color."
"Sure thing, Grammy; red, blue, green," I mumbled as I slowly stacked each
color into perfect little piles. "OH! Stars and Moons! " I squealed with
She always seemed amazed at how the smallest things would delight me. Once
again, she grinned from ear to ear.
I noticed that from time to time she would stop and look at one of the
squares. Tenderly she would hold them in her half-crippled hands, touching
and smoothing the cloth and smiling to herself.
To me they were just pieces of scraps, but to her they seemed to be
something more, something very special.
I stared at her wondering why she looked so strange. Very quietly I touched
her hand and asked, "Grandmother, please tell me the story."
"What story is that Chrissy?" she said looking a bit confused.
"I know magic when I see it Grandma, and I see magic in your eyes."
"My, my, Chrissy, you ARE a smart little girl after all. You see, those
tiny squares are bits and pieces from my past. The red velvet ones are from
your first Christmas dress. The blue ones are from your mother's wedding
dress and the other colors are from different moments that I will remember
all of my life. I can take my past into the future. I can work on this now, with you, and
pass it along. This quilt is my masterpiece."
"Why did you forget to tell me about the moon and the stars?" I said
I could barely hear as she whispered, "Well, my Angel, those are to
represent YOUR hopes and dreams. Promise me that you will never forget them! Dreams are the wishes the heart makes."
I wondered, were those tears that formed in the corner of her eyes as she
told me the story, and why did she cry?
Many years have come and gone since I woke up one winter's morning and
found that beautiful quilt covering me. Grandma had been making it for me!
Then I understood the tears that had been in her eyes.
I had forgotten about the quilt until today when I was talking to a friend.
He is also an aspiring writer and I found that we have a lot in common, even
though he is more experienced and I consider him my teacher and my mentor.
We shared how we both have note pads where we gather bits and pieces of
ourselves and parts of our lives.
Our pages are full of moons and stars. Like Grandma's quilt, we save and
collect scraps of hopes and dreams. I believe that great writers collect
bits and pieces, hopes and dreams, for years, saving them, and then one day
they "quilt" them into masterpieces called stories.