Common Interests

Christmas cardI’ve been living in hell this week. While driving from Northeast Ohio to Western North Carolina two days before Christmas to see my 101-year-old mother and visit with my brothers and sister-in-law, I received a call from my SIL telling me we might have to move Mother from her assisted living facility to a nursing home. Damn!

You see, my plan includes: Mother living as long as she wants—in perfect health the whole time—and then just dropping dead, painlessly, of course, from a heart attack or other instant condition. So far my plan isn’t working so well. In fact, we’re way beyond it being possible.

So, starting at about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, I started tearing my mother’s ALF apartment apart and separating things into nursing home, charity, and Ohio. I took a little break last night to catch “Into the Woods” at a Hendersonville theatre, then continued packing until 11:30. This morning I was back at it. Breakfast at Dixie Diner, quick trip to spend a few minutes with Mother, then Wal-Mart to get packing supplies. Wal-Mart? On the day after Christmas? When the place is filled with frantic shoppers looking for cheap wrapping paper? That was a big Oops!

Throughout the day, I dropped some bags of clothing at the Rescue Mission, dropped a lot of things at Goodwill, visited Mother again, and stopped by my cousin’s house to drop some things off. In between those errands, I talked to clock people and movers and kept putting more things in the car.

But let me tell you the best thing that happened in the day. I was walking down the hallway in the ALF. The door was open to one of the apartments I passed. I glanced in and then stopped dead in my tracks. This woman was a quilter. A big-time quilter! I could see her inside watching television, so I knocked on the door, introduced myself, and we talked quilts for 20 minutes.

What a wonderful break in a perfectly awful day. Her collection—”I’ve given most of them away already”—included whole cloth and tree of life and adaptations of standard patterns and works she had designed herself. The small quilt hanging on her door (see picture) was her adaptation of a Christmas card she received years ago. It was precious and priceless.

The quilts are machine pieced and hand-quilted and have entailed thousands of hours of work. Her small bedroom contains a single bed and a table with her White sewing machine. She told me it’s a “Jeans” machine. She saw the dealer demonstrate it at a show. When he sewed directly from six layers of brand new denim to one layer of chiffon without a hiccup, she was sold.

And here she is in an assisted living facility, legs gone below the knees, getting around in a wheelchair.

She smiles. Why shouldn’t she smile? She’s surrounded by beauty and creates more beauty every day.

You and I should be so lucky!

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About Jan

Musician and geek and Juris Doctor; lover of fine art and fine craft; mother and grandmother and significant other and friend. Passionate about sewing.

6 Responses to Common Interests

  1. Ida Sheridan says:

    How wonderful. Surprising where you encounter quilters- sometimes unexpected. I’m no great fan of Xmas décor but what beautiful hanging. I bet its even better in close-up. Wishing you well for the coming year, 2015. xxx from the UK

  2. ceci says:

    So sorry to hear of your mother’s upcoming difficult for all transition – I share your “future plan” for my parents (and myself), but of course we don’t always get what we plan for, sadly.

    Hang in there, glad you took a couple respite periods with theater and quilting chat…..


  3. Abigail says:

    So sorry to hear about Theresa. So do you now inherit and wind all those clocks? I remember how your dad loved them ad what is was like at “whatever” o’clock!! What a delightful surprise for you to discover a quilter at the ALF! Made both~~ yours and her day I’m sure! In my thoughts…

  4. Janet says:

    I hope by the time you read this, the move has been accomplished and you are where you want to be, doing something delightfully fiber related. Wishes for a calm, fiber filled 2015.

  5. Dixie says:

    What lovely serendipity, to meet this talented woman who is still creating despite her limitations. She must have been inspiring, especially considering the tasks you were taking care of.
    I hope your mother’s transition to a nursing home goes well. It’s tough, isn’t it, to not have an older person’s life go as you had hoped? Plan as we might, we eventually learn we are not in charge. The move is disappointing for you, I’m sure. I trust it will be a good choice for your mother.

  6. Jan says:

    Thank you all – Ida, Ceci, Janet and Dixie – for your kind comments. It was an awful week, but I’m starting to recover. One mover was here yesterday with several pieces of furniture, and the United Van owner in the area will schedule the grandfather clock move the next time a big truck comes through the area with room for my clock.

    It’s interesting to feel less and less attached to these items and say, “They’re not part of my life, my style.” I hope my children are quicker to reach that mindset when something like this happens to me (knock wood).

    Happy New Year to each of you. May your tribulations be few!

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