Bloganuary Post for January 4: A Treasure That I Have Lost

[Bloganuary is hosted by WordPress. A new topic is presented each day during January. I’m a day behind.]

When my father, who lived in Tucson, died in 2016, there were three things I wanted from his estate: a bed-sized quilt I’d made for him, a lap quilt my youngest son had made for him, and a scrapbook of photos I’d made for him filled with pictures of him and my sons.

I got two out of three.

Dad’s quilt with a white background in the focus fabric and a dark blue border

The quilt made for my father arrived first. Years before, on a visit north, my father had gone into a fabric store with me on purpose. Maybe it’s a cliché but most men don’t follow women into fabric stores. My husband always sits in the car. I had a friend whose husband always sat in the car and sometimes napped while she bought material. But my father wasn’t a sit-in-the-car kind of guy. Once on an afternoon jaunt along Lake Superior, I stopped at a yarn shop, and my father came inside with me. He found something to like in that store–the owner’s dogs. While I perused the yarn, they chatted about their dogs.

After I picked out some lovely woodsy, snowy themed material in the quilt shop, my father offered to pay for it. He didn’t say, “Make me a quilt.” The gift came with no threads attached. But in that moment, I knew I’d make him a quilt out of the material. A few days later, I bought a second set of the same fabric in a different color scheme, and I made two quilts, one for him and one for me. I thought about the quilts as a gift of connectedness: he had one and I had one.

Weeks later the quilt my son made for his grandpa arrived. It was late coming because at first no one could find it. I wanted my son to have the quilt. On his own he’d decided to make his grandpa a quilt. He picked out a focus fabric with an airplane motif because his grandpa had a small private plane, which he used every summer to fly from Tucson to Wisconsin to visit us.

The airplane quilt

The making of the airplane quilt was a joint effort between my son and me when he was about twelve. He selected the material, chose a design, and sewed the squares together. I cut the squares using a rotary cutter. If you’ve ever seen or used a rotary cutter for quilting, you will understand why you don’t put one in the hands of a child. When the quilt top was finished, I machine quilted it and put a binding on it. During one of my father’s summer visits, my son gave his grandpa the quilt, who most fittingly put it in his plane when he left and few it home.

The scrapbook of photos never arrived. No one ever found it. I made it for my father around 2005. I wasn’t into scrapbooking, but I had a friend who made gorgeous eye-candy scrapbooks to memorialize family vacations. When I was a child, a scrapbook had plain white pages and people taped or glued articles, photos, ticket stubs, and other flat mementos in them. I have one I made when I was a teenager after my trip to Europe. But scrapbooking had evolved, and people used decorative papers, elaborate stickers, and fancy stick-on letters to create themed pages, which were slipped into plastic sleeves then inserted into a binder.

I made one of those upscale, themed, gorgeous eye-candy, fancy scrapbooks for my father. I filled it with pictures of him and his grandsons. Pictures of him holding them as babies. Pictures of them fishing with him. Pictures of them with him when we visited Tucson. And, most sentimentally, the pictures I took each year of him and his grandsons in front of his plane, just before we stepped away and he climbed inside. We’d listen to him yell “clear” before he started the engine. We’d watch him taxi to the runway then take off. We’d stand on the ground and wave, and my father would tip his wings back and forth, waving goodbye to us.

The scrapbook is a treasure gone missing. No one is sure what happened to it. One year my father, who lived in a raised ranch, had water damage in the lower level in an area where he stored a lot of stuff that had to be thrown away. Maybe the scrapbook was part of the flood.

I have copies of all the photos, but it’s not the same. In the scrapbook, those remembrances were gathered in one place. I wanted to be able to open the scrapbook and wander through those collected memories of my father with his grandsons. I could’ve made another scrapbook, but I haven’t. I think of the one I made for my father as perfect, something I couldn’t replicate.

But I use the quilt I made for him on my bed. The gift-of-connectedness quilt that I made for myself hangs on the quilt rack in my family room.

My quilt with a tan background in the focus fabric
and a sage green border

11 thoughts on “Bloganuary Post for January 4: A Treasure That I Have Lost

  1. I hope the scrapbook reappears one day. Sewing is fun for me but I just don’t have the patience for quilting. Since I prefer quick and simple projects I guess I’m more of an instant gratification kind of girl. My daughter enjoys quilting though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love story all around. Love to me is time spent with someone, and quilts do that in the making , the giving, and the the using. I especially like the son making one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminded me of a collaborative effort my son and I did when he was twelve, for his grandfather.
    A very touching story, memory, and quilts are one of my favorite things. Thank you!

    Like

  4. Hi Vicki,This story of the quilts bring all sorts of things to mind since I have a few cherished ones from grandparents, handmade. But it made me recall something that now I want to post on my blog, and I hope I can include your link in my post. I love the fact you and your son took time, and he had the interest to do something so special for his grandpa. Sally Showalter https://writerswrites.com/

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/telling-tales-and-sharing-secrets-jackie-collins/1141757985?ean=9781639884629

    Like

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