Saturday, October 18, 2008


So, last night got cold. With no heat it is amazing how fast a house can get cold. It doesn't help that this is a very old little farmhouse which could probably do with new insulation. We take so many things for granted, like flipping a switch and there is hot air. I feel bad about being such a baby last night. This morning was a reality check for me in how blessed we are. The heat finally did come on right at midnight and it was quite toasty this morning.

Last night I grabbed an old quilt out of my quilt basket and wrapped up in it. Abbie had her blanket and we snuggled for awhile and had girl talk as Abbie calls it. She mostly just told me about who did what at Bible Study and we wondered how the boys were fairing. This old quilt was made by my maternal great-grandmother, Etha Ellen Porter. She died when I was about two so I don't remember her at all. But I have her quilt. It is faded and soft and worn and just right for cuddling up on cold nights. It even smells old, but I like that. I really did think about her last night and her making that quilt. I wonder how long it took her. I wondered if she was making it for a specific person or just to have an extra. I wondered if she liked quilting or if it was something that had to be done.

My family was not rich, not even middle class. They were very poor and picked cotton and other people's crops to make a living. When my maternal grandmother was a young mother she had to haul water from the creek every morning to drink and wash with. My maternal grandfather was a coal miner and a carpenter. Although things got much better for them (Hey Grandaddy, I hope you drew my name for Christmas!!! He always goes over the money limit!), they did not always have a lot. My dad's father was a prison guard and his family would go to Florida each year to pick tomatoes to add to the income. My daddy says it would be so cold in their house it would be hard to sleep.

So, I wonder about Etha Ellen. What her daily life was compared to mine and how she probably would not have complained because the furnace did not work for one night. And I wonder if she ever thought that one day her great-great-granddaughter Abbie would wrap up in one of her quilts.


  1. I love that, sitting there thinking about your family history. I'm a history nut and spend large portions of family vacation time dragging my family to pioneer exhibits and talking about the lives of those who settled our country. If you think about how much we have now, compared to hauling water from a creek, it is truely amazing! Sweet, sweet memories!

  2. Etha Ellen. . .I like that name! And I like quilts! (Wish I could do one!)

    My favorite quilt was made by Mother's mother. So that would be my step-grandmother. Her name was Cora, probably the same time period! :-)

  3. Aww, you made me cry. Grandmother told me a bunch of stories one day. I'll have to make sure to tell you about her. And as a sometime quiltmaker, I can tell you that it probably took her a while - since she made hers by hand.