Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ABC Wednesday - "M"


"M" is for Minnie Mouse Quilt



In 1939, when I was 5 years old, our family lived in El Paso, Texas. My mother had a dear friend, Mrs. Barney P., whom we children called "Mrs. Pahdough" because we couldn't properly pronounce her last name. I don't know for sure, but I think the P. family did not have children of their own, and sort of adopted me and my younger sister. But "Pahdough" and I especially loved each other. At some time that year, so that I could have my very own quilt, she made a series of twelve quilt blocks, each featuring Minnie Mouse, a Disney character that was all the rage at the time. Each Minnie is dressed in a different outfit, with a different umbrella, hat and shoes.

As fate would have it, our family moved from El Paso to New Mexico before the quilt could be constructed. My mamma kept the blocks put away in tissue paper, pending the day she would have time to make the quilt. In 1950, we moved to Arkansas, and the quilt blocks moved with us, sheltered safely in Mama's cedar chest.

Finally, in 1954, in the summer before I was married, the ladies of my mother's Sunday School class constructed a quilt using "Pahdough's" blocks, and it was given to me by my mother as a wedding present.


What does a 20 year old with her head in the clouds know about taking care of a hand-made quilt? I used it on my bed until my children were born, then it covered their beds in turn. It had milk and hot cocoa spilled on it; it went to the laundromat; it was used to wrap breakables when we moved. By the time I had sense enough to realize what a treasure I had, it was just about worn out.



But, wait.... it's the surrounding QUILT that's worn out... not the blocks, even though the colors are a bit faded (but not as much as I would expect from fabric 70 years old), a few of Minnie's ears have worn spots, and there are one or two places where the applique stitch is beginning to ravel. I still have hopes of carefully removing the blocks from the worn out pieces that hold them together, and having them reset into a quilt for a grandchild, or a great-grandchild.

(detail from a block)

In the meantime, the bed covering I have always called "Pahdough's" quilt is resting, wrapped in tissue in my own cedar chest.


ABC Wednesday was created by Mrs. Nesbitt. Please visit the ABC Wednesday site to view others' interpretations of this week's letter, "M."

30 comments:

RuneE said...

A fascinating story - and what is the point of having a quilt if it isn't used??? And in the way it was intended too.

Mara said...

What a lovely quilt! I hope you manage to make a beautiful new quilt out of it for your grandchildren. Good luck

Snap said...

Wonderful story and I love Minnie Mouse! And I love quilts. Batting 1000 today, Pat!

Patty said...

I think I would take a few of the quilt squares and have them framed behind glass and hang on my bedroom walls. Or give each grandchild a couple to hand on their walls.

Rena said...

Lovely story, what a special thing to have.

photowannabe said...

What a treasure you have. Its the original pie-eyed Minnie too. Shows it from the 30's. Hang on to it. Its wonderful.

Countrygirl said...

Beautiful story and quilt. Gramma made all of us beautiful quilts, but if you didn't use them - she wouldn't make another for you. Same with dish towels, pillow cases etc.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Pat... I love it. I'm so glad it finally got finished --and that you and your family enjoyed it. AND since the blocks are all okay--you just need to find someone who loves to repair old quilts. Someone (probably here online) would probably LOVE to re-quilt it for you. You need to get it fixed and then pass it on to your grandchildren...

Hugs,
Betsy

Arkansas Patti said...

Minnie traveled and served you well. What a nice story. Treasures like that deserve recognition and rememberence.

rhymeswithplague said...

I really like your Minnie Mouse quilt! I don't know which would be better, though, to completely remake the quilt or to take Patty's suggestions and frame a square for each grandchild.

Both are great ideas.

I'm no help at all.

Vicky said...

A beautiful m story of a memorable quilt. Thanks for sharing.

Tumblewords: said...

A special story - very special!

Denise said...

Wonderful post, so heartwarming and that's a family heirloom you have there, priceless!

jinksy said...

A treasure chest of a quilt and a story...

Reader Wil said...

What a great story, Pat! That is a very precious quilt! Good that you realized that it was so unique! Thanks for your visit and kind words,Pat!

rhymeswithplague said...

I want to apologize for splitting an infinitive in my earlier comment.

Rose said...

I LOVED this story...so many memories wrapped up in that quilt.

Dr.John said...

What a great quilt. I hope you can salvage it.

Suldog said...

Ah, well, it wouldn't be the same quilt without the milk spots and such. Wouldn't hold half as many memories, would it?

JC said...

Oh, what a wonderful treasure you have. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend.

Janie said...

What a beautiful quilt and great gift. I'm glad it has lasted through years of use so that it can be saved for the grandchildren.

pictureeachday said...

Oh my goodness, what beautifully done quilt squares! I agree with Suldog - you probably treasure the quilt even more for all the use it's gotten and all the memories it holds, don't you?

Lilli & Nevada said...

I don't quilt but love to see them. this is very good. I love the cartoon

david mcmahon said...

Simply beautiful, Pat - and (re: your previous post, I've never seen fringed tulips before)

Louise said...

This is a beautiful quilt and a wonderful story. I have one about that old (it was never intended for me),maybe just a little older, that is the same only yellow and the Minnie's are just girls. What history. Excellent post!

Marvin said...

What a wonderful story, Pat. I grew up with handmade quilts, but they were all more utilitarian.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a fabulous story...I had a quilt growing up of sun-bonnet girls...my mother used it when I was sick...I adored it...don't know what happened to it...your story brought back a wonderful memory for me! Absolutely delightful...great photos as well! Congrats on POTD!

lime said...

a treasure indeed. i come from a quilting family and such things are priceless. congrats on POTD

Jeannelle said...

Wonderful memories wrapped up in this quilt! I think Mrs. Pahdough would be happy to know you put the quilt to use, even if it gained a few stains over the years. Lovely post, Pat!

Jewels said...

Beautiful story! I too have a hand-made quilt, from my grandmother. It is ratty and torn in spots, but I'll treasure it always.