Sunday, September 26, 2021

Love Grows Here

 My September One Month Goal was to finish the wedding quilt for our niece Janna. 



"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It takes the effort of both individuals to foster, nurture and grow a marriage with these attributes.  And I believe that Janna and Justin are just the perfect couple to do this.  


When I began considering a design for their quilt I chose a heart... the symbol of love.  Janna and Justin had dated for a period of time, had gone their separate ways but continued to see each other within their circle of friends.  Eventually they were a couple again... with a stronger relationship with the Lord and with each other.

One of my favorite memories of Janna is from when she was just a toddler.  It was in the summer of 1995 when we had been in Illinois to assist with the cleaning out of my mother-in-law's condo after her passing away a few month earlier.

We were outside and there were some flower pots along their driveway. Janna found a green caterpillar.  She was excitedly telling us about how she found this "geen worm".  We asked "what did you do with the geen worm?"  She replied in her little toddler voice "I pud id in da pants."  With wide eyes we responded with "you put in your pants?  Why did you put the worm in your pants?"  


She emphatically stated "not my pants... the pants!" pointing to a flower pot sitting on the edge of the driveway.  "Oh!  The plants!"    

She is now a beautiful young woman, a follower of Christ and a student of law... ready to become a loving wife.

The words of wisdom I offer is "Do not view the wedding ceremony as the finish line of the relationship.  It is the just the beginning!"  


I had my fair share of challenges as I tried to finish this gift, though I pressed on despite them.  This quilt has my blood, sweat, tears and prayers stitched into every square inch!  (Don't worry... the blood washed out!)  I forgot to switch thread colors, not just once, but twice!  But it didn't really matter in the end...  

I went in search of a flower garden for the photo shoot and am in love with what I got.  This particular shot captured the detail of the feathers as well as the vines and leaves...


What words of wisdom would you offer to a couple about to marry?

Leave a comment!  I'd love to hear from you...

Stay Pieceful,

Melva

Linking with:

One Month Goal at Elm Street Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail - Comfort Of Home



In the words of Marion Russell...

The spring of 1860 found us still in Fort Leavenworth.  It also brought to us the first, faint rumblings of civil war.  We heard much talk of the Fugitive Slave Act, the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Decision, and the John Brown Raid.  Perhaps mother grew tired of hearing so much of the nation's unrest.  Perhaps like Will and me, she was just homesick for the west.  One morning when we three were eating breakfast at a small round table and Will and I were talking about the wonders of Santa Fe, she pushed her chair back quickly and stood up to say, "Keep still!  I am as homesick as you are.  I can stand no more of this talk of the plaza.  We are going west again as soon as ever I can get passage in a wagon train for us."

Will and I whooped.  We ate no more breakfast, for we were too happy.  I remember saying that if I ever got back in sight of the mountains I would never leave.  I was to discover that for many years, perhaps never, I was not to be master of my destiny.  It seems I have always had to go where others lead me.  Even today I wait in land not of my choosing.  I wait, as I wait, I keep thinking of that land of dim distance and long silence.

Mother said that perhaps this time we would go to Sutter's Fort stopping a while in Santa Fe, of course.  We secured passage this time in a large Government train of two-hundred wagons.  The wagon master was a Mr. Hamilton.  The train was sufficiently large that we did not feel much fear of the Indians, beside that Uncle Sam had been busy erecting forts along the trail.  At these forts soldiers were stationed to protect the traveling public.  By this time I felt quite grown-up for I was fifteen and Will was seventeen.  

I was now old enough to help mother with the camp cooking and, since she had no boarders this time, she too, enjoyed the trip more.  Sometimes I walked by the side of the wagon with Will and the driver.  Frequently, I sat by my mother on the high spring seat of the wagon and crocheted diligently.  I made four yards of fine, white lace to edge my someday-to-be bridal petticoat.

At last the brakes of the Missouri lay behind us and our white ships were sailing across the wide sea of grass.  At Council Grove we spent the Sabbath.  The grocery-man did not remember me, for I had grown tall.  I wore a long dress, and braids of brown hair were coiled coronet fashion around my head.  He did remember Mother the moment that he saw her alight from the wagon, and he came with both hands outstretched to meet her.  We camped by the store that night and I remember how a Kaw Indian came and traded the grocery-man a shaggy red pony for a sack of white bolted flour.  While we stood watching another Kaw came and the grocery-man traded him the pony for a buffalo hide filled with yellow Indian corn.

Illustration by James Waitling
The buffalo were still numerous.  Sometimes we had to take pains to avoid them.  The country here was so level that we could see for miles in all directions and the sun seemed to come up or go down like a great yellow disk right into or out of the earth.  Sometimes we heard a noise like thunder and then a great herd of wild horses would swoop past us.  Wild horses were becoming quite common.  They were descendants of horses that had been stolen from wagon trains along the Santa Fe and Oregon trails.  Each herd was led by a stallion.

This trip across the plains we did not follow the Cimarron Cut-off but went by the way of Raton Pass and Bent's Stockade.  Bent's Stockade was a sort of gathering place for the hunters and trappers.  It was a bit like a present day country auction.  A white man would  hold up something he wanted to trade.  The Indians would crowd around and do a lot of grunting.  Then one of them would step forward and offer a blanket or a buffalo robe in exchange.  The market for beads was not so brisk.  The Indians now wanted guns and gunpowder.  The more Indians present the better the trading, and for that reason there were always Indians lounging around Bent's Stockade.

One evening at sunset we found ourselves on the banks of the Purgatoire River, where the town of Trinidad, Colorado now stands.  Our trail led us past a tall white bluff where an Indian stood, tall and straight watching our wagons ford the river.  Along the southern bank ran a buffalo trail, and a log jacal (usually a brush shelter built to protect against wind, storm or sun) stood there among the brush and cedars.  The tall white bluff where the Indian stood we call today "Simpson's Rest," in honor of an old pioneer whose grave is there.  The old jacal was replaced in later years by the Cardenas Hotel.  Many adobe houses were to spring up along the trail where our covered wagons camped that evening in 1860.  I remember how I lay that night and looked out across the shining ford of the Purgatoire river into the moon-drenched country across which we had traveled.  I did not realize then that I would end my days in Trinidad beneath that tall bluff; that often when sleep defied me I would look at that same moon-drenched country and remember that camp of covered wagons.

Next morning while more than a hundred little breakfast fires were sending spirals of blue smoke heavenward, two Mexicans came from among the scrub cedar leading a little burro laden with venison.  I remember how gladly we traded gunpowder for venison.  We were not permitted to trade guns or gunpowder to the Indians.

Breaking camp while it was still early, our cavalcade began the steep and tortuous ascent of the Raton Pass.  Today we glide easily over hairpin curves that in 1860 meant broken axles and crippled horses.  The trail was a faint wheel mark winding in and out over the fallen trees and huge boulders.  Midday found us only a little way above the present site of Morley, Colorado.  Our horses were jaded and tired, six of our wagons had broken axles.  We made camp where a little icy cold spring bubbled by the wayside.  We rested, ate and tried to repair some of the damage done to our wagons.

I always remember the smell of the wild choke-cherry and the pungent odor of pine that greeted us that first morning.  To our left lay what we call today "Fisher's Peak," but what we knew then as Raton Mountain.  They said that great mountain side was infested with a specie of great, grey packrat known no place else.  The mountain was called by the early day Mexicans "Rat Mountain."

Once more we came to Fort Union and found Captain W.R. Shoemaker ordinance officer there.  He was esteemed and respected by both the civilian and military population.  His worth has been commemorated by naming the beautiful canyon on the Mora River east of Fort Union, Shoemaker Canyon, in his honor.

Marion found comfort in her memory... "I remember how I lay that night and looked out across the shining ford of the Purgatoire river into the moon-drenched country across which we had traveled.  I did not realize then that I would end my days in Trinidad beneath that tall bluff; that often when sleep defied me I would look at that same moon-drenched country and remember that camp of covered wagons."  


Simpson's Rest (with the Trinidad sign a top it)... There is a family connection and history with the Trinidad sign (are you surprised?).  My Great-Grandfather lead the first crew to install and electrify that sign! 


Fishers Peak (now a State Park) 


and Morley are prominent land marks in my area.  The picture of Fishers Peak was taken from our front yard.  The ascent over Raton Pass is not nearly as treacherous as when Marion made it, but it does often cause issues when we have heavy rain and of course in the winter with snow and ice.  

Marion lived out her life west of Trinidad in the beautiful Stonewall Valley... yet her heart remained in Santa Fe and on the Trail ~ Where your heart lies is where you find comfort ~ the Comfort of Home.


The modern day comforts of home are much different than Marion's.  And the modern day conveniences are often under appreciated.  But tell me...  

What is one thing that brings you comfort?

Stay Pieceful!

Melva

Get your pattern, make your block and then share it!  Don't forget to use the hashtags #PiecesoftheSantaFeTrail #PiecesoftheTrail #PiecesoftheTrailSewAlong and tag me on instagram @MelvaLovesScraps or share to my fb page Melva Loves Scraps.  
 
Be sure to come back and link up your block for a chance to win a fat quarter too!

Linking with:

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
BOMS Away at Katie Mae Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy



Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Pieces Coming Together


Slowly... ever so slowly, the pieces for my book are coming together and with each step I am crossing things off on my list.

The pages were resized, but that caused problems with the layout.  The document went from 116 pages to 140+.  **Sigh**  I made all of the necessary adjustment and followed the steps to embed the fonts and convert to a .PDF document.  However... something did not work correctly **Grrrrr** and I have yet to upload the file.  One more appointment made with my "lifeline" for the tech support with this problem has been made.  Keep your fingers crossed and whisper a little prayer with me for success Tuesday afternoon.  


The girlfriends arrived on Thursday afternoon... Sue and I were discussing some of our favorite Netflix shows and decided to introduce Julie to Virgin River.  She's hooked!  She went home and MADE her husband and daughter watch the first episode and now they are hooked as well.  LOL!

✔  Finish quilting the borders and binding of the wedding quilt.

❧The quilt is has been laundered and is ready for a photo shoot!



We toured around town and enjoyed a few gift shops.

On Friday night we enjoyed an evening out at the local theatre.  "Murder on Main Street" was a fun murder-mystery that the audience got to participate by asking suspects questions and then solve the murder. 

We didn't solve the case correctly, but the director of the play/event was impressed with Julie's detailed answer and suggested she "help with the next one".  Haha!

Dave returned home safely, tired and empty-handed.  He and his hunting partner didn't see a single elk, only three deer and 30+ hunting camps in the area.  No wonder they didn't see anything!  None the less, I was happy to have him home and the girls didn't mind that he returned early.  The timing was actually for the better as Jules wasn't feeling up to par and Sue had a family member that needed her help a day earlier than she had planned.  All's well that ends well. 💗


✔  Start the t-shirt memory quilt for the college softball coach.  All blocks have been trimmed to size and on the design wall.  I have all of the fabric needed for the sashing strips, border, binding and backing.  

❧  I will get the top completed and sandwiched this week.  But the quilting of it will wait until I ❧ get at least one of the two quilt tops for my favorite and best customer. 

In my time alone and time in conversation with my friends as well as the current Bible Devotion/Study I am doing I have realized that some of my priorities had become a bit mixed up and out of order and I think that has been a large part of the problem with my messy melt-downs, frustrations and mood swings.  I've been overwhelmed... and simply kept trying harder and harder.  Like the little engine that could... "I think I can, I think I can."  Yet the harder I tried, the more frustrated I felt as challenge after challenge has come at me.  I was feeling defeated, tired, frustrated, angry, unworthy and like a failure.  The fun in life had been sucked out of me.

I am resetting the boundaries of "work" and setting weekends aside for creating and quilting for me.  I am also reducing the amount of time spent on the computer/tablet.  Dave is making a similar reset.  It will be a challenge since both of us have used social media for our business, but not impossible.  Prayers appreciated as we do this!

What tips and suggestions do you have to help make such adjustments in life?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay Calm and Keep Piecing,

Melva

Linking with:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch



Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thankful Thursday

I have shared how the last few weeks have been a bit stressful and chaotic but I am here to say that I have been reminded multiple times of just how blessed I am.  Here's what I am thankful for...


Good Friends:
  In the previous post (Tests in Patience) I told you about how I had friends that joined me on Friday (the day Dave was supposed to have left for hunting) for breakfast and some at-home pedicures.  The conversation was good for my mind, heart and soul.


Check-ins:
  The thoughts, prayers and messages from those checking in on me while home alone have meant so much to me!  Some bonus and unexpected messages that came through were from Dave.  On Monday night I got the best one!  It had an incredible amount of love and sentiment behind it... "Here are some flowers for you."  Sadly, it was shortly followed by one that said "The picture won't send."  

He was finally successful when he sent the picture on Wednesday morning. 🎕  


Produce:
  While I was picking up the truck from the repair shop I made a detour to a local produce market for some tomatoes and chilies to make home-made salsa.  This is something that Dave and I have done together for a bunch of years.  In fact, it was how we spent our first anniversary!  He will be missed, but once again... I have friends backing me up!  

With the help of Laura and Joella the produce was diced lickety split and simmering before we knew it!  Start to finish, including clean up, it took only two hours to create 15 pints.  YUM!  

Dave doesn't have to worry though... He hasn't missed all of the fun since I only picked up a small portion of what we usually get.


BTW, the repair shop found nothing wrong with the truck.  No sign of electrical issues in the codes they collected in the diagnosis.  🤦

Book and Technical Support: I will be converting my document for the Pieces From The Past book into the .PDF file WITH embedded fonts and the correct page size this morning.  I am thinking that once it is properly uploaded and an order placed, the entire world will hear the news because I will whooping and hollering and dancing in the streets!  

Little Things:  Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen, not to voices but to the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity. And then, in some unexplained way, we share it with others.  ~ Gladys Taber

These are some of the things I have so desperately missed by not getting away... the sound of water rushing over stones... the whisper of the wind in the pine needles...

But now I am filled with peace and serenity after spending a few special days with plenty of time by myself yet totally surrounded by friends and loved ones who believe in me, supported me and reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for.  And this week that has been filled with blessings still isn't over!  I have more girlfriends that will be arriving tomorrow.  I'll be doing some big-stitch binding on the wedding quilt as we visit.

What are some of your favorite calming sounds?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay Piece-ful,

Melva

 Linking with:

Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Tests in Patience



Finally!  Finally... 60 hours later than had been originally planned. Two hunters pulled out of the driveway on their way for the muzzle loading season.  Delay after delay and change in plans after change in plans.  From a total cancellation to a salvage.  Is it it on?  Is it off?  Are you going? Are you not?  When?  What's the plan?  Are you taking the camper?  Are you going to be hiking in to camp? And the answer from Dave, which I grew very tired of hearing, was always "I don't know."  And every time I heard it my anxiety escalated. 

My mind and heart were immediately at ease when I finally got an answer other than I don't know.  The answer was I am loading the camper...  I snapped this picture as he was asking "are you happy now?"  I don't think he really understood what I was feeling... I even managed to get through our good bye without tears!  YES!  I am happier  now. 


The group went from five hunters down to two for a variety of reasons.  The one "left standing" had electrical issues with his truck that turned a 13+ hour drive into a 24 hour journey.  But finally... 60 hours later two great white hunters headed out.  




❧  And finally... I am ready to settle in and have a few quiet days before some friends come for a visit.  I am looking forward to some "therapy time" and the opportunity to finish the borders and binding of the wedding quilt.  

✔  But first, I had to get the truck into the shop for the electrical repair while they are out in the great wild.

Not much has changed since last week...


Before the chaos of the trip plans (or lack of plans) hit last week I did make some progress in the grant application.  I also had success in getting the "fatal errors" repaired in the .PDF file for the book.  Even though I will need to do it again since my proof-reader returned the rough draft but now I know where to go and how to do it.  I'll be working on the suggested changes and corrections, creating the index page and cover and getting the final touches on everything before uploading for printing.  This is SO exciting!  I'll keep you posted on the progress.

❧  I still need to start the t-shirt memory quilt for the college softball coach who recently lost his sister.  I did figure out the layout so when I am ready to start cutting out the graphics for the blocks I can roll quickly.

❧  Still in queue are two more quilt tops for my favorite and best customer. 


While I was trying my very best to enjoy the extra time I got with my guy because of the delays and hold myself together I had a great circle of support helping me keep it together.  Just as elephants can sense stress and reach out to comfort and caress the elephant in distress, I had friends spend a few hours with me to enjoy breakfast and at-home pedicures.

And I have another circle of friends that will be with me later this week.  

Just where would I be with out my friends???  I'm pretty sure I would be a puddle of mush probably sitting in a corner with the movie Message In A Bottle on replay for days on end. 

How about you?  
How do you help out a friend in distress?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you.

Keep piecing and stay peaceful,

Melva

Linking with:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch

Monday, September 6, 2021

Pieces of the Past Has a Life of Its Own

Why, oh why, do I do this to myself???  And what exactly have I gotten myself into???  What started out as a fun project that would bring my love for quilting and some letters from some former German Prisoners of War written to my Grandparents is taking on, what I consider, a life of its own!

The sew along was great fun.  The research of history and collecting of personal family stories that I shared with the release of each of the vintage patterns collected by my Grandma was interesting and fun as well.  The writing and development of those vintage patterns was fun too!  The opportunity to hear from others around the world as I shared the letters, history, recipes and stories was priceless!

Oh, let me start over... My Mom is a local history lover - probably where I get my love for it as well.  She is a member of the local Historical Society and they hold an annual dinner that features a speaker that presents a program on some local site or major event. The dinner this year is November 5th and I was invited by the Society to offer a program about the Trinidad POW Camp and share the letters and history that I published here on Melva Loves Scraps during the sew along.  All in all, not a big deal.  They would like for me to have a book for sale at the event.  

I'll admit, when I wrote the letter requesting permission to use the Kansas City Star Journal patterns the idea of a published quilting book was exciting.  Though, I never really thought I would have much to do with it because it would be "handled" by the publisher.  And... 
I did create a book on Shutterfly this year.  It includes all of the content I shared, except for the patterns.  (I was granted permission by C&T Publishing to share the patterns on-line, but they were very clear that they had to be offered at no cost.)  


The book that I created on Shutterfly is a special keepsake that I had wanted to create, but it was far from cheap but worth every penny in my mind.  Just as the finished quilt is invaluable to me.


The Historical Society has used a local copy shop to print and bind smaller books at a very reasonable price.  The proof-reading copy of my book was not as reasonable as I had hoped ($40+) and it was the content only.  No cover.  No index.  No reference citation pages. No binding.  I have a lead on a new source that looks like it has great potential with very reasonable costs (less than $30).  All I have to do is simply upload the .PDF file.  

At least I won't break the bank getting an initial printing done.  Of course, there is the question, "How many do I print?"  

Things are looking good!  Ummmm.... NOPE!  The error message I got indicated that "The Fatal Errors" need to be corrected... and there are A LOT OF THEM!  Mostly issues with fonts that are not recognizable, but seriously... WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO??? 

It was suggested that I apply for a grant with a private foundation that provides support to local communities and service organizations of the Purgatoire Valley and they have assisted with similar projects for the Historical Society.  Now for sure I won't break the bank getting the initial printing done!  All is good... but the deadline is September 30.  My grant application must be submitted under a current 501(c)3... the Historical Society has one... they don't meet until September 29.  I have been assured that there is time to get the necessary vote for allowing me to use their Non-profit status, and receive the needed documentation from the Society so that I can submit all of the requested and necessary information in by the deadline.

I have two months before the dinner and presentation but only about a month to get everything figured out.

As I sort out all of the details for the book and the program, I'm going to be in serious need of some quilting therapy!  I am fortunate that I have plenty of that to do too.  


❧The wedding quilt will be quilted this week... I'll get the fabric for the binding on order.  There's a whole story about this one, but I have rambled on long enough about the book thing so I will wait to share when it is done.

❧I will then start a t-shirt memory quilt for the college softball coach who recently lost his sister.  She was one of his biggest supporters and he wants a quilt containing the various softball shirts she wore whenever she attended the games in support of him.

❧Also in queue are two more quilt tops for my favorite and best customer. 

Have you ever printed a book?  

Do you have any suggestions or pit-falls that I need to know about?

Would you be interested in a copy of the book?

Leave a comment.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Stay calm and keep quilting,

Melva

Linking with: 

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail - Grandmother's Block


 

In the words of Marion Russell...

It was late in November before mother got us in school in Leavenworth.  This time she sent me to a Young Ladies Seminary that was conducted by a Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Luther.  Mother had said, "I want you to go to a Protestant school this time.  You must not grow lop-sided in a religious way.  You have received training under the Catholics, now I want you to go to a Protestant school.  When you are grown-up you may choose for yourselves."

I was far enough advanced to attend the classes taught by Reverend Luther himself.  The lower grades were taught by Mrs. Luther.  Reverend Luther was a tall, lank man with a quantity of fair hair combed down on each side of his face that made his long features seem longer still.  At recess the pupils from both rooms would play together, watched over either by Reverend or his small, fat dumpling of a wife.  The green lawn sloped down to a white picket fence and here we gathered to play in a rough and tumble fashion at recess.

One game we loved was leap frog and the leapingest little frog of us all was Zeraldi.  Sometimes today I seem to feel the grasp of Zeraldi Mimm's hands on my shoulder; feel her warm, little body go hurtling over me.  In later years Zeraldi became the wife of the notorious Jesse James.  When newspapers all over the land were recounting, the wild, bad deeds of that Jesse, my heart would ache for his wife.  

Brother Will did not enter school this year.  It was necessary that he help mother a bit with the living.  Will was a big boy now.  He was past thirteen and going on fourteen.  He obtained employment in the newspaper office of the Leavenworth Times.  The editor of that paper was Colonel Anthony, brother of Susan B. Anthony.  Colonel Anthony became interested in my studious brother and did much to help him carry on his education.  Will said that Colonel Anthony told him that if one would always work a little harder and with determination and intelligence, no goal was too high for him.  Always Will had taken a more than normal interest in religion, although he had not been content to become a Catholic.  Yet I do remember how he was always repeating some of Father Lamy's inspired words.

Not long after our return to Fort Leavenworth mother received a telegram that her mother who lived in Orangeville, Ohio, was dying.  The message said, "Come at once."  Mother and I made ready for another steamboat ride up the Mississippi.  This time our boat was a stern-wheeler called the "Florilda."  It, too, resembled a Dutch windmill in full motion.  Mother and I were no sooner aboard than a man began running about among the passengers saying, "All those who have not paid their fares, please step up to the Captain's office and do so."  He made quite a merry song of it and pretty soon I was following him up and down the deck singing too.  I have a vivid remembrance of the boat pulling out into the middle of the turgid stream and of hearing singing from wharves along the bank.

When we were half way to Orangeville the Florilda struck a snag in the river bed.  Water began rushing in from a great hole in the bottom.  The Captain hastily disembarked all his passengers on an island mid-stream.  Then the little stern-wheeler was dragged out and repairs were in order.  I remember how mother paced up and down on that island, impatient  at the delay and anxious to be with her dying mother.  I remember how the mosquitoes feasted on us and how a fire was kept going for relief from them.  By the time we reached Orangeville death had preceded us.

A long black coffin stood on trestles in the front parlor.  Grandmother St. Clair lay there with her yellow hands folded, her wrinkled yellow face turned to the pillow as if sleeping.  We had our breakfast in the kitchen and folks kept coming and going.  They were all dressed in black like Catholic sisters, yet not one of them looked at me.  Not one of them spoke to me.  Something vital had gone from my mother's face.  Her wide eyes were grief-stricken.  I laid my head down on the oil-cloth-covered table and  wept.  If this was death I wanted none of it.

I remembered the trappers on the Santa Fe Trail and how we had wrapped them in clean sheets and sung songs over them.  I remembered how God had stood in the blue sky above us and held the two trappers in His arms tenderly.  As I let the tears run down my small nose onto the oil-cloth covered table I prayed, "Dear God, when I die let me be out on the trail, under the blue, blue sky."  Strange that I still find myself at times repeating the prayer of my childhood.  This conventional death where one sent yellow telegrams saying, "Come at once," and where folks went around all dressed in black without speaking or smiling, did not appeal to me; it still does not.  Our trip back down the river was not a happy one.  There were hours at a time when little mother did not know I was living.  Of course I know now of what she was thinking.

So four years went by in Leavenworth and I am eleven, then twelve, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen.  Long years filled with the lust of young life and with growing.  In the acquisition of more or less useless knowledge, soon to be forgotten, my childhood passed way.

The passing of Marion's Grandmother influenced my choice in this block ~ Grandmother's Block...  A simple two-color block emphasizing the contrast of Marion's pleasant childhood memories with those memories that seemed to have robbed her of her innocence.  The only cautionary item of note with this block is that you very carefully press this block because of the bias edges on the outside edges of the block.  Using some spray starch before making the diagonal cuts may help with preventing this block from getting skewed and wonky.



It appeared that Marion lost her childhood very quickly.  Her recollection of playing leap frog took me back to my own elementary school playground and the time spent playing on the monkey bars, the jungle gym, slides, teeter totter and swings.  I recalled my own days of playing jacks and jump rope.  Leap frog was never really an option for outside on the play ground because of the abundance of stickers that occupied the grounds.

What were some of your favorite games to play at recess?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay Pieceful,

Melva

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