continued . . .
Episode #4 Thanksgiving Surprise
The drive from New Orleans to Meridian was long. I probably slept most of the way. But, as we neared the house I was thinking about Sue. After the disgusting hugs from all the relatives, and the predictable, “how she’s grown,” comments, I wormed myself away, down the hall to the linen room. The oil lamps were all on. Sue wasn’t where I had left her. Perhaps Aunt Dee needed her hoop back . . . she must be in one of the cigar boxes. As I opened the boxes, I saw emptiness. Most of the shapes that I had cut, sorted and stored that summer were gone, along with my Sue. A voice from the hall asked, “What are you looking for?” “My Sue”, I replied. “Where is she?,” I inquired as I turned to face an empty doorway.
To the kitchen I went. Surely Granny would know. Too many people. Everyone busy. Can’t ask now, maybe later. I went out with the cousins to play in the yard until turkey time. It was good to see the boys, they were a lot of fun, but I could still out climb them in the trees. Sue didn’t enter my mind again until we were on the way home. Then I fell asleep, as young children tend to do in moving vehicles.
A couple of weeks later, I got a letter from my grandmother. She used an old fountain pen which she filled with a glass eye dropper. The pen I used had a little leaver on the side of the barrel, which, when pulled out, would press a bladder, slowly filling with ink as the leaver was allowed back in its place. The nib was different too, or perhaps the way she held the pen. She had an old fashioned penmanship. The lines were thin to heavy with the curves of the letters, then faint, as the ink ran dry. I could see where she had to refill the ink, but I couldn’t read the flowing, old style writing. I picked out a few words, Sue, happy, friends, scraps, but there was a lot in between which I couldn’t decipher. When Dad came home, I asked him to read the letter.
Granny wanted to know if I was happy with Sue and her friends on my new quilt. She had used all of the cloth we had gotten at the beginning of the summer, and said that I should collect the scraps that mom had from making my dresses, that way, we would have some nice new designs for the next quilt. I didn’t understand. Then, I learned a new expression, “Let the cat out of the bag.” Mom said that after Dad had read the letter. They got the quilt at Thanksgiving, but mom had put it away, and was going to give it to me on Twelfth Night. It was still pretty warm in New Orleans, and I didn’t really need a quilt now anyway. She retrieved the quilt from the closet and presented it to me somewhat unceremoniously. I clutched it to my chest and ran to my room in tears.
Behind the closed bedroom door, I gently unfolded the quilt. There, in the middle, was my Sue. She was beautiful, and so were her friends. Then a flood of tears began staining my cheeks again. I had her. I had my very first quilt block, but I didn’t do it all. I had not finished the block, only the applique. Someone else finished my project. It wasn’t fair. I wadded up the quilt and stuffed it on my closet floor. I think I skipped supper and pouted.
To be continued next Monday . . .
To read or re-read the story to this point:
episode #1 http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-89325-1.htm
episode #2 http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-91439-1.htm
episode #3 http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-93252-1.htm
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