This week, instead of a reminiscent story about the 60s and 70s, I want to share my latest heirloom creation with you all. In previous blogs I’ve mentioned that both of my parents have left this world and that they are deeply missed by the whole family. In observance of my nephew’s college graduation, I wrote the following letter and sent a copy of it along with a set of pillows to each grandchild.
Dear Griffith grandchildren,
It seems that the important days, holidays, and special occasions are the times we miss our loved ones the most. We all miss Nana and Papaw Griffith to the point of tears—this graduation is one of those times.
You know me—always looking for the symbolic and sentimental in everything—I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I could make for a graduation gift and, hopefully in the process, give us all something for comfort when the tears come. What to do, what to do?
I pulled out almost everything in my sewing closet, looking for the perfect thing. Finally, in one of the boxes, I found a small paper bag filled with quilt pieces and cardboard patterns cut from a cereal box —Johnny Unitas on a Wheaties box to be exact. More than 50 years ago, Nana cut out the girl pieces, fully intending to eventually have enough for a whole quilt, but there were only 4 girls started and only one of those finished on muslin. So I used the pattern to make the 4 boys, using fabric from Papaw’s favorite shirts. And then I appliquéd all of the little Dutch kids onto pillows. *Note: Look close and you can see Nana’s tiny hand stitching around the edge of the finished girl. On the other girls you might see rusted pinholes—that’s from a straight pin holding them together for years in Indiana humidity. And, notice the “Big Dog” on the boys’ shoes—that’s how Papaw referred to himself. See, sentimental and symbolic!
I know that only the oldest of you remembers Nana, but I also know that she loves ALL of you more than you can ever imagine. And Papaw always made arrangements to be with you on your special days—just think, it’s sooo much easier for him to do so now. So, I’m sending these pillows to you because I want all of you (all of us) to realize and take comfort in knowing…. Whether it’s a graduation or a marriage or the perfect job or a dream come true—any time you feel like celebrating no matter how big or small—Nana and Papaw Griffith are there along with the rest of us, laughing and applauding and celebrating with you!
I love you.
It’s been nice chatting with you all. I look forward to hearing from you soon—Over the Back Fence. Tell me your ideas about turning your memories into keepsakes. I’d love to help!