Friday, November 8, 2013

"Oatmeal and Brown Sugar"

We officially kicked off the 2014 Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS this week and it has been a very special week.  When we receive your boxes we truly do get excited to see what treasures are inside.  This week, like many before, has been an extremely touching one. 

This is the first quilt that was sent to us for the 2014 Challenge year and it comes from a wife who lost her husband to ALS.  H.J. Martin of Concord, California donated this quilt in memory of her husband Jimmie who passed away in 2002 with ALS.
J.H. writes, "I hope and pray for anyone that has ALS and someday a cure for this."  And then we
opened the second quilt of the new challenge year...
...another wife who lost a husband to ALS.  Irene Norton of Vacaville, California made this quilt in memory and honor of her first husband Richard who passed away in 2000.  Irene writes, "I have made everyone in the family a quilt except him.  So this is his."  We realized this year, the 5th Anniversary of the Hopes & Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS, is going to be different when we open the third quilt of the 2014 Challenge Year. 

The package came from Australia and when we opened it we all just took a deep breath.  This time the quilt was made and donated by a daughter who lost her Mom to ALS.   Melissa Tahu reflected on how her mother used to quilt and made she and her siblings quilts - which they continue to use today.  Her mom passed away of ALS on July 1st of this year and Melissa writes, "I feel closest to my Mum when I'm wrapped up in one of her quilts, and I hope that you find the same love and comfort under this quilt, this gift from me to you."

We confess.  These stories have moistened our eyes and tugged our hearts.

And then came "Oatmeal and Brown Sugar."

Trying to describe the overwhelming love that accompanies these quilts is nearly impossible.  The above taupe and brown and ivory quilt was sent to us by Edith Huffman in West Columbia, Texas.  It's best that we let Edith explain this quilt:

"When I joined the local quilt guild I right away noticed a funny lady that always sat in the front row and lit up the room with her participation. Celeste and I soon became friends and then neighbors!

We shared quilting and gardening ideas. I have a thriving shrub out my window, one she suggested. As roommates at quilt retreats, we'd lay awake at night and tell stories about our children and grandchildren. We watched mine being born and hers growing into young adults.

Then she had a "back injury" that lead to foot drop, then the diagnosis of ALS. I remember her coming home from the doctor visit trying to be brave and keeping smiling. "It's time to clean out this house," she said. First the attic, then the closets, labeling and distributing her memories to family members.

She finished quilts then started cleaning out "The Stitchery." She signed books over to me and had me divide fabric between quilting friends. Then she gave me a quilt top. The quilt became 'Oatmeal and Brown Sugar'. Oatmeal, because as her husband said, "She was so conservative with color." The brown sugar, because I will remember her as warm and sweet.


Celeste never saw the quilt completed, but she had consented for it to be donated to ALS, from Celeste and her friend Edith.  God Bless, enjoy the quilt, and try to be brave."

American Science Fiction Writer Robert Heinlein wrote, "Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."  What boxes of love we have opened and are so blessed to be able to open in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Your Grateful Hopes & Dreams Coordinator


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