Imagine taking everything you own in all your closets and drawers to the dry cleaners at once and having them delivered back to your home. Last summer after my Aunt Liz had died, if you recall, the basement of her home flooded and then a week later one of the fans drying out the lower level caught fire and caused smoke damage to the entire two story house. The cleaning company, provided by the insurance company. took all the window coverings, contents of the closets and drawers, window treatments, and even yard goods, and sent them to the dry cleaners. EVERY SINGLE ITEM was returned on a separate hanger – even each handkerchief! They bundled approximately 10 hangers into each dry cleaning bag. This was the scene this past Sunday: my cousin Pat invited my sister, my cousin Linda and me to Aunt Liz's house— hoping we would each take a bunch of things—and we sat on chairs in each bedroom and sorted through two full closets, plus shopping bags and boxes from the dry cleaners. Pat would open a dry cleaner bag and hold up each item and each of us could say, “I would like that,” or “No thanks” or sometimes, "What is it?!" It was all very peaceful – and exhausting! I managed to come home with 2 vintage skirts – from around the late 1800’s, three vintage aprons – one very old, the others from the 40s, some linens, and a special quilt given to my Aunt Liz at her surprise 70th birthday party—back in 1995.
I had planned the surprise party – inviting everyone in our small family and a few good friends – and well before the event, sent each head of each family a 3” x 3” piece of fabric, and asked their family to sew, draw or paint their names on it, to be joined with the others in a small wall quilt. Once they were all mailed back to me, I sent them to my cousin, Diane, who pieced and quilted it. Aunt Liz was so surprised, and proudly hung it on the wall of her family room. I was thrilled to be the heir of this quilt.