These Days

The quilt in this photo is nearly 23 years old. Its a tiny thing (12″ square) and it is one of the first quilt blocks I ever made. I made it sometime after 9/11 (September 11, 2001). That’s when the US had the attacks on the Twin Towers (NY) and the Pentagon (DC) and the plane crash in Shanksville (PA).

Shortly after these tragedies, I stumbled onto a “call” to make these patriotic heart blocks to send to a group that would assemble them into quilts and distribute them. I don’t remember details of who was collecting the blocks or who would receive the finished quilts. But, like most American’s that year, I was really moved by these tragic events. I was all in with the yellow ribbons and “bless our troops” bumper stickers. There was a feeling of unification that we were all in this together.

I also was a very new quilter. This striped heart block was the my first ever like this. I was so proud of what I did, so I made an extra block to keep for myself. This quilt hung on the wall for many years, as a reminder of all these memories. (That, and I loved this bear fabric so much, especially with the random tabby cat wearing sunglasses tucked into the design with all the teddy bears.) That year I learned about the cathartic qualities of quilt making. I sewed many, many quilts that year.

I’m sharing this today because this week in America we are celebrating “Independence Day” (July 4th). A day of cookouts, fireworks, friends and family. The holiday was established to remember and honor our freedoms in the United States, both as a country and individually as citizens. The good ‘ole USA.

When I was growing up, every year for “the 4th” my dad would proudly fly the American flag on our front porch. On either side of it, he hung an Irish and a Polish flag to represent our immigrant ancestry. Today I’m wondering, if he was still alive, what would he think about the way things are going these days.

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