I just loved staying at Grandma’s house when I was a small child. She was mum’s mother, my favourite grandma, who lived in the country side. It would take us about 4 or 5 hours to drive to her homestead.

I loved everything about the place. It was always so quiet and peaceful, so relaxing, and there was lots of room both outside and in. I would play in the fields all day long and I was always ready for bed at night-time.

One of the reasons I loved going to bed, was that my grandma made patch work quilts. They were beautiful, and every time I went down she had different ones made up or she was still working on them. She made quilts for all occasions, new born babies, wedding presents, engagement presents. She would often keep one for her own use, but everyone wanted one of grandma’s quilts.

Grandma had always made quilts, (like her mother before her) since she was child. She was a very active woman and would help in the fields and also baked all her own bread and cakes. She was so talented

The one grandma had on her old iron wrought bedstead was all done in autumnal colours. I really loved this as autumn is my favourite season. Grandma told me that is why she used those colours as she also loved autumn. Also she said she was married in autumn and that she had made it for her own wedding, so long ago.

I would sit with grandma at night time and she would show me her latest creations. She would discuss the materials and the various colours and tell me why she had chosen them. I think grandma hoped I would also made quilts, but that was not me. I just was not in interested at all. I do love beautiful things, but I am not talented like grandma and I was more academic, who loved reading and writing.

Grandma became famous for her patchwork quilts, in her local area, and people often requested them. Yet she was adamant she would not sell them.

Yes she did like making them, but only when she wanted too. She did not want them to go to anyone. She wanted people to love them and care for them, like the family.

When I was in my early twenties, I had a break down. This was due or stress, family relations, money problems, boyfriend trouble. I was very ill. I asked grandma if I could go and stay for a while. Of course she said I could and she said she would make me welcome.

By this time grandma was a widow. Her family had left home. She was now getting frail so she said she would be glad of the company.

I must say I was not much company at first as I spent the first couple of weeks just resting, sleeping and eating grandma’s food and then sleeping again. When I began to feel better, I would go for walks in the fresh air. I would also stay up on a night and watch grandma do her stitching. She was so much slower now and her eye sight was not as good but she persevered.

Then I began to take more notice of what grandma was doing. I would help her cut the patches of materials and thread her cotton for her. Both of us would arrange the pieces to make a pattern which would be moved around many times until it looked right. It was so therapeutic for me and as we both worked together, grandma would tell me many nostalgic tales. We would laugh and we would cry but it helped me to recover. I stayed with grandma for nearly two months and was very reluctant to leave her, and the quiet countryside, but I knew I would have to return home eventually.

I did return home in the late summer and I was refreshed and back on track. I went back to work, got a new boyfriend, whom I took down to see grandma. She was failing fast and I noticed she did not do her quilting. So I was surprised when she asked me to fetch a parcel from her bedroom cupboard. There inside was my favourite quilt. The autumnal one. As she gave me it, I saw her smile and she said that she knew how much I loved it. I know you will take care of it, and stay happy. I know you are happy now.

After a tearful farewell, I left grandma’s house with my precious gift. Grandma died peacefully at home 6 weeks later. I eventually married my

boyfriend and I also started making patchwork quilts. A legacy passed on to me from my lovely grandma.

By Doreen Hampshire (traveller94@hotmail.com)


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