Many decades ago a young mother pulled open a drawer.
She took scraps of fabric and studied them there.
Easter and school dresses, and play clothes from her daughters,
And scraps from her house dresses, and husband’s work shirts.
She cut them into diamonds, all the same size.
Then pieced them together into pleasing patterns.
Each piece was sewn by hand to the next.
Then lovingly she joined them section to section,
And bound them together with pastel pink backing.
In the middle she used an already worn mattress pad.
She rounded the edges with the pink from the back.
And hand-quilted the whole around every small seam.
Over the years the quilt kept her little girls warm.
Then it covered guests from far and wide.
Now it’s worn in the middle and frayed on the edges,
Dirtied by decades of use, and spotted by tears.
Dottie, the littlest girl has grown weak and old.
Her sister’s in heaven with their mom and their dad.
When told by the dry cleaner, it’s too worn for cleaning,
Dottie said, “Throw it away. It’s no use any more.”
It sat on a shelf, too cherished to discard.
What use could it have now in its tattered condition?
Then in a store filled with crafts of all kinds,
Were old quilts turned into stockings for hanging from chimneys.
Sixteen dollars for strangers to buy!
No memories, no nostalgia, just decorations to them.
I knew it! Grandma’s old quilt could still have a life.
At home it was cut into with trembling and awe.
Remembering the love that went into each stitch,
I thought of my siblings, my kids, and their cousins.
I turned that old quilt into stockings of love.
To hang from chimneys for decades to come.
Right here at home, at some distance away.
And over the oceans in places so far.
Every year, now, the stockings will continue to speak,
To other generations of Grandma’s great love.
For her daughters, her family, and of her friends.
Kept warm through the years by those old scraps of cloth.
© Beverly Caruso, Christmas 2002