Hanging on the wall in a family friend’s home is a quilt bearing the name of our grandmothers. Surrounding their names are the names of men and women from their community. Funds were needed for a community project so a quilt raffle was developed. Each participant embroidered their names onto flour sacks in this once agricultural community now lost to the time and the metropolitan expansion of Marysville, Washington, USA. All the flour sack squares were sewn together to create a simple and colorful bed quilt, padded with a left over blanket and backed by a bed sheet.
The quilt was displayed in the community center of the now lost village while community members spent what little money they had on raffle tickets, knowing it was going for a worthy cause. Her grandmother won the raffle and the quilt comforted the beds and the spirits of their family’s sick and cold children for decades, finally finding its way to her wall in honor of the past and community spirit that once thrived in a place covered with housing subdivisions where no one knows their neighbors.
For the village of Sunnyside and others around the world, community quilts were their social media tools and resources. Neighbors would get together in between long days of planting, harvesting, and familial responsibilities to chat and share stories and news over pieces of fabric.
Local bars served the same purpose, along with food and drink, to create a family away from family where people could be “themselves” and share their thoughts with others, often encouraged by the spirits. [Read more…]