Thursday, July 14, 2011


Yet still more of what has become a random series of recollections about a recent trip to New York City, Boston, MA and the wilds of the Maine’s “Down East” coast.

HER SALT AND PEPPER HAIR was actually salt and cayenne. My curious affinity for those – like me – with red hair prompted me to steal a second glance. The soft flannel shirt – casually draped over her shoulder – looked as if it might have been sourced just down the road in Freeport at L. L. Bean a decade or so ago. The blue jeans, likewise.

Tending this quilt store, the woman looked quite at home. Her knowledge of fabrics and patterns seemed innate. It was matched by an encyclopedic awareness of the burial ground down the block, the current – as well as all previous – disposition of the oldest building in town and (thankfully) the location of the area’s best cinnamon roll. I liked that she knew the area’s history, which, if we forget, we’re doomed to repeat. I thought, however, that the history of this area didn’t seem all that bad. You know: repeatable.

THE BEST ASPECTS of travel are the people you meet and the stories they tell about the places they live.

“A good quilt store isn’t recession proof,” she said, “but with the right fabric – you know, colors, patterns, choices – it will survive.” She fingered pulled a bolt from its moorings and directed my wife to something complementary. Then she added: “I just moved to this location because I needed more space.”

I looked at the calendar on my watch. 2011. The recession isn’t over yet, is it?

Not a retired teacher or office worker or store clerk, the proprietress had always wanted to own a quilt store. “It’s the warmth, I think.” I noted how her green eyes complemented that salt and cayenne hair. I think she caught me doing so but she went on to ask more about the specific project.

FEELING A BIT OF THAT WARMTH myself at this juncture, I walked the block or so to the town’s burial yard, noting how the grave stones in this section of Maine were a mere 30 years older than the oldest of the gold country in my native state of California – and a hundred and fifty years more recent than the oldest in Boston, only 120 miles south. It got me thinking about the big picture and history’s odd cavalcade.

I was pleased to return to see my wife had selected some fat quarters and a pattern or two for purchase. Not that I was surprised.


The quilts illustrated here are those of my wife with the exception of the appliquéd example. It was handed through her family having been discovered in the attic of an indeterminate ancestor. It is presumed that this hand-stitched quilt was fabricated sometime in the 1930s. Currently, it hangs in our front room.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press.

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