The Ties that Bind Us

For the last week or so I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who had great influence on me when I was growing up. The farm is in a small community in far western New York. I graduated from high school with 23 other students — many of whom also graduated from kindergarten with me. Turns out you know almost everyone in a town this small and if you don’t know them, they know you.

There were people who stand out in my memory– school teachers, the older women who taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school at the Methodist church, school bus drivers who knew every detail of our lives, and the neighbors who would stop in for visit and a cold drink at the end of a hot summer day to talk about the weather or politics or the state of the Vietnam War.

I remember running through the back yard in the pitch black, on bare feet in soft grass, hunting for lightning bugs while the adults talked and laughed around the kitchen table. I wasn’t afraid because those adults formed the bedrock on which my life was built. They were my support network before I knew what one was or that I needed one.

One of my influencers was my Girl Scout troop leader. Her daughter was one of my best friends. In the early ’70s we began our sewing badges. My mother worked in the barn and the house, so she had little time for hand work, so I knew little about embroidery or sewing. Mrs. A the troop leader was an excellent teacher and I made it through and received my badge (I wonder where that sash is???). After I started quilting, I realized that I had learned the quilter’s knot many years ago from Mrs. A. Somehow that bit of information stuck and I was able to recall it decades later. Now that is someone who had an impact on my life.

I’ve got to get this framed. Although it’s not perfect, it is a solid symbol of my roots and my journey.  I hope my quilts last as long as this sampler.

Who do you think about as a positive influence from when you grew up?

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