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Handmade and heart-made memories

As I was working on this week’s Lifestyles feature story on Elmira Sanders, I found myself recalling some of the precious handmade memories I treasure.

Hanging in our bedroom is a wonderful pieced quilt featuring a cat motif, hand-pieced and quilted for me by the dear ladies of the Honoraville Nutrition Center’s quilting circle.

Several years ago, when we were still living away from the area, I found the pattern in a quilting shop and fell in love with it.

I gathered the materials needed to make it and those talented ladies did the rest. Mama told me my darling aunt, Willie Mae Gardner, cut out almost all of the ‘cats’ for my unique quilt.

After years of battling heart disease, Aunt Willie Mae passed away very suddenly a few years ago. I still miss her delightful sense of humor and her patience (she was our school bus driver for many years). I remember the tender-heartedness she displayed toward stray animals.

Every time I glance up at my kitty quilt, I find myself thinking of Aunt Willie Mae and I have to smile. 

Sure, its earth tone colors may clash a bit with the blues and whites of our current d\u00E9cor, but I still find it a wonderful addition to the place.

It reminds me of someone I dearly loved, who dearly loved me in return, and you can’t beat that.

Tossed across the back of our family room couch is a crocheted afghan, done up in shades of peach and cream in a lovely chevron pattern, trimmed with tassels.

It was a wedding gift to us and perhaps the one we’ve used the most. There have been times when I was sick and would cuddle beneath its warmth and feel a little less miserable. Benny likes to toss it over his legs after rising early on a chilly winter’s morning.

Our cats have napped on the afghan many a time, whether it was draped on the back of the couch or tucked over our laps.

&uot;Miss&uot; Willie Ruth Gillion made that afghan for us. Her hands were sometimes nearly crippled with arthritis, so I knew what a true labor of love its creation was, how painful it must have been at times to make that afghan.

Over the years, she made dozens of pairs of precious little booties for wedding showers at our church in Honoraville, wonderful keepsakes for proud new mamas.

She wasn’t even a member of our little Baptist church – she actually belonged to the nearby Methodist church – but she always attended services at Union whenever there were no services at The Lodge.

 After the Methodist church closed its doors late in her life, Miss Willie Ruth &uot;officially&uot; became a Baptist. In truth, she had been a much-loved part of our church family for years.

The afghan she made for us almost two decades ago was certainly made to last. After all the wear, it still looks good and keeps us cozy.

Yes, some of my best memories are the handmade, homemade, heart-made ones.  I bet some of yours are, too.

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. She may be contacted at home by phone at 382-5145.