Last week I reposted a story I wrote about quilts ( posted below) and how much they mean to me. One, I lost in a fire, another is hanging on by a thread and last year a Lanark County one made in 1902 was rescued at an auction. — The Lanark County Quilt and its Families
Friday morning, Julie Sadler called me up and said she had something for me. There was a precious quilt from her grandmother May Morphy. I did not know what to say as as I believe a bed without a quilt is like a sky without a star. Thank you so much Julie– it will be cherished. I asked her to send me a story about May and she did.
Mae Morphy by Julie Sadler
May Morphy ( Mrs. Warner Morphy) was my maternal grandmother. Born in Ottawa in 1895, she married Warner in 1922. He was Edmond Morphy’s great-grandson and grandpa worked at the train station. May was a very private lady. I know she is shaking her finger at me from above right now. However, her passion was quilting!
As long as I can remember, she was at the church every Wednesday afternoon quilting with the ladies. She would walk down rain or shine. They first lived on William Street and then bought my family home on Catherine Street .
My mother was born in that house and the front room always had a quilt set up. She made dozens over the years and not a sewing machine in sight! No long arms in those days! Every stitch was by hand with love and her quilts are my prized possessions!
When the Burgess house on Lake Avenue ( next to the hospital) had an auction (1940’s?) she bought their grand piano for $200.00. A lot of money for her. My grandfather knew nothing about it. She had it moved to Catherine Street, but it didn’t fit!
She herself took a sledgehammer and knocked out the plaster archway between the two front rooms. Voila, it fits ! As did the quilts. My mother played it every day. After the fire in February 1954 at the United Church, my grandparents donated the piano. It is still played there regularly. Quilts are a link to our past. They each have a story. Yours Linda was made in the mid 1920’s. Almost 100 years old! I do wish more people loved them as much as you and I do!
For the Love of Quilts- Linda Knight Seccaspina
Memories of quilts being made and given with love were the norm in my childhood, and each quilt in our family had a memory.
Seven days after my birth I was placed in a quilt my grandmother had made and brought immediately to her home as my mother was ill. I was tucked into my crib with the same quilt I came home from the hospital in.
One night my father gathered me up in that same quilt and smuggled me into the Royal Victoria Hospital hoping my mother might remember me as she had postpartum depression. I can still see her looking down at the cards she was playing solitaire with while I was holding on to the edge of that dear quilt in fear. To this day I will never forget that image – my father says I was barely two, but I still remember the grayness of the room. While my life was sterile and cold, the quilt held warmth and security. My grandmother always said that blankets wrap you in warmth but quilts wrap you in love.
At age 12 my mother died, and my grandmother sat with me on her veranda and wrapped that same quilt around me while I cried. Life was never the same after that, and the quilt was placed on my bed like an old friend when I stayed with her. I would stare at the painting on the wall while I tried to sleep and thought that a lot of people understood art but not quilts. If I had a lot of money I would own a quilt and not a piece of art, because in the end which gives you the most comfort?
When I got married at age 21, my Grandmother sat at the dining room table for weeks and worked on a quilt for my new home. As I traveled down the road of life the quilt was always there while people came and went. Although it was aging gracefully it was still heavy and secure anytime I needed it. Through death and sickness it held comfort, and the promise that it would never desert me. This quilt held my life with all the bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, that had been stitched into it with love.
At age 47 the quilt died peacefully in my arms. A terrible house fire had destroyed it, and as I looked at the charred edges I realized the thread that held it together had bound the both of us forever. Now it was time to go down the final road by myself, and remembering the words of Herman Hesse I began the journey.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
Linda Knight Seccaspina