MiniQuilter (aka Stella) and I went to the program at the library Saturday afternoon. I have to say I was a
lot little disappointed. Unless I read it completely wrong, I thought it was to be a display of Civil War era quilts. Sigh…… It wasn’t. The woman brought a collection of family quilts…some from the 1920s. They were wonderful quilts….for another day. But my heart was set on Civil War quilts. Since MiniQuilter had to sit in the front row it was going to be difficult to sneak quietly out the door.
The speaker introduced herself and began to talk about her great-grandmother’s family’s journey on the Underground Railroad. Although the quilts she presented were pieced by her and were unfinished quilt tops,once she began to tell their stories they were no less interesting than the completed antique quilts she had on the side table.
Each quilt top that she displayed contained a quilt block that had a hidden meaning for slaves attempting to find freedom via the Underground Railroad. Each of the 18 or so quilt tops told their own story of the trials and hardships of those runaway slaves. I found myself caught up in the symbolism and the stories she told as she remembered them from her grandmother. She quietly wove in verses from spirituals. I glanced at MiniQuilter and saw that she was quietly singing along. I later learned from her that she had learned the songs and the story of the Underground Railroad from her music teacher. Now she can go back to school to tell her music teacher what she learned about the role that quilts played in securing the freedom of slaves.
I learned a few things on Saturday. I learned to give things a chance. This wasn’t the program I thought I was going to see. But it was a program that I was very glad I saw. And I learned not to underestimate the ability of an eight year old to understand and feel compassion. And without getting too political, I learned that I will probably NEVER understand how one man can feel that it’s OK to own another. It makes my head (and heart) hurt to try to understand that.