Please, please, Mister Postman . . . Deliver the letter, the sooner the better!

I've always loved getting the mail.

Since I was a child, in fact. I remember walking home from school and hope hope hoping there would be a new catalog waiting for me to enjoy with my snack.

And I was a strange kid, because I actually spent my babysitting money in the pages of Lillian Vernon, dreaming of the future home in which I would need all those gadgets.

(Some of those cherished early Lillian Vernon purchases still grace my Christmas tree.)

Our current mailbox is across the street and part way up the block. When my city friend visits, she says "why do you have to go all the way up there to get your mail? Mine comes to my house."

I have no answer for that, especially on a day when the temperature doesn't poke its head above zero. But there have only been a few Minnesota days that have been so hideous that I couldn't bring myself to trudge to the mailbox to see what awaits.

For many years my father came home every day and said, "Did my check come today?" by which he meant his Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes check, of course.

To my knowledge that particular piece of mail has never arrived.
But sometimes the mail holds surprises.

And I don't mean the recent American Express bill in which we found out that someone had used our account number all the way from New York to Houston, eating McDonald's and shopping at 7-11 to their heart's content.

No, I mean wonderful surprises.

Like the generous college Geology scholarship I received out of the blue one day. I had no intention of studying Geology, but just the possibility of being a scientist provided a breath of fresh air. And serendipity (and some good test scores) placed it in my mailbox, right next to the catalogs so chock full of the possibilities of stuff.

Ah . . . mail.

Today was one of those memorable mail bonanzas.

Twenty years ago, I inherited a hand-pieced quilt top from Aunt Lillie's house. No one was sure whether she had made it, my grandmother had made it, or their mother had made it. But it was a Double Wedding Ring (with almost no fabric repeats!) in mint condition with green and purple (green and purple!) needing only to be quilted, bound, and LOVED.

No problem with the loving, but the quilting and binding seemed a bit daunting to me. So when I took it to show to my mother-in-law (the master quilter) she said, "I'll quilt it for you. I'd love to do that!"

And I said, "Yippee!"

Then we both promptly forgot about it . . . for about 20 years. Although she says she felt guilty and worried about it from time to time (which only goes to show you that guilt and worry can be a complete waste of energy, since I didn't give it another thought).

And then when I came home from errands, suddenly there was this giant and intriguing box in the entry.

It never even occurred to me what might be inside,

but it was certainly something lovelier
than a Geology scholarship.

The kind of gift
mail-dreams are made of . . .

In the card that was enclosed, my mother-in-law wrote, "It has given me so much pleasure to quilt this wonderful quilt . . . I hope you feel it is a great treasure to you from your grandmother, great aunt, (and me)."

Yes, yes, I certainly do.

And I can't thank you enough for your kindness, Jean, in allowing me to have this gift to cherish and hand down to my daughters. I hope someday to be able to repay your generosity in sharing your time and talents, and increasing the value and sentiment attached to this marvelous piece of my needlework genealogy.

Wait! Here's an idea:

If my check
in the mail
perhaps we
can split it

Ah . . . mail.


luanne said...

Oh, you lucky girl! First to have such a gorgeous quilt top made by your ancestors, and then to have your MIL quilt it so beautifully for you.

Now, (deep breath) you have to use it! (Not near pizza or hot cocoa though.) Because it will only improve with loving & gentle use, adding your warm memories to this piece of family history.

What a great cure for your winter chills!

Allie said...

I'm SPEECHLESS. And green with envy.

Judy said...

I love the creative blending of the two sides of the family to create this treasure for your descendants. What a fun story!

Daryl said...

And then the dog jumps on it with muddy paws, can you tell we just got a dog?

susan m hinckley said...

Oh, Daryl . . . puppy perhaps? Not a chocolate lab I hope, because ours took a full two years before we could leave him unsupervised for 5 minutes. He's still jumping on things with his muddy paws -- in fact, after a romp at the park today I was out scrubbing the car upholstery. That's why while I intend to use my new quilt, I'm going to use it CAREFULLY.

VO said...

OMG, I love your MIL. What a great gift to receive. And what a great gift to readers to hear about the quilt moving from one woman to another, all putting their mark on it.

Your mark is to use it and love it and gift it to another in 20+ years.

p.s. That gift is much more valuable than the PCH envelope.

Ann said...

I have been COVETING this quilt during its entire quilting process, and asked Mom if she could make me one exactly like it. It is such an amazing treasure, and when Mom told me she had put it in the mail for you, I was excited to see when it would show up on the blog.

I would like to sign up for it to be gifted to me in 20 years, only if your daughters reject it (but how could they?) All our love from Poland.

Lisa Cannon said...

Wow! That is absolutely gorgeous and you are a very lucky girl. I didn't remember you having it. I can't wait to see it in person. Do you think Jean would like to do any of my quilt tops? Of course they don't have nearly the sentimental value and I'm not related so probably not--darn!

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