Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quilts by Lucy

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I loaned three of my grandmother's quilts to the local museum for use in a special exhibit during the month of May. With the heavy work crush and two weekends out of town, I almost forgot about the event. I decided it would be a good idea to plan on stopping by the museum after my DAR meeting on Saturday.

I had asked the curator how she planned to showcase the quilts and she had described how she would hang some of them and drape others over a collection of white lattice panels. They used both of those methods, but they also placed some of the quilts on the furniture that is on permanent exhibit. An old bed stead was wearing a historic quilt. An antique baby carriage had a small baby quilt tucked into it. Every room of the museum had splashes of color here and there from quilts made out of everything from tobacco and flour sacks to satins.

Grandma Lucy's three quilts were shown to their best advantage.

The quilt closest to the front edge of the photo is one of her string quilts. On the far wall is a signature quilt with blocks made by several members of the family including Lucy herself, her daughters Nettie and Bettye, her mother Nettie Mason, her sister-in-law Dixie Rose and Dixie's daughter Betty.

Below is a closer look at the signature quilt. It is one of the prizes of my varied collection of family heirlooms.

The last of the three quilts was a simple pattern of diamond shapes on one side and squares on the reverse, and they showcased both sides by draping it across a display case.

The museum had managed to assemble quilts from a half-dozen or so of their members and there were quilts of every type and material. I was very impressed with the whole exhibit and very pleased with the treatment they gave to my own contributions.

If you decide to stop by the museum to take a look (the exhibit ends on May 31st, $2 entry fee and be sure to check the hours before you make the trip), let me warn you that they did make a few bobbles in the information posted with the quilts. They confused the quilt shown first above with another quilt I had pictured on my website and which is in my Uncle Larry's possession. The one on display is not the quilt that was quilted around an old army blanket. And I know full well that my grandfather did not grow cotton as a cash crop, as they describe. When the curator was making her notes, I mentioned that my grandparents grew a variety of things but that their cash crops were peanuts, cantaloupes and watermelons. Somehow the peanuts turned into cotton by the time the descriptive placards were written. I suspect that is because they have been having an on-going cotton industry display for the last few months. Minor details that no one but us Hodge kin will catch as errors.

I am very proud of my grandmother's quilts and happy that they are getting this chance to get some public attention. I can remember her quilting frame that was raised to the ceiling out of the way and and lowered to working height when she was ready to spend some time crafting. I myself do not like to sew and stand in awe of the mountain of quilts she turned out.

I am more likely to tackle a doll house and one of the latest on my craft table is intended to be a quilt shop. In a small way, it will help me re-connect to my grandmother.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Three Week Blur of Activity

Where did the last week of April and the first two weeks of May go? It seems like it was only a couple of days ago that Lana and I headed to Dallas for the annual Texas Miniatures Showcase. We try to attend this annual dollhouse and miniatures show if at all possible and we try not to go broke in the process. While it's not the biggest miniatures show, it's the closest to home and some of the biggest names in the field of miniatures attend.

We know from the outset that we will return with not only empty purses but with aching backs from stooping over to see the tiny things on display. But it is worth some aches and pains. I picked up a tiny knitted tea cozy and a beautiful knitted vest to add to my knitting store, a marvelous rat terrier to add a personal touch to one of my mini scenes, a mini kilt, some tiny pieces of pottery, a gorgeous lady's hat and matching parasol, a minute hummingbird feeder, some tiny jewelry and a little pile of horse manure (for a barnyard scene).

Before I had a chance to catch my breath, the annual May work crush descended and I was working non-stop to process 50+ client files for notices to be mailed this month. That week sped by and included my finalizing an annual newsletter for the Frankum family reunion scheduled for the first weekend in May.

The Frankum reunion was celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. While there are attendees from various Frankum families who connect collaterally, the majority of the folks who come every year are the descendants of Will and Amanda Frankum. Their 6 children (5 girls and 1 boy) raised their children (21 in all) to have more of a sibling relationship with each other than merely a cousin relationship. The 21 cousins stayed close as they grew up, visiting in each other's homes, some living together in the home of an aunt who lived near the University of Texas during their collegiate years. My dad was one of them.

This photo is one I acquired at the reunion. It was taken in 1951 and includes quite a few of those cousins. My father is the guy at far right, semi-squatting and wearing cowboy boots. My grandmother is the lady standing at far right in the back row.

Of those 21 cousins, 15 are still living and all but one were present for the 60th anniversary reunion. (Uncle Donald Wilcoxen lives in Missouri, the only one who lives out of state.)

Left to right, standing, are Peggy Murff, Karen Ryman, Ann Owens, Edward Frankum, Faye Butcher, Norman Frankum, Dwight Lamb, and Glynda Wester. Left to right seated are Bobby Frankum, Hazel Heiman, Grace Harrington, Earl McVay, Dean Frankum and my Aunt Ruth Nell Wilks.

Every reunion includes a silent and live auction and this year one of the highlights of the live auction was a "pocket" quilt.

The center of the quilt featured a block recognizing the marriage of Will and Amanda Frankum and each spoke extending out from the center represented one of their children. The blue blocks extending out each spoke represented the children and grandchildren of that child. Each of the blocks formed a pocket and inside each pocket was a card with the pertinent vital statistics for that person. It was a family work of art created by sisters Peggy Murff and Karen Ryman and it led to a lively round of bidding.

Another work of art that drew a lot of appreciative attention was a cake created by a friend of the family.

The topmost level of the cake commemorated the 60th anniversary. The next level recognized the marriage of Will and Amanda Frankum. The third level consisted of a cake representing their children and the lowest level represented traits shared throughout the family - music, gardening, farming, and strong faith. That wasn't all. Each of the cakes in the structure was a different flavor - strawberry, carrot, chocolate, German chocolate, marble, vanilla and a few others I can't recall.

Immediately following the reunion was another mad work week. As the week drew to a close, I was inducted into the office of secretary of the local chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. When the weekend came around again, I dove into a mad frenzy of house cleaning (it's amazing how filthy a house can get when you are gone two weekends in a row) and a round of planting iris bulbs I had acquired in the reunion silent auction.

So, three weeks flew by in a rush of car trips, good fellowship and hard labor. Thoroughly enjoyable even while it was thoroughly exhausting. I wouldn't have missed any of it.

Well, maybe the work part. It's too bad the legislature picked May for those required notices. After all, the Frankum family has had dibs on May for 60 years.