Great Granny made chicken and dumplings.
Papaw Ance made a garden grow.
Aunt Nina made Christmas decorations.
Papaw Hillard made doll-sized cradles and high chairs for me and my sister and cousin.
Uncle Bill made picture frames.
To borrow a modern term, it was a maker's space, alright. That street fairly buzzed with busy hands. On any given day you might see someone sewing or baking or harvesting or hammering.
I was a maker on Galley Street.
I made plans.
Galley Street, perched on the river bank, was shaded by the mountains.
I made plans to live in full sun.
I planned to write stories one day...far away from Galley Street. After all, I reasoned, writers needed to learn new things; and I knew everything there was to know about Galley Street.
I knew where to find the apple picker Papaw Ance used to grab the green apples from high up in the limbs of his favorite trees. I knew where the calico cat hid her kittens behind the cinder blocks in Great Granny's cellar. I knew how to shut the screen door just right to keep the blue tailed lizards out of the house.
I made myself a promise on Galley Street, a promise that I would write stories one day, not overlooking the river with the mountains peering over my shoulder. I made plans to live in a lighthouse and look out the highest window at the waves rolling in.
I told Granny Faye about my plans.
She never said, "Don't leave us."
She never said, "Why not stay?"
She never said, "All your best stories will come from Galley Street."
Instead, Granny made something.
She made a quilt that told a story about a brown-haired girl from the mountains who moved to the ocean and lived in a lighthouse. She made me hopeful. She made me happy.
Galley Street was a place where things were made.
This is the quilt that Granny made for me.
This is the message she stitched on the back.