Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lori's Lighthouse

Galley Street was a place where things were made.
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.


 


18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful reflection on your origins as a maker! I wholeheartedly agree with you that "sewing or baking or harvesting or hammering" are all forms of making. So much love is in the quilt your grandma made for you. I love her embroidered message.

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  2. Love this. The quilt is a beautiful gift to receive. Because my wife is a quilter, I know the time and love that went in to making it. I am sure it is something you cherish.

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    1. Just looking at it today made me cry because I miss her so.

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  3. This is a picture book - just beautiful.

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  4. This is a picture book - just beautiful.

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  5. You brought me to tears with that quilt and the words. Just think of all the stories made from Galley Street. What a magical time of your life and place!

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  6. You brought me to tears with that quilt and the words. Just think of all the stories made from Galley Street. What a magical time of your life and place!

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  7. The "note" stitched by your Grandmother took my breath away. I bet she was your strongest supporter. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  8. The "note" stitched by your Grandmother took my breath away. I bet she was your strongest supporter. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  9. The "note" stitched by your Grandmother took my breath away. I bet she was your strongest supporter. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  10. "I was a maker on Galley Street.
    I made plans."

    Love these two lines.

    This whole poem speaks to the universal desire to leave home and find out about the wider world. Your granny was so wise, and you articulate her wisdom poetically. Your opening and closing lines work so well. And thank you for the photographs of the quilt, front and back…they took my breath away.

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  11. I agree with all these comments, especially: you have a picture book here.
    Galley Street gave you roots and dreams.

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  12. I also agree, you definitely have a book here. Reminded me of Patricia MacLachlan's What you Know First. And that quilt is a forever treasure. Beautiful.

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  13. I also agree, you definitely have a book here. Reminded me of Patricia MacLachlan's What you Know First. And that quilt is a forever treasure. Beautiful.

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