My dad was 87 years young, and sharp as a tack even on the day he left us. To this day, I don't know if I would find anyone who has a memory as keen as my dad's. Perhaps it was his lifelong love of crossword puzzles or just his lifelong love of learning. Heck, he had a Facebook account and an ipad! I really don't know anyone else who knew so much about so many things. He had that incredible ability to find something to talk about with anyone in the room, and really made everyone feel loved and welcome. We have many, many great memories, and I hope to start jotting down a few each week. My memory is not half his was!
My mother instilled the love of fabric and sewing in me, but my dad nurtured that love of working with my hands. He made so many wooden objects for all of us: toy trains, step stools, doll houses, end tables, newspaper holders, quilt racks, rocking horses, doll cradles, coat racks. I guess this may be why one of my daughters is a quilter, and the other loves to work with wood with her saws and router. It is such a great legacy to leave behind. You don't realize how much you cherish those items when their maker is no longer with you.
As quilters, we can do the same thing. My dad signed each wooden item with his initials underneath; RJM. We can use labels. I need to start labeling! Perhaps we make our quilts wishing we didn't have to use a certain color or fabric, or perhaps we find it hard to part with a favorite fabric, or we fill every hour we spend making them thinking of the recipient. Whatever it may be, when that quilt is given to the recipient, you/I/we have just added to our legacy, and if we put labels on our quilts, we will be remembered for generations.
Here is a picture of my dad at age 81 holding a copper bucket of beer at a family reunion in Wsconsin. My huge family owned a small market and a tavern at the turn of the century. The story is that my great grandparents let each of their nine nine daughters run the tavern for a year after they married. All profits were used to purchase a home for themselves. The copper bucket was used in place of aluminum cans or bottles. In 1910, when you wanted to enjoy a beer at home, you went to the tavern and filled your bucket for 10 cents and the copper kept it cold. This bucket is always a crowd pleaser at our family reunions, with over 300 people attending.