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The Quilt

Essay By: clslater

This is something I wrote for my mother when her grandmother died. It is about the connections we make with objects in out lives.

Submitted:Mar 30, 2008    Reads: 161    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   

The Quilt
By Christopher Slater
For the past several months, I have sat in my philosophy class, hearing my professor teach the philosophies of many people, and most of them seemed to ask the same question at one point or another: what in this world lasts? On a much less philosophical side, I listened to a song on the radio yesterday called "Time Marches On." One statement within the song struck me as interesting. "The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes." It started to make me think about what in my life has lasted.
Well, anyone that knows me can tell you that I am no philosopher. I don't have the patience for it. I look for the quick and easy answer. This was no exception. Still, once I started to think about it, I think that the quick and easy answer that I found was the correct one.
Looking around my room, I passed by the posters, by the airplane models, I even passed by my computer (just don't tell my computer that! It gets so jealous). I pretty much fell into my answer, literally. My mother is very good about moving the trash can in my room whenever I am gone, and my feet usually find it for me. This was no exception, and I tripped, catching myself on the wall, and almost knocking over the small table next to my bed. I looked down to see if anything had fallen, and I saw the answer to my question. Beneath the book I was reading, beneath the telephone that occupies so much of my time, and beneath the glasses that are supposed to keep me from making dumb mistakes like I had just made, I saw the quilt that I had been using for as long as I remember.
I don't know when my mother received the quilt from my Great-Grandmother Biggs. I don't remember the first time that I used it. What I do remember is lying underneath it with my sister when we were young. I remember using it to construct a tent out in the den. I remember lying underneath it on my bed my first winter in college. And I also remember how upset I was when my mother asked me not to take it out when the weather started getting cool again my second year of college.
But why did it last? The quilt has a hole in it that I can almost fit through. It is still the warmest thing that I have ever laid underneath. But what makes me think that it will outlast me? When I laid down on my bed next to it, I thought for a while and finally realized why. The quilt won't last forever. What is in the quilt will.
From what I have been told, my great-grandmother gave my mother the quilt with the explicit instructions that she use it, not to make it a decoration, because that is what she had made it for. And use it my mother did. She claims to have used it to wrap me up in when I was sick as a child (which was very often) and I know for a fact that it got a lot of use from me. There were always afghans and wool blankets around the house, but nothing was warmer or more comfortable than that quilt. I don't know how long it took Great-Grandmother to make that quilt, but it was time very well spent. Now, whenever I look at that quilt, I don't only think of what it was used for, but where it came from, who it came from, and what I remember of her. And whenever I do remember my great-grandmother, I remember her very fondly. I remember how sweet and kind and funny she always was, and then I understand why the quilt was always so warm. It was always so warm because she made it with love, and put part of herself into it, and forever put part of me into it as well. Now, every time I think of that quilt, I realize that I never told her "thank you". Be it for the quilt or for her company. It is only with hope that I pray that she does know that I thank her, for everything.
So what does last? No, the quilt will not last forever. The line in the song was right. Everything does change. Great-Grandmother Biggs left us, and the quilt is now a source of memories and no longer the "workhorse" of the house, and I know that it is all for the better. Everything changes so that some things can go on forever. It is because of these changes that the warmth and care that was put into that quilt by the great lady that made it lives on in my mind and heart. And it is my promise that this warmth shall live in my heart and within the heart of anyone that looks upon simple things, like the quilt, for how they feel, not for what they are, forever.


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