The Quilts & Life of Florence Cook
Threads of Grayson County History
Clountz in front of her house ready to work outside in the yard or her
garden, or with her livestock, which she loved to do!
She made the bonnet herself
and stiffened it using strips cut from a Cherrios box. I still have the
bonnet and her apron which she also made.
A true pioneer lady, she came to Grayson
county at the turn of the 20th
century in a covered wagon from Bosque County, Texas. She
all her life. She worked in her vegetable garden the day she
suddenly at age 91, in the month of August. She was hardly
Mama made this quilt from feed sacks and old clothing.
It has been used a lot and is tattered, but still treasured
"I remember she kept boxes
and boxes of quilt pieces, scraps of material left over from other
old clothes to be cut up and made into quilts, feed and flour sacks to
be used as quilt pieces and used many times to make clothes
I wore many flour sack dresses and shirts. Some of those prints were
beautiful. Mama went through the Depression, so she never threw
away that could be used later. If material wasn't good enough
clothes or quilts anymore, it was saved and used as rags around the
and farm because they couldn't afford to buy things like that.
In the good ole days, we
slept on old iron bedsteads, painted and
flaked and painted over again countless times with whatever
they had. These beds had old hard metal innersprings sitting
slats between the bed rails.
On top of this was an old, old, OLD ticking mattress that was probably
from the 1920s or 1930s (this was in the1960s) that sagged in the
lot, and all that "comfort" was sitting out on a
in porch, which is mite nigh just a euphamism for being outside. At
we only had a tarp that we put up over the screen in the winter to keep
the wind out. In the summer, we let the flap down to keep
up at night. When we got really lucky, we were able
enough boards to box the porch in for the
winter. Why we didn't
sleep in the house by the wood stove in the dining room, I will never
but as a child, I didn't question it; it had just always been this
There once in ancient days was an old gas heater out there, but it had
long ago succumed to old age.
You must understand, just like there were Japanese that were found on
years after the war who still thought it was going on, our family was
informed that the Great Depression had ended. That is how we
to live on throught the 1970s. When you don't have money, you
fix things that break, you use them to stack things on, or just to
over in the middle of the night. But YOU DON"T THROW THEM
MIGHT NEED THAT SOMEDAY. I hear that in my sleep.
Anyway, jn the
winter that bed on the porch was just a little warmer than crawling
an ice block to sleep. Then you struggled under SO MANY
could hardly breathe under them for the weight, and it took a LONG time
to get your space warmed up under there from your own body heat, what
was left of it because you felt like ice! Then you didn't
one inch all night because wherever your foot or hand moved, it was ice
cold under there. But it was hard to move anyway because the
of quilts weighed a ton! But we didn't freeze, we survived
of those old quilts, lovingly, painstakingly, stitched with old hands
old pieces of cloth that nobody else wanted. The memories of
old quilts those are like gold now. Amazing what a worthless
of cloth can do!
QUILTS & QUILTMAKERS
Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County Index