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Quilts & Quiltmakers
Threads of Grayson County History


Natalie Bauman


I remember Mama (Florence L. Cook Clountz) kept boxes and boxes of quilt pieces, scraps of material left over from other projects, 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 from. I wore many flour sack dresses and shirts. Some of those prints were very beautiful. Mama went through the Depression, so she never threw anything away that could be used later. If material wasn't good enough for clothes or quilts anymore, it was saved and used as rags around the house and farm because they couldn't afford to buy things like that. (You never knew when you were going to run out of toilet paper and not be able to afford any more either!) 
Another thing I thought of about Mama's quilts ~
In the good ole days, we slept on old iron bedsteads, painted and flaked and painted over again countless times with  whatever paint they had. These beds had old hard metal innersprings sitting on wooden slats between the bed rails (they could also be used as TV antennas). On top of this was an old, old, OLD ticking mattress that was probably from the 30s or 40s (this was in the 60s to the 80s) that sagged in the middle, (a lot), and all that "comfort" was sitting out on a screened in porch, which is mite nigh just a euphamism for being outside. At first 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 from burning up at night. But it was nice to hear the quails sing "Bob White, are the peaches ripe?" at night along with the whippoorwill birds and the million cicadas.  When we got really lucky, we were able to find 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 understand, but as a child, I didn't question it, it had just always been this way). There once in ancient days was an old gas heater out there, but it had long ago succumed to old age (it probably froze to death out there!). You must understand, just like there were Japanese that were found on islands years after the war who still thought it was going on, out family was never informed that the Great Depression had ended. That is how we continued to live on throughout the 70s.   We still thought it was the 30s I guess, we still listened to old reruns of the old radio dramas on that old porch before we went off to sleep, like the Green Hornet and Fibber Magee and Molly.  Anyway, it took our minds off the cold wind coming in with no heater.  When you don't have money, you don't fix things that break, you use them to stack things on, or just to stumble over in the middle of the night. But YOU DON"T THROW THEM AWAY, YOU MIGHT NEED THAT SOMEDAY. (I hear that in my sleep). Anyway, In the winter that bed on the porch was just a little warmer than crawling onto an ice block to sleep. Then you struggled under SO MANY quilts you 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 there was left of it, because you felt like ice! Then you didn't dare move one inch all night because whereever your foot or hand moved, it was ice cold under there. But it was hard to move anyway because the mass of quilts weighed a ton! But we didn't freeze, we survived because of those old quilts, lovingly, painstakingly, stitched with old hands from old pieces of cloth that nobody else wanted. The memories of those old quilts are like gold now. Amazing what a worthless piece of cloth and a lot of love can do!

Snow Storm
The screened-in porch with the tarp covering the screens for more warmth.


Natalie's Family Page

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