Dirty Dozen Day, 2-1-24

The number for February is Number One – 1.

If you’re doing the color challenge the color is GREEN.

To card recipient families – Lu, Maggie, Esther – ?who am I forgetting. Please tell me their birthdays to post here in the blog for those who are sending cards.

We had such a nice day today – 53 degrees! Took the dogs for a drive on the wilderness trail even though it was pretty muddy. Lots of work inside the house – including cleaning, litter boxes, some windows – that ugly midwinter clean up of mud, leaves and pet hair. What could you expect with 3 dogs and 8 cats?

As I cleaned I found things – like all these first few issues of American Patchwork and Quilting – you already know I don’t throw things away. I think we had projects in nearly every one of these first issues.

Jake’s Quilt – I want to make this again soon – in PINK! Yes, I can send you the pattern for $5.00 and SASE. Not just sure when I’ll get it started.
Valentines Quilt – 1600 quilt

I also found this book –

I have so many underlined passages and notes in this book from 2018. This is what I had written on the dedication page:

“Every time I read an obituary of someone I had visited at Concord I think, “I wish I had known that about the person who just died! It could have been a source of discussion – and now it’s too late – they’re gone. This book should be in every care center – I wish I had written it.”

Years ago in the Goat Gazette I wrote a piece called “Everybody Has A Story” and it’s so true. All you have to do is ask a few questions. When you go to visit someone in the care center, what can they add to the conversation? They haven’t been out of the building or maybe not out of their room. All you can do is tell them what YOU have been doing – pretty discouraging. But what if you had some questions to ask them to make them remember and to think.

This is from the book –

Describe the place where you grew up –

Any landmarks?

Your favorite season?

What chores did you have?

How did most families make a living?

What did you like best about where you grew up?

So many great conversation ideas!!

I might be too tired to sew tonight. Thank you again to everyone who is sending cards and Valentines – just makes me happy!

Remember the meat loaf comic? It’s only funny to me because I hate meatloaf! Here’s a good one I got today:

Are you laughing? I am!!!

This got too long – sorry.

58 thoughts on “Dirty Dozen Day, 2-1-24

  1. Judy

    For Christmas our daughter gave us StoryWorth. Each week we are sent a question that she chose. My husband and I individually write our answers then combine our responses to submit. The questions range from “How did you meet?” to “What was the first thing you remember as a child?” “What was it like growing up on the farm?” “What was your family home like growing up?” Not only did we answer the specific question that was asked, but we also told about other things that came to mind. I said that we first answered the questions individually, but we might have similar answers. For our all-time favorite restaurants, among others we both mentioned Lawry’s, where we had a delicious meal and excellent service on our honeymoon in L.A. Being a valedictorian is only important for filling our college applications and forms for scholarships, so our son-in-law found out that our daughter was valedictorian of her senior class as was her sister and myself. No longer important but an interesting fact. Soon we’ll receive a book of our answers from the past year. It will not only be a book that our daughters and granddaughters can enjoy , but it has been a time to bring up memories of the past for my husband and me.
    I really enjoy your blog. Keep writing about your “everyday” life. And I enjoy all of the pictures.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Judy – wow! I am so impressed! And I have never heard of StoryWorth. Wont this be a fun read for your family?

  2. Kathy L

    the funny story i thought was great, made me think of my monster in law,
    I most likely have all those quilt magazines also, I never through anything out either.
    been sending cards to all, love all the quilts you showed.

  3. Janet Easley

    Mary,
    Blog entries this week have been varied – beautiful quilts, the wonderful pictures showing your sister’s painting talents, animals, a new lady to be showered with cards, discussion about family stories and more. Time that you spend in putting this all together is always appreciated when I see the newest blog entry in my Inbox, whether it’s short or long. Thank you.
    My older daughter, while in high school, wanted to interview her Papa, (my former father-in-law), about his time in WWII – a young man at 18. We sat down with a cassette recorder and asked questions. I typed up his responses and made copies for him and his children. Reading through it, Papa decided he’d left some things out. So, he sat down with his sister-in-law to fill in the blanks. We all got a copy, mine I had him sign. It was fortuitous this was completed, because in his later years Alzheimer’s disrupted the mind of this wonderful, caring doctor, surgeon and family man. I was proud of my daughter for being the instigator for this written legacy of Papa’ s service.
    My grandmother lived in a nursing home the last three years of her life. I was 3 – 6 years old at the time. I remember my mom told me the other residents would be interested to see me and talk as well as my grandmother and to respond with kindness. She said that some of them had no visitors or family lived far away and a child was a ray of sunshine they would talk about for days. My mother had lots of music from the early to mid 20th century in sheet music. In my late teens I decided I could play those pieces and entertain at a nursing home with a little recital several times a year. The first time the audience was small. The next time I went back about 8 were waiting for me and the audience grew over time. It was a win win – kept my fingers limber and brought memories back for the residents. The last 20 years of teaching the whole fifth grade at my school went to three care centers at Christmas. It was at the music teacher’s suggestion, we got approval from the school/district and called it a community outreach. She prepared them, I took over the planning and leading the singing when we arrived at the centers. Before leaving on the filed trip I shared with each class the advice given to me by my mother. Each child had a card to give and were encouraged to circulate. Often the number of students was 2-3 times the size of the audience. So the residents were well loved through handshakes and hugs, with a few kisses thrown in. Even the toughest or most reluctant child came away with a smile on their face. Again, a win win. So, sending cards to lovely ladies in care centers is right up my alley. Thanks Mary, for getting this rolling.
    Jan in AZ

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jan – what an interesting story – I loved it! Little kids are still popular at care centers – our elementary school goes there pretty often with Halloween costumes, Christmas, and other holidays.

  4. Linda in North Carolina

    Mary, I’m going through more American Patchwork and Quilting magazines today (my Groundhog Day birthday) and I found your Drunkards Path wall hanging in the April 1996 issue. I’m going to add it to my to do file as I love it. I’m enjoying this birthday because the next one will be my 80th. I love the questions to ask those we visit. Your blogs have so many suggestions on helping others.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – wow – that little quilt is even hand quilted!!! I wonder if I still have it. How would I find it – ugh. A waste of valuable time to search.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda in NC – and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! You’ll be a great 80, too!

  5. Launa Peters

    Mary….Happy Groundhog Day….news mentioned Snow is coming! Glad because we have over 5 feet deep on the property…..LOL…Road is plowed! WINTER IS NOT OVER!
    Those were great ideas to ask the Elderly. Wonder if Lu or Esther would respond to those who send Valentines or birthday cards?
    I’m rereading some of my old Debbie Macomber novels! A few are signed! Some were gifts!
    What age is considered Elderly? Think about it!
    Launa

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Launa – no, they will not be able to respond but only enjoy their cards. I think 70 is considered elderly.

  6. Ann in PA

    Your “blog about nothing” is wonderful! I love what you are doing. When my children were in elementary school, they visited a local nursing home each month. (I was a chaperone/driver) The children took handmade cards (Snowman, Valentine, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter. etc.) and looked forward to visiting the residents. One woman, “Tilly” had a dolly that she held tight and as a small group of children filed into her room and surrounded her bed, she exclaimed, “Oh look! Aren’t they beautiful! One, two, three, four…” She fussed over the children for a bit, then suddenly and loudly, said, ‘GO! Leave! Go get your own spoon”. The children just smiled and filed out to make their rounds with other residents, then return to “Tilly” and go through her welcoming, then “GO! Leave! routine. The staff told us that many residents didn’t have family visitors and mostly just sat quietly day after day. When residents knew the children were coming, they would get dressed and anticipate their visit. I had many chats with several who told interesting stories about their lives and the local history. When in High School the students did similar Community Service as credit toward graduation. One mom said she didn’t want to expose her child to the smell and thought it was depressing. She would not allow her child to go. I thought it was sad because I saw, first-hand, how the children interacted with the residents. Children are more excepting, compassionate, and understanding than some adults. I’m off my soap box! lol

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Ann – your soapbox is right up my alley! Children need to be exposed to old age so they know it exists.

  7. Mareen

    They have so many stories to tell and I love listening. Sometimes we take too long to appreciate the time spent with our elders and pretty soon we’re there. Thanks for sharing. Mary looks like a great book to read.

  8. Chris

    Our mom wrote her life story and my sister had it published in hard cover for each of us kids. Then we gave Mom a word processor, and she wrote a few more chapters. Those were duplicated and distributed but not published in hard cover. When our son was in junior high, he was assigned to interview and older person. He chose our mom, and she told him even more stories–ones we had never heard. So we have a small library of what it was like to grow up in the 30’s in a rural community. Her dad was a carpenter. There are so many stories! I really thought I didn’t have anything to compare with those stories, but not that we are retired, when we get together, we often have stories like that to share with each other and our spouses. We have never recorded them because we can’t imagine anyone would care to hear or read them. We just reminisce and laugh. PS Your blog is NEVER too long, Mary!! Thank you for writing it.

  9. Barb J

    I am a Hospice volunteer and these suggestions for conversation starters are exactly what I use to get my patients talking about themselves. Most love to discuss their past and the good old days!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Barb – Fantastic! Do you have others that you could suggest? This book I talked about was written by a mother daughter hospice volunteer duo.

  10. Sandra Pierson

    PIECERS UNITE !
    The pictures of those early magazines showed a Storm At Sea quilt on the cover.
    I am ready to start making that design but cannot find a pattern that uses templates rather than paper piecing.
    Does anyone have an older book with this pattern in it? If so, who is the designer and what is the name of the book?
    Thank you for your help.
    Sandy Pierson

  11. Sally J. Mi.

    Happy Ground Hogs Day and he did not see his shadow here in my neck of the woods!!
    Putting up my Valentine quilts and things today. Thank you for the conversation starters.

  12. Diana in Des Moines

    Don’t ever apologize for writing too much. I would much rather read the blog than get up and do something time wasting, like vacuuming. LOL
    My mom has lived with us since last year after a devastating fall in her home. We have had the best conversations about family members who have passed on. My mom and I are the end of the line in her family. I used to think these talks were boring, but as I age, I find them fascinating. My mom grew up around Knoxville, and she tells the story of my grandparents losing their farm in the 50-60’s when Red Rock Dam was built.
    We just need to listen to the stories, they are our history and history is slowly being erased to fit a narrative.
    Working on the stars in my 30 Stars quilt. Getting there!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diana – your mom is so lucky to have a daughter who allowed her to move in! We talked about this with my mom over the years and then she had a stroke and went to the care center and I was so sorry. Aren’t those conversations priceless? How interesting about the dam and their farm.

  13. Susan Moore

    Mary, thank you very much for the book recommendation my mother is in a nursing home and I visit frequently. I have lunch with her and 2 other lady’s it is interesting to hear about their lives and see them perk up while they are talking. I ordered the book and look forward to having new questions to ask.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – please tell me what you think of the book after you’ve looked it over.

  14. Angie from Baltimore

    My first laugh of the day. Thank you but hope it won’t be my last and don’t fear it so.
    We are hoping that Spring is coming soon but we are lulled into this sense of stupidity as I know we are going to get slammed once more before it comes.
    I live in a retirement community and can’t wait to share the book story I am sure there will be laughs around the table. We are a table family of 6 and we laugh a lot. The table next to us we call the Quaker table because they sit in silence mostly. A new person sat at that table and the “captain “ of that table said. “ we are the sedate table and pointing to ours said AND that is the rowdy table”. She said it loud enough we heard it and the one lady at our table who is 99 asked if she had heard right and when we responded yes. She laughed and said” that is why I love sitting here”. And we all laughed again. We call ourselves OUR TABLE FAMILY. And we love and care about each other. Makes us happy

    1. Kathy in western NY

      Aww Angie that is a cute table story. I find it refreshing you share so much with your other people there in the retirement community. Interaction is so important as we get older and tend to isolate. These communities help keep people active with activities and connections. I did a sewing group for my mother in laws care home and sitting around the table listening to their stories was more fun than than seeing an end result of a stitched seam as they struggled to use their hands. The staff would tell me don’t worry about completing anything as they need the chance to share their stories instead. Sewing was such a part of their lives out of necessity back then before the abundance of clothing we now have.

  15. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Great questions for seniors. One of my friends has written her autobiography. I gave my parents each a grandparent book to fill in. My dad did, but my mom did not. I am typing his up for the grands. I love the MIL joke; I laughed out loud. I am going to work more in the sewing room today. It is sunny again! 🌞 Jake’s quilt is so colorful—love it.

  16. Lynette in Orlando

    Thank you for starting my day with a laugh – after all, laughter is the best medicine. 🙂

  17. Pamela Dempsey in Northeast Texas

    What a great chuckle!!!🤭 Now that person was thinking! That would be awesome to have played! We got up to the low 70s last couple of days and supposed to have a rainy weekend. I made my first pouch and now going to attempt the Tourist tote bag pattern to match. Penny and Lucy say “hey” 😻

  18. Lisa B

    Not too long, perfect length. And ending with the laugh, priceless. I’ll have to dig out my copies of AP&Q and re-visit your quilts from those issues. I have every issue. The first few years are organized. The last few, not so much.

  19. Dorothy

    Not only “should” you ask the questions, but you should also record them and the stories that answer your questions

  20. Vicki Ibarra

    I have received American Patchwork and Quilting since their first issue. The content/approach has changed some over the years, but I still find many projects I work on each year. There are some issues that I think, “well, nothing here appealed”. I do remember your projects in the early issues.

    I remember asking my Dad about WWII. He could tell me about basic training, the troop ship trip to Africa, time in India (yes, there were Army Air Corps soldiers based there) , where he saw the Taj Mahal. He was an airplane mechanic and shared how they would count the planes that left on each mission and count them on returning, learning how many did not come back. Hard times.

    After seeing your 1600’s quilt, I think I should add that to my list of quilts to make. I made one years ago in white, lavenders, and dark purples. I should try a scrappy one.

  21. Martha W in WY

    Mary, this is a great blog. My mother turns 100 Feb. 16th. She I in MN. So, when I visit 3/4 times a year, I always ask her questions about her life, our home town, and even about my dad’s life as he passed in 1997. My problem is that I don’t write her thoughts down nor record them. She lives alone, takes care of her personal needs, and cooks for herself. She is a walking history book. I really like “Jake’s Quilt.” I’ll be sending for that pattern. That pickup parking isn’t too bad. We aren’t privy to how many vehicles were around it when the driver parked. Let’s cut him or her some slack. We’re getting back from our Hawaii trip. We had funky weather with some rainy days. Seeing the burned remenets of Lahaina was sobering.

    1. Janet S

      Martha, It would be nice if you brought a tape recorder to record all your mother’s experiences. The stories would be captured for the future.

    2. Mary Etherington Post author

      Martha – would you like us to send cards to your mom for her 100th birthday? You must tell me about her so I can post that along with her address. Just let me know.

  22. DebMac

    Interesting point of conversation for almost anyone really. My FIL was a wonderful story teller and did write many of his memories down. When our mother died, my sister wrote the obituary and had Mom being born at rural Camp Point; when I read it I corrected the place to rural Clayton as Mom had always told me that they didn’t leave the rental farm she was born on until the week after she was born. Her birth certificate only gives the county and since they both are in the same county, that is no help. Sister and I just agreed to disagree. I got quite a chuckle out of the joke about “The Exorcist”; during those teen years when my mother and I didn’t see eye to eye most of the time, I never failed to wish her a happy Lizzie Borden day. Or on those days she was especially trying to just start reciting “Lizzie Borden took an ax”. Things eventually got to where we could laugh about those years. She got me good when she called one August 4th and after I started in about my daughter being “that way”; she calmly wished me a happy Lizzie Borden Day. I had forgotten all about our “joke” until she mentioned it. Funny thing, her own mother thought the Lizzie Borden business was funny while it was going on. What goes around does come around. Jack is out doing mud runs several times a day chasing birds or squirrels. Back and forth across the yard until he is worn out. He will rest a moment and repeat. Guess he is back to normal after surgery.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      DebMac – oh, yes, the mud! We didn’t have much snow but it certainly created mud. I just know Jack is enjoying himself! My friend Michele, Beamer’s mom, is getting their new puppy in 6 weeks – she gets weekly updates and pictures of them and shares them with me. I can’t wait either.

  23. Elizabeth

    Mary, you really made me think! As I have gotten older I have wished I could sit down for a day with any of my grandparents and ask them about their lives before I knew them. I wish I could ask my
    parents, aunts and uncles too about their experiences in WW II; it was always a closed subject but all of the men served in one way or another and my mom wás an RN who worked in a hospital caring for wounded in WW 2. They had all passed by 1998, and I have so many unanswered questions! Thank you again for your blog. It is the last thing I read before bed. I do hope you understand how much we faraway friends appreciate you!

  24. Charlotte in Northern California

    Great blog today as always. Great questions to ask the elderly. I’m going to write them down.
    In the last few years my dad has been telling me stories of his time in the navy during WWII. He joined when he was 15 but said he was 16. Times were so different then.
    I like to ask people how they met their spouse. Lots of interesting stories.

  25. Charlotte

    Mary, such a great point about asking older family and neighbors about their lives. A few years before my father died. I did a one hour weekly interview with him. I started doing it because he was a widower and the neighbor he used to walk with was not available for a month due to knee surgery so I wanted to give my dad a particular project, that would distract him from the friend he was missing. Well, I thought that I had heard all the stories from his life before I came along, but he remembered many other things like remembering when he was a little boy that their flat was illuminated by gaslight as it was before electricity was available, and how his family moved out of a rented flat every summer during the Depression and camped on the shore of Lake Erie along with other families, to save money, or when he first learned that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and he and his friends sat around the radio, listening to President Roosevelt’s address, and then talked about and tried to imagine what it would be like to go to war, and what happened when he was called up, drafted, and reported for duty, how my mother followed him from base to base when he was in training (they’d been married just a few months) and found jobs while he was posted abroad where of course she didn’t follow him. And many many many stories besides. Now that it’s possible to travel the world it’s interesting to reflect, and realize that my parents’ lives tho mostly confined to two states, were so much bigger than I ever could’ve imagined.

    1. Cynthia from SW MN

      Charlotte, What two states did your father’s family live? I cannot imagine a family doing this. My recollection of people moving is from an observation my mother recalled. She grew up on a farm in Murray County, Minnesota. She said they knew when a neighbor was moving as they made many trips by their farm, farmers had to moved apparently by March 1st. This would have been in the 1930’s-1940’s. They never moved as they owned their farm. As for myself living in Tracy, people rarely moved. We never moved. The times have changed so much, but they also seem to be circling back with so many people that cannot afford housing today. I never remember knowing or hearing about homeless people when I grew up either.

      1. Mary Etherington Post author

        Cynthia – March 1 was the farm rental start – growing season, etc. Renters moved on March 1 so they were ready to plant – new kids showed up at school around March 1.

  26. Marlene Leonardo

    Great joke/story about the mother-in-law and the Exorcist book. I laughed out loud.

  27. Jeanie S, Central IL

    What a great post! I will try to remember those suggested conversation starters, and I love the Exorcist story-so funny. Jake’s Quilt is wonderful.
    I hope your kitties enjoyed the sunshine today. It was in the 50’s here, too.
    Thanks, Mary 🥰

  28. Moe NE IL

    Hi Mary, When my MIL was in a home I went often to see her. I would visit with others living there too. I asked a man who was in his late 90’s what he did for a living before he retired … his mind went back to the 1930’s, he told me stories of riding the rails in search of a job. Very interesting. Ok, going to look to finish a green UFO! Enjoy this weather while it lasts.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      And that’s one of those great questions that leads the resident back in time! I need to get to Concord tomorrow or Saturday and change out their quilts.

  29. Sandy

    Hi Mary, the jeep wasn’t too bad at parking compared to some of the other examples! Very windy and wet in New Zealand today, my outside chair got blown down the driveway and jnto the gutter! Making a couple of dresses to wear on the cruise in june this week, still plodding away on spring cleaning. Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  30. Linda in North Carolina

    I have been cleaning out my bookshelves and old magazines and guess what I went through a bunch of American Patchwork and Quilting magazines from the 90’s today!!! Pulled out a few projects to keep and threw the rest out. When was the first magazine published? Still have more to go through.

      1. patti

        i have kept every issue of this magazine. even have some pages autographed by the designers. my fav magazine. patti in florida

    1. San

      Hi Linda,

      Is there a library or quilt group who would enjoy the magazines?

      I pass many items to art teachers or bible study teachers.

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