Sunday, March 25, 2018

Grandma's Kitchen, block #24: Grandma's Purse

Block #24 of Pat Sloan's Grandma's Kitchen sew along is Grandma's Purse. Since I'm not really a purse person, I don't really remember much about Gramma Ann's purse, other than her eagerness to grab it and go whenever there was fun to be had! Gramma loved Wickenburg, the (sometimes wild) west, and the world.

Gramma lived most of her final years in sunny Wickenburg, Arizona. It's a sleepy western town known for ranches, roping, and Remuda Ranch, best known for its sex addiction and eating disorder recovery programs.  

I have been visiting Wickenburg to my see Gramma, Grampa, and or my Mom for close to 35 years!  It's always fun to introduce a new generation to the jail tree in the center of town.

My favorite place in Wickenburg, though, is just off a dusty road behind the retirement community where my elders called home. Decades ago, my grandparents started a tradition of writing names in the rocks. I believe my Grampa Leo was the first one.

My mom, aunt, and I have all been combing through our photos trying to find a photo of "Ann" or "Manthei" without luck. Hopefully one of us will find a picture and I'll add it here. I did find a photo of my name, which was has been there since the 80s.

My husband and son both added their names. And there is a very special name there, JO.

Niels and I lost two babies before our son was born. Because I was 35 when I got married, each loss was accentuated by a fear that I would never carry a child to term. After our second loss, and before  D was born, we added "JO" to the rock collection. It stands for Just Ours. It is comforting to know that our babies are remembered among the names of their relatives.

I found some rock fabric after I finished all the blocks and I knew I needed to include in some way. All I had left was the binding, which I think is perfect.

Before Gramma moved to Wickenburg, she used to take trips around the world. My grandpa wasn't big on international travel, so Gramma visited Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Ireland without him! She used to bring me dolls and coins as souvenirs. I'm said to say that both the dolls and photos of her travels are gone.

Gramma used to keep stenographer pads as journals of her travels and of her days. I saw a few of them the last time I was in her Arizona house. Unfortunately, her handwriting is as hard to read as mine is!

For the last decade of her life, after Grampa passed, she still traveled around the US to visit her daughters. They would take pictures and make binders of travel memories for her.

I suspect she looked through these photos often as she missed the ones she loved.

I chose the fabric I did for this block because I couldn't believe it had tiny Wickenburg on it.

And for all her adventures in life--and a move to Wisconsin at the end--her travels came to an end in Wickenburg, where her ashes rest next to those of Grampa Leo.

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