As is often the case, Christmas is a mix of emotions. Sadness and joy all tied together; and so, it was the Christmas of 1987.
The date was mid-December, the 16th, I think. Kim and Tony had come to visit with all the ribbon and thread and stuffing supplies for our Christmas “project”. There are a couple of reasons that I remember this date. One, we had a terrific blizzard that dumped six inches plus of snow, that prevented Kim and Tony from returning home to Bloomington and school. Second, Buck’s mother took a turn for the worst and ended up at the hospital where she passed away that very night. The weather was so severe and the snow so deep it prevented Buck from going to be with her. He tried but managed to get the car buried at the end of our driveway. We were snowbound, at least until our neighbor with four-wheel drive managed to plow through the drifts.
There was nothing we could do so we continued with the Christmas project.
My grandmother, Stella Kate Ogle and her sister Beulah, were quilters. At some point in time I had been given two of their old quilts. One is dated 1942. It is red and white, and my grandmother made it for my dad, her son. He carried it to the South Pacific during WW2 and until he died in 1970. I now use it carefully as my Christmas tree skirt.
The other quilt was pink and white. Kim came up with the idea to make Christmas teddy bears out of it. The quilt was tattered and worn so it was a good idea to make something new out of something old. This is why we happened to all be together during the storm
Our teddy bear project took us three or four days. Each one has a different personality. We made nineteen, one for every child in our family and then some. The only exceptions were an old quilt I got from best friend Julie’s mom. This bear was our Christmas gift to her. He is blue. And another quilt we got from Tony and Kate’s great grandma Evelyn Woolley. He is tan and green.
My dining room table became our work headquarters. Our sewing machine, patterns and scissors, and stuffing covered the table. We had a regular assembly line going. We didn’t attempt to patch up the old quilts but, rather used the tears and worn out places to our advantage.
This memory is a true Christmas story. Laughter and tears all in one meaningful weekend. Betty
“This Teddy Bear we’ve made for you, it was a quilt when it was new.
The quilt has secrets now untold, it comforted both young and old.
Newlyweds, children, whispers in the night.
Sisters, brothers, good night sleep tight.
Like friends and family, old and new;
This Teddy Bear we give to you.
Merry Christmas 1987”