Tribute to a Parrot Head

When my children were toddlers I became involved with a volunteer project at my work called ABC Quilts. ABC Quilts was a national organization that provided quilts to At Risk children; those born HIV positive, drug/alcohol dependent, neglected, abuse, etc.  The group met once a month on a Saturday to sew the quilts.  Through this group I gained several things:  an interest in quilting, "me" time and many friendships.  

This group came into my life at a point when I was feeling lost and alone.  Working my entire career with men, I hadn't developed any strong female relationships at work. My children were not yet into any activities, so meeting other mothers was difficult.  Ed is a home-body and has always preferred sitting at home over going out with other couples.  In short, my daily life consisted of going to work and then coming home and being a wife/mother. My only break from the routine came whenever I loaded the kids in the car to spend a weekend at my parents' in Cincinnati.  I was very lonely and too busy to do anything about it.

Then I heard about the quilting group.  The group had formed a year or two earlier and were campaigning for more members.  I told Ed that I wanted to participate in this group.  He agreed it was a good idea.  Very quickly I lost the loneliness and felt a part of group that understood being a working mom.

One of the ladies in this group was named Ginny.  She was a very active part of this group.  She loved batiks, bright colors, the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet.  You could always count on her to have a smile or a joke to tell.

As my kids grew and became involved in extra-curricular activities, I found that I couldn't make the monthly Sew-Ins.  My participation dropped off but I still felt the group of women were a vital part of my life.

As with many companies since 2000, work dropped off and people lost their jobs.  Ginny was among those that were let go.  She found another job for a couple years, but retired from that place to spend more time with her husband and her daughter who lived out of state.  She also didn't participate as often as in the past.

About a year and a half ago I decided that it was time to reconnect with the group.  The membership has changed and we no longer meet in a conference room at my work.  Ginny would show up if she were in town.  I saw her last in November or December and gave her a big hug before I left that day.

That hug is a precious memory.  In mid-January the group learned that Ginny found out she had an aggressive cancer. By the time we found out she was already in hospice.  She died 3 weeks later.  I wasn't able to go to her memorial service because it was held on the weekend that I was taking Kristin to tour dental schools.

Each year the quilt group makes a quilt to raffle off to raise funds.  This year's quilt is a tribute to Ginny.  I volunteered to make parrot head blocks to place in the corners of the quilt.  Unable to find a block that was available commercially, I designed a parrot head to make using the paper-pieced technique.  As I sew these blocks, the memories of those early days come flooding back.

The intent of the quilts we made were to provide love and comfort to children who started life at a disadvantage.  But whenever love is involved, there always seems to be more than enough to share.  I also gained love and comfort from the quilts through the wonderful women like Ginny that became a part of my life.

Time now to find my lost shaker of salt.