I would like to give some thought to these…

to take with us if the house catches on fire.

A bias.Wool.  Warm. made of Ties.

working daily in the tie factory

piecing bias at night.

A small face.  My father’s face.  My daughter’s face.

Lives on now, again.

Alice Miller Dorsett, motherless herself.

earning a living washing, cleaning, sweeping at 11.

bringing us bits of style and lets us touch


Velvet for people too poor for royalty.

Flowers for those who never owned land to grow them.

Diamonds for one who only had the glitter of dust on the floor.








Quilts on the go…

if the house catches fire, we need these two

for they represent a time when life was slow.

My grandmother, Edna Gertrude Honn Duckworth,

made them sitting on the stoop of a cold-water flat,

four children already here and asleep in bed.

Waiting for the last baby to come,

knowing that one baby was already dead.

The double headed hatchet gave no gain

The flower basket to bring beauty in the summer

as a lightweight counterpain.

Nothing but scraps in the 1920’s and no money to spend

She created something of beauty

to last until the end.



How long do you keep dead people alive?

I really don’t know.

We have lots of family quilts

that if the house were on fire,

I guess would need to go.

This one is the oldest

created very long ago.

1880 to be exact,

it was her bridal quilt, this for sure we know.

Mary Margaret Saunders Honn,

my mom’s maternal Grandmother.

I’m sure she had hopes and dreams,

but without money, she really had no choice.

It’s easier not to mention

for in that time women had no voice,

but we have to wonder why no one stepped forward

when he beat uncle ray half to death.

It was a little town in Missouri, which no longer is on the map

If you’ve seen the Fried Green Tomatoes

you have a picture in your head.

That is what the town looked like

with a future that might have been filled with dread.

People seem to think that human nature is really just that way,


My mother really loved her, and she was gone before I was born.

I have this quilt but no good memories

and in keeping it, I am torn.




Grab Burton’s necklace…

It’s a little hard to see.

We have been best buds forever


this silver filigree necklace

is really important

to me.

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 2:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Take this little chair…

and put it in the van

if the house catches fire.

It’s been with me

for ever so long

and everyone’s

been in it…


If there’s more room to spare

in the back of the van


These two can go too !

They are a hundred years old

and sat in my

little girl room.

Painted white.

A place of homework

and gloom.

They came from this church…

before I was born

when all the parishioners

wanted modern, Mid-century form.


You know I don’t count…

The women sitting under the tree,

with their quilts,

this is special to me.

My friend, Shirley, made it

from counted cross stitch.

She’s patient and precise.

She’s now a minister

so has none of my vice.

We met as young teachers,

and she was my boss.

In a broken down old building.

I got a A for student teaching

and then took over that class.

We would hang out the

third story windows

and yell,

“Miss Hoffmann is a Toad.”

I forget why that was funny,

but, it was.

Take the Bear and the Barn

if the house catches on fire.

My mom made me the bear when I was older–probably in college.

I don’t really remember, but she was on a crochet kick.

The Barn.

When I was in junior high, mom was working days and we

would take lessons at a local craft shop.

Usually the stuff was in kits,

but I chose the Barn.

A neighbor’s husband built the boxes.

Just lots of cutting and glueing,

but they were nice evenings.

Mom chose the ice cream shop.

Take this one, too,

and put them in the van

if the house catches fire.

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 5:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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I created perfection…once…

So, ppl, if the house is on fire

Grab the suitcase !!!

I could see it in

My mind’s little eye.

And ppl said, “I don’t think so.”

It just needed a bit more work.

And ppl said, “I don’t think so.”

With ribbon woven

And pearls holding it fast.

I knew it would be…

Just perfect…

Even if only for just once

In my past.

There are some quilts that need

to go in the van

if the house is on fire.

Not all of them,

Mind you.

Some are important.

Some are not.

But let’s start with this one.

It needs to go at the top.

I’m not that crazy about the colors

And it wasn’t hard to make.

I made if for behind the Cake Table

When we got married,


That isn’t what’s so special about it, either.

It’s called a Log Cabin

and I made it in 1993.

and it’s really special


It’s the last quilt top

That my mom was


to quilt for me.

Pretty please ?

If the house catches on fire

Can we find room in the van…

for my stove ?

No ?


I just want it known.

I really like my stove.

Published in: on July 12, 2010 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Let’s save the tooth…

if the house is on fire.

My grandfather always carried it in his pocket.

He said it was a lion’s tooth.

Who knows?

But we need it

because everyone needs a lucky tooth!

(I gave him cookies for Christmas, 1970.  His name

was Francis Duckworth and he was raised in

Osceola, MO.  He was a printer, a builder of words.)




Be sure to grab this frame out of my area…

if the house is on fire.

Jack said it was from when Michael drew other things.

I guess that’s really so.

And full of possibilities

when he was only four.

(first day of kindergarten 1989)

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 8:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Quick ! Grab the family silver !

It’s really all we’ve got.

and they needed polishing,

just to get them in this shot.

The little cup is mine with my name upon the side.

The thimble,

it is special

with my grandmother

it did abide.

The story goes that she hurt her finger with

a thimble all worn out.

My grandfather bought this one of sterling silver

which they could not afford,

I wouldn’t doubt.

Both are special to me.

They wouldn’t bring a dime.

But if the house is on fire

I’ll keep them for all time.

My rag doll…

would get thrown in the van

if the house were on fire.

She’s fifty this year

and showing her wrinkles.

With age spots all over her face.

I don’t know who made her all of those years ago.

I was four.

I was in the hospital in Independence, MO.

I had the hives.

She was given to me at the hospital to keep me company.

I guess I wet my PJs and I remember a nurse carrying me

and taking me into a locker room to get dry clothing.

It was very quiet and I was in the crook of her arm.

I also had two black eyes.

My mom said if they had social workers back then,

they would have been banging down their door.

I was playing on Aileen and Raymond Koehly’s organ

and I fell off.

The bench fell on top of me and hit me right on the forehead

giving me two black eyes.

What gave me the hives–they never knew.

I have moved 23 times

And she has moved with me each time.

I’ll give her a name someday,

but for now

she’s just my rag doll.

What would I keep

if I had an hour to decide ?

I do not know

What I would save,

what “stuff” would speak of my life…?

We had a little fire.

Not a great deal was really burned,

but when I asked my daughter what she wanted

it was

just a couple of little Irish dolls.

Now, some things she wanted

and they did get too messed up

but in the end, it was only pictures

and little Irish dolls.

I don’t take many pictures

School pictures still in the envelopes are for that.

Just sometimes ones of things that won’t come again

and if I forgot them, they would be really missed.

I am the keeper of the family items

My mother told me so.

Some things are in my home

Really, because she wanted to know

That once she’s gone those plates she made

will still be on a wall.

My kids don’t have any grandparents.

No aunts or uncles to claim.

They’ve never known family dinners

Unless it’s been 12 hours on a plane.

We have a few pictures of that

before everyone seemed to die.

I think I need to ask them

what items would be important to them

and if they don’t know a story


what they need to know.

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