Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Memory Quilt

    I have a memory quilt that goes back into my life for the pattern. There are many stories connected with each block in my life. This goes back before I was born.
    With happy anticipations in making my baby dresses, my mother saved a small square or scrap of each dress. She had a box to put the scraps into. My mother told me that in those days baby dresses were made long and shortened when the child was ready to walk. On the first scrap was embroidered my birthdate, October 29, 1894, and a small gold baby pin was attached.
    When I became 18 I pieced squares together that she had saved from each dress I had up to that time, making a beautiful quilt top. As I sat looking it over, it was like a scrapbook with many delightful memories treasured down through the years. I've always loved my mother for saving those pieces. I know they were dear to her for many dates were embroidered on them.
    I remember the polka dot dress I had on at 2 years as my father lifted me over a rail fence. And there is the dress in which I had my photo made while visiting an aunt at 4 years in Springfield. I remember we made the trip by wagon and team, camping overnight. Now we can reach there in 3 hours by car.
    I see my school dresses at 7 years--calicos, ginghams, and linse-woolsey dyed red. The last was for the winter's cold and was woven by my mother.
    I had lawns for summer. Here's a Fourth of July dress--the one I wore when I recited "Independence Bell" on the program. And there's a scrap from the dress in which I recited a poem in the bandstand, "The Blue and the Gray," for an old soldiers' reunion. An old soldier carried me through the crowd on his shoulder. I was 12.
    There is the dress I was baptized in at 14--an event treasured in my memory.
    And the dress I wore on my first date at 15. I remember I played with dolls until I was that age. Sometime I may write about them and how I cried when I put them away, realizing I was a "big girl" now.
    Finally, my wedding dress at 18, made beautifully by Mother's hands. I don't remember ever having a ready made dress until after I was married.

Mellie Cole
March 1950

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