Quilt

Kathryn Bly’s Quilt

  • February 9, 2013
Kathryn Bly’s Quilt

Kathryn Bly’s Quilt – 1906 Unseen for more than 60 years!

Kathryn Bly ca. 1905

Kathryn Bly ca.1905

This is a quilt made by Kathryn Bly in 1906, more than 100 years ago. It has not seen the light of day for at least 60 years – the day that Kathryn died and the quilt subsequently passed on to Ma (Elsie Joyce Blashill).

Ma kept the quilt, along with other precious heirlooms like her wedding dress, Dad’s Navy officer’s blouse, a 48 star Anerican flag, and a boxed set of silverware, in one of those classic chests made of mahogany lined with cedar that graced the living room of the house on Kinmore Court.

The “real” story is the tale of the journey Kathryn’s Quilt has taken since it left her hands.

Back in the Spring of 1988, as I was taking leave of Los Angeles – actually Venice (a community that author James Ellroy once characterized with the epithet “where the sewer meets the sea”) – when my ex, Deborah (she took most of the photos in the slideshow “Davidsons 1983”) ran up holding a cardboard box addressed to me in Ma’s flawless handwriting (a lost art). “I think you’ll want to take this with you”, she said.

“What is it?”

“I think it’s your Mom’s quilt”, she replied.

So we opened the box and spread the quilt out on the bed.

“No, this is my Grandmother’s quilt” I exclaimed. “From 1906”.

So here was this family heirloom, a fabulous quilt hand made by our maternal Grandmother, sent to me for some reason by Ma, and I had no recollection of ever receiving it. And had it not been for Deborah’s thoughtfulness – my thoughtlessness might have resulted in the quilt winding up in some antique shop in L.A. today.

Sometime later, after moving to San Francisco, I called sister Anita. She had sent me a trove of documents and photos from Mary Blashill Rogers’ archives and we were talking about what to do with them. “I have something Ma gave me that I think you should have”, I said. “It’s Kathryn Bly’s quilt.”

To this day I don’t know why Ma sent it to me. Traditionally, these sort of things are passed on mother to daughter as Kathryn had passed her quilt on to Ma.

So now this is where Kathryn Bly’s handiwork lives – safely and lovingly in the possession of one of her granddaughters – Anita Cabadas.

“True” story.

iPhoneography by Anita Cabadas.

Originally posted February 9, 2013.


© Kazkar Babiy ™ MMXIII.

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