Their Gift of Love
Her love of beautiful things . . . His love of trains . . . Their mutual, enduring love for each other
It was the second marriage for both - combining families to total nine. He worked two jobs, sometimes three. She watched the kids, went back to school and found full time employment. They spent weekends on the shores of Neptune Beach, not far from home, where everyone could play in the water and enjoy a picnic lunch. She saw it one day in the window of a dress shop - she even went inside to inquire about the cost. It was beautiful, but too expensive and they had bills to pay. So, the dress remained in the window. With his strong work ethic and loyalty to obligations, he worked overtime and took on weekend assignments to pay off debt. She walked past the window one day and another dress was on display. She went inside to see if hers was on the sale rack and was told that it had sold. On weekends when they returned to the beach, she searched the shoreline to see who was wearing her red dress, but she never saw it again. If you are familiar with O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, by now you know what happened. He knew that she wanted the dress - he knew that she would look beautiful wearing it. He hauled an extra truck load each weekend to help pay the lay-away bill then brought the dress home to her. According to both, she wore it all the time. Their marriage was solid, with a few minor bumps along the way, but we always saw them holding hands when walking together or interlocking fingers while reading books in their easy chairs. They were a loving example to all who knew them. Some time after she passed away, he asked me to help him sort through her closet. Yes, way in the back - the last item - hung the red sundress. We both sat down and cried, and he told me the story, again. Why did she keep it all of these years and how could he not know it was in there? Would I consider wearing it? No, but I told him that I would make it part of a train quilt that he had been asking about. I saw the design of the red and white fabric as train tracks and would combine it with the train fabric that I had already purchased. In preparing to cut the dress for use in the quilt, it was washed several times and still had sand in the seams when they were opened. The heart is an actual pocket from the dress. Sewing the opening closed, it formed the perfect heart. I read in a blog that a woman sewed old love letters into a quilt - where they would fade with each washing but would always remain with her. I collected sand from those many seams for placement behind the heart, making it part of the label. He knew the sand was there and commented that after a nap, he would occasionally find a few grains on his chest or in his lap. Every quilt tells a story - what special story does your quilt tell?
XOXOX Such a LOVEly story! When so many couples have lost hope for their marriages, along comes this story of the sweetest kind of love between a simple, hard working husband and wife. Thank you for sharing - and for designing such a delightful quilt-memory! Patricia S. 11/8/2014
I am so glad we found the dress in her closet and that he was able to enjoy the quilt for several years. After our dear friend passed away, the quilt came back to live with us.