Laura Griner's Report

From: GRINERLA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu (Laura Griner)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
Subject: Laura's trip to OKC part 1 (long)
Date: 20 Sep 1995 13:57:09 GMT
Organization: Vanderbilt University

Hi all.  It's 5.30 a.m. Weds; despite the long trip yesterday, I couldn't
fall back to sleep this morning.  So I thought I'd write down impressions
of the trip to see the quilt.  I left, kind of suddenly, Sunday morning
from Nashville--gorgeous sunny day.  CLimbed down off the Cumberland plateau
to the swampy area areound Memphis, where I crossed the great Mississippi.  
Through the cotton and tobacco fields of eastern Arkansas, and then through
the gentle rolling Ozarks ("aux arcs", I learned!).  Somewhre around mind-
Arkansas I realized I had forgotten my clothes.  "Oh boogers," said I (okay,
so that's just a symbolic representation of what I really said).  But I remem-
bered my needlework, so it was okay.  Well then, out of the Ozarks and onto the
beginnings of the Great Plain, and Oklahoma!  Gentle hills, stark, patches
of sunflowers growing in wasteland everywhere.

Got to the hotel and met my first rctn-ers in person ever:  Patty Andersen
and Cindy Davies, also Cindy's dog Mica.  We immediately showed one another
our needlework, ooh, ahh!  

Monday morning we made xerox copies of all the block 
descriptions sent in with blocks, and Patty and Cindy put them into a huge
binder so that they can accompany the quilt.  The descriptions, in their
way, are also remarkable and moving.  Monday afternoon Patty, Cindy, Mica and
I headed out to Thread Connection, a local store that had been recommended
here in the group.  We all had fun and spent a little money there.  The
woman at the store had heard about the quilt just that morning, since the
store was scheduled to present that night at EGA and we were sharing the 
stage, so to speak.  Guild people had called to make sure the store knew.
They were incredibly nice about it and exccited to see the quilt.

I finally got to see the quilt AND to meet a bunch of rctn-ers at the EGA
meeting.  Liz Herman (who organized museum space for the quilt to hang)
and her mom; Pat Wyatt; Elaine Dowling (who presented the quilt); Di 
Michelson (who brought the quilt from IMQ) and her truly *D*h Richard, who
is a folder, lifter, carrier, and table cleaner like no other, and her mom;
oh dear, who am I forgetting?  It's too early for details here.

We unfolded the quilt while EGA did announcements and so had quite a while
to linger over it while everyone was still busy.  It really is striking--
the light-colored squares on the deep, royal blue background:  26 rows
across by 8 rows deep of 6" squares, surrounded by larger quilted
and appliqued squares (I forgot to count how many of those).  It is
absolutely breathtaking, and I recommend a side-trip to OKC to see it for all
of you who possibly can someday.  Beyond that, though, for me it was kind 
of like meeting up with a bunch of old friends.  "Oh, there's Dawn!  Denise,
how beautiful!  Tracy!  Mary!  Pat...Shirah...Lesa...Bonni...Susan...
Rosemary..." and on and on and on.  Each square was a discovery, done with 
such love and feeling; I had read of and˙ recognized many or even most of
them.  There were also so many squares from people who must be quiet as
mice on rctn!  *All* were beautiful.  I could have lingered for hours.

I have to say I think it is unique to "meet" people in this way and for 
such a purpose.  As I studied your squares, looked at your stitches,
thought about the designs you had picked and the colors you chose, thought
about the desire to create beauty, to soothe pain, to declare faith and
solidarity...well, I really am proud to know you all.

I'll post the rest of this iseparately as Part 2.


From: GRINERLA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu (Laura Griner)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
Subject: Laura's trip to OKC part 2 (long)
Date: 20 Sep 1995 20:22:21 GMT
Organization: Vanderbilt University

You have probably already seen Kathy's official post, in which she describes
the sequence of events: presentation to vice mayor Willa Johnson, since the
mayor was out d/t surgery.  Some of us went into the office; some of us
stayed out of the office.  Not a big deal.  By the way, who was there:  
Elaine Dowling (OKC); Liz Herman  and her husband (OKC); Di Michelson and
her husband (Findlay OH) and her parents (Texarkana); Cindy Davies, Mica
the dog, and Patty Andersen (South Dakota); Colleen Gold and her mother
Joyce (Tulsa OK); me (Nashville); Kathleen Marie (who donated the wool--
where from?); Bob, a friend of Robin Ballards's who came to take pictures
for her, and Uncle John, Kara Shiels' uncle who came to take pics for her.
Dedication!  And of course Kathy Dyer (CA), Goddess of the FAQ!

After the brief presentation to vice mayor, we all went into the city council
chamber.  First Pike;s Peak people presented theirs.  Then Elaine spoke
while the rest of us unfolded and held.  Because of the configuration of the
room, the quilt was actually facing away from the city council members, but
they said it was okay because they were watching the monitors.  TV got good
closeups and long shots.  Elaine gave a wonderful brief presentation which 
did a good job of explaining how this thing all came about, how many people were
involved and how it represented a world-wide effort (5 countries!).  She said
she thought that in time *both* quilts will become a treasured part of Oklahoma
history.  I was very glad she incorporated the otehr quilt into her remarks.

Yay HUGS for the press coverage!

As we were refolding, the mayor thanked us graciously.  One council member named
Frosty Peak (no joke) said his mother had been a quilter and would have 
appreciated the effort represented by the quilt.  Another, a woman whose name
I didn't catch, said *her* mother said a handmade gift was a gift of love, and
that they would appreciate our gift as such.  This really touched me.  I think 
she was a bit tearful as she made the remark.  It occurred to me as we were
presenting, especially since ther were two quilts being given, that it is an
act of giving on their part, too, to be receiving our gift so graciously, and
to acknowledge the love and effort that went into it.

After the brief presentation, TV converged on Elaine for additional info,
and the rest of us unfolded and refolded the quilt one last time in the
anteroom of the mayor's offices--one last look at this square and that one
too, and oh yes that gorgeoius one over there--fdid you see this?  Where's
Dawn's?  Oh--here's....and so on.  Then out for coffee and pastry.  I had
to leave fairly quickly for the long ride home.

My camera screwed up so I have NO PICS, but I know several people got a lot
and will be sharing info on how to obtain them.

I wish everyone oculd have been there, but you were in spirit.  I feel at
ease now that the quilt is in its resting spot.  Almost, anyway.

Take care--

p.s. Drove about 1400 miles round trip no problem, then was rear-ended taking
my daughter to school today  :(   No harm done, but I am carrying very close
to me the awareness of how precious and tentative is that particular thread
that keeps us here...

From: GRINERLA@ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu (Laura Griner)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
Subject: Laura's trip to OKC--last word
Date: 22 Sep 1995 17:58:01 GMT
Organization: Vanderbilt University

Hi all.  A few final notes.
--It has been gently pointed out to me that I may have been guilty of
"groupism" in my 2 earlier reports--that is, I kind of neglected the
quilters.  Quilters, please know that my remarks were meant to include
you too, of course.  I wrote in a fog, and since I read rctn only, those
were the names I recognized and that is the group I refer to by default.
But the quilt squares and the quilting itself were awe-inspiring, to me.
I was only sorry, as I looked at the quilt, that I don't know more about
the technicalities of quilting so that I could have a better appreciation of
how exactly you did it.  A truly daunting task; a beautiful result.
--Second, I think I also neglected the meaning of the whole event.  It 
was very emotional; I was tearful several times during the trip, and I
thought a lot about things that are close to my heart: what it means to 
be a citizen of this country; what it means to be someone who grows up with
bombs (or starvation or displacement or pogroms or...); what it means to 
lose a child; what it means to forgive; what it means to survive; what is
important in life--you name it.  The quilt itself seemed to be an amalgamation
of everyone's feelings about these topics too--it was kind of overwhelming.
I experienced a kind of shutdown eventually.  I imagine the people of 
Oklahoma experience this shutdown too.
--I think that's all.  I wish I could do a better job of describing it for
those of you who wanted to be there.  And I wish my pictures had come out!

Copyright © 1994-2005 Kathleen Dyer
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: Sun, Mar 20, 2005