One of my most precious possessions is a Double Wedding Ring quilt made by Greatgrandma Rollins. She made it for my mother, who treasured it. Mama kept her quilt in a plastic bag on the top shelf of a closet, taking it out occasionally to look at it, to touch the tiny perfect stitches, to admire the bright colors and patterns of the small pieces of feedsack scraps. It was a treat for me to get a closeup look. I loved the combination of the yellow background and lavender backing, and thought that the scalloped border was beautiful. This quilt was a masterpiece, created with love by a skilled seamstress. Even I knew that, as young as I was. I often asked Mama if she would take the quilt out so I could get another look. One day I boldly asked if I could have the quilt for my own. Mama thought about it, and agreed to my request, but said I would have to wait until I grew up and was responsible enough to take care of something so valuable. From then on, I considered it my quilt too, and I couldn't wait to grow up.
Several years later we were moving from Florida back home to Louisiana. My mother, sister, and I went on ahead with the basic necessities. My stepfather was to stay and pack up the rest of our belongings then join us at our home in Louisiana. Imagine our shock and horror when he drove up a couple of days later with our treasured keepsake tied over the top of a load of furniture in the back of his pickup truck! Our beautiful Double Wedding Ring quilt with its delicately scalloped border had been used as a tarpaulin, exposed to the elements across the entire southern United States, and was now sodden, windblown, and filthy. To say that Mama and I were as furious as the thunderstorm our poor bedraggled quilt had been subjected to would be an understatement.
I became the sole owner of the quilt sooner than I had expected. Though tattered and frayed, there has never been a quilt more loved and treasured, more looked at and touched and used, than Greatgrandma's Double Wedding Ring quilt, which was never meant to be stored in a plastic bag on the top shelf of a closet, taken out only occasionally to be admired, anyway.