My Patchwork Quilt

Although I have collected family stories all of my life, I have only been involved with writing stories since the mid 1980\'s, around the time I started making patchwork quilts.

My 2 children watched in amazement as I cut up pieces of fabric into tiny shapes and carefully, lovingly stitched the different coloured shapes together to make a square. Slowly, the pile of completed squares amassed in a pile at the edge of the table until the correct number was reached.

Once again, I cut lengths of fabric into strips to make the \'rails\' to hold all of the squares together and pieced the squares and rails together to form a strong bond. Finally the quilt emerged, with each precious square surrounded by strong rails and a border, before the padding and the base were quilted together by pretty stitched patterns, buttons or ties.

How like a warm, familiar quilt is your family collection of heritage stories? Mine has squares gathered from my early childhood life in Brisbane, Queensland, where my daily life was interwoven with other members of the large Wallace family clan.

Many of the squares represent Adelaide, South Australia, where I spent the majority of my life, arriving as a girl of 6 from Brisbane (and my wonderful Wallace relatives). I completed my schooling in Adelaide, went on to study nursing, married Brian Withers when I was 21 years old and raised a small family in Stirling and Aldgate. Adelaide was a great place for Ken and Susie to grow up and we all have wonderful memories of our life there.

There are a few scattered patch squares reflecting my life in  Perth in Western Australia, nestled on the Indian Ocean, where I married John Payne in 2004 and opened History from the Heart, my personal history business.

I have made patchwork quilts for both of my children and as adults, they cherish these tangible memories as they snuggle under them each night, remembering the many hours of love stitched into each square.

What is your personal history like? What analogy best represents your collection of memories, stories, letters, photos and memorabilia?

Justin's courage
The Pearl Earring

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