I’ve been going through old photos recently and sorting them (and my memories) by the decades they were taken. It’s interesting to see the old “Butter in the Well” house in the background. They were all snapshots of everyday life at that moment, and now so many memories later…
Then I think of photos I’ve been given of the first family that lived on the same farm, and see the same backgrounds. (The first photo is of Mabel and Julia Runneberg standing in front of the house in the early1900s, and the second photo is me, by the same gate on my first day of school in 1960.)
It makes me wonder, who used which bedroom, where did their kitchen table sit, how many times was the quilt stand set up in the parlor?
“Aunt” Julia grew up in the same house that I did. She was born in 1884, and I, seventy years later. Although she wasn’t a relative of mine, we called her Aunt Julia because she was almost everyone’s aunt in our farming neighborhood. She married the boy next door and lived her next sixty years a quarter of a mile from her childhood home. Aunt Julia was like a grandmother to me, and my occasional babysitter.
She was bedridden in her last year of life at home. It was hard for me to visit her because it made me so sad to see her waste away.
One time I didn’t go over with my mom to see her, and Aunt Julia sent home some quilts for me to have. Of course, now I wish I could have gotten the quilts—and the stories behind the them—direct from Aunt Julia, but at age seventeen I didn’t think of that.
I can just imagine Julia, as a teenager in the 1890s, stitching this crazy quilt together in the parlor, the same room that we used for our sewing projects.
And I can see this quilt being carried out in 1911 when Julia married—and back in 1971 when I received it—through the same gate in front of the house we both used…
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