CNHI News Service

Opinion

December 7, 2012

COLUMN: Patchwork of memories from his sweetheart

— Lois loved T-shirts.

She didn’t think of herself as a collector but she owned dozens of the simple cotton shirts shaped like a T.

A small, slender woman who spent most of her life as a homemaker, Lois found T-shirts to be comfortable and casual apparel - a perfect fit for her lifestyle.

As with all of her clothing, she knew how to take care of T-shirts.

When the shirts go too old or too ragged, she laundered them carefully and wrapped them in tissue paper to be stored like a treasure.

She had T-shirts from colleges, cartoon characters, TV commercials, places she’d been and other situations.

She had white ones and colored ones and even a couple that were tie-dyed.

No question about it, Lois loved T-shirts.

When she died last summer at the age of 85, her husband and their four daughters had the sad task of determining what to do with all of her clothes.

The dressy clothes and most of the casual stuff went to family, friends and various charities. The T-shirts were too special, too personal for a quick decision.

Later, as they worked through the drawers filled with T-shirts, her family took turns laughing and crying as they recalled her in particular shirts.

But that journey back to happier days before her final illness had the most impact on Ray, her husband of almost 67 years.

His eyes frequently brimmed with tears as he pictured his sweetheart in her many T-shirts across the timeline of their lives together.

It was after one of those tender, tearful moments that a loving conspiracy was hatched.

Ray’s daughters decided to select a combination of Lois' favorite T-shirts to become the top of a new quilt for Ray's bed.

The quilt would be a keepsake of memories for this grieving, 88-year-old man struggling to find direction after losing his life’s companion.

The daughters shared the quilt plan, much to their father’s delight, and he picked out the material to which the blocks of T-shirt fabric were attached.

No less than a dozen women - daughters, granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law - affectionately put stitches into that quilt.

An old saying among quilters is “those who sleep under a quilt, sleep under a blanket of love.”

And that’s exactly where Ray now sleeps each night, wrapped in the warm companionship of the love of his life.

---

Keith Kappes is a columnist for the Morehead (Ky.) News. Contact him at kkappes@cnhi.com.

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