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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Quilt's story is in the stitches

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kevin Smith presents Kathy Lamb with her piece of hometown history.
(Submitted photo)
Kevin Smith of Bargain Depot acquired an unusual quilt from the estate of Robert and Margarette Brown. In April, the Times-Gazette published a picture and request for information about the quilt.

I was so amazed and surprised to see it when I opened the paper. I had seen this quilt before in 1992, and knew I had the story Mr. Smith was looking for.

My family had known the Browns for many years. Margarette told me she had a quilt that my grandmother and mothers names were on. I told my mother, Rubye Hardison Dixon about it and she remembered helping her mother, Annie Neal Hardison and the Bedford PTA (Parent Teacher Association) make it.

A close-up view of the center of the 1940 Bedford PTA quilt.
(Submitted photo)
My mother and I went to visit Margarette to see it and it brought back many memories for both of them. They began sharing the story of how the quilt came about.

In 1940 the Bedford PTA made it as a fundraiser. The members sold raffle tickets for 10 cents a piece. Everyone who purchased a ticket got a chance to win the quilt and their name was embroidered on a quilt square. Robert won the drawing for the quilt.

People that knew Robert well wondered how they got him to buy a ticket to win a quilt. The story goes that he went to visit his good friend Clifford Hardison, my mother's brother. They shared a favorite hobby -- motorcycles. Not too many people had them in those days.

They could not afford to buy a new one so they would buy, trade or beg any type of old parts and pieces of bicycles and motorcycles they could find. They spent many hours building motorcycles at my grandmother's house.

Seeing company there, grandmother Annie saw an opportunity to sell raffle tickets. Rubye said that Robert and the others all bought tickets just so Annie would leave them alone and let them get to doing what they loved best, building a motorcycle that would run.

The hard part was still to be done -- making the quilt and embroidering all 465 names. My grandmother did a lot of sewing, but didn't do much hand work. So Rubye, at age 13, did much of the embroidery of the names. The ladies in the PTA pieced it together and quilted it.

Mr. Smith decided to put the quilt up for bid along with trying to learn its story. My family decided it needed to stay in the family so we watched the bidding carefully and were fortunate to receive the bid.

Everyone that looks at it sees a relative or someone's name they know on it. It's a piece of history and one of a kind.

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