11/02/2007

Catherine Brown - a memory

My aunt, Catherine Diggle Brown is very much on my mind these days. Koki is gone, buried in Wilmington, NC, next to her husband Jim Brown but she is not forgotten.

Koki's son George walked into my Halloween program smiling and holding up a gift for me. He was carrying one of Koki's quilts, the one she had given to me just before she died. When she offered it to me the last time I saw her I just could not take it - it was too much a final good-bye.


"Is this the right one?" he asked. "Oh, yes. That's it." I recognized it - I had snuggled down under it several times when I spent the night in the small guest room in her apartment in Charlotte.

Its a simple design. Nine rectangles across, 12 rectangles down - 108 rectangles - sewed together at random. I remember when she made it. Someone gave her a box of drapery fabric samples, pre-cut into these very rectangles.

Koki believed in recycling. She studied about those pieces for awhile and then decided to piece them together for quilt. Vivid colors, flower prints, stripes, patterns, solid colors, paisleys - colors of the late 70s - pinks, turquoise, blues, yellows and golds. Full of life and joy - just as she was.

After she organized and stitched them together she added decorative stitching - in black - on the top.
The scalloped lines make those colors work together. Its machine stitched except for the hemming. I love seeing Koki's hand in her tiny, neat stitches around the edging. Those stitches put you in touch with her.

Later, at home, I spread it on the bed - mostly on my side. And slipped in under it. My Jim does not mind. He loved her too. To her he was always, "himself" and how is "himself", she would ask.

We are both fine.

Glad that she is with us.