Friday, April 20, 2012

The Wicked Step-Daughter and Hexies

   I am going to tell you a few stories today, rich with great family history, and hexies. This month, Craftsy BOM is all about hexies, which ties it all together.

  This month, April 16 is the death date of my Darlin' Grandmother Jennie. We, her grandchildren, all called her Jennie. This all started with me,since I am the oldest. She, called everyone darlin'. I was Dani darlin'. I vaguely remember in my very early years, probably 4 or 5 being scolded by her Aunt Hazel for not calling her Grandmother. After we left my great-great Aunt Hazels house, I turned to my Grandmother and said" Jennie, do I have to call you Grandmother?" She said " Baby, you can call you whatever you want as long as you love me." She always knew how to make me feel better.

   When I was young, she moved to Grayville, IL, about an hour away from us. We would spend a couple of weeks every summer with her. We loved it! She owned a restaurant and a fabric store/drapery business.
   One summer, when I was about 10, I was rummaging through her sewing things and came across this old box. I can't remember exactally what it said, but it was something like 'mammas quilting blocks'. She labeled everything. It was a box of Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks, nine patch blocks, and cut hexagons and squares.

I asked Jennie about the box. She told me her mamma made them.
I asked her if I could have the box. She said "why in the world do you want them? What are you going to do with them?" I told her I thought they were so neat and I was going to make a quilt with them. She was a little reluctant, but eventually caved in. :) She rarely said no to me. As you can see, I have yet to make that quilt, but who knows, maybe one day.

      This is her Father Ed(Shorty), and her Mamma Vera Marklin. Ed, died when Jennie was only 10 years old. Vera was left as a single mother of 5. This was at the time of the Great Depression. Vera supported her children as a nurse, and with the help of a well off cousin, but that's another story. I asked Jennie in my adult years how he died. She said, he starved to death. During the Depression, food was scarce. He would not eat because he wanted to make sure his wife and children had enough food.  This is one of the saddest things I had ever heard. It made me realize just how desperate times were then, and how lucky I was.

  My Grandma Jennie was a sewer, drapery maker, not a quilter. My Great-Grandma Vera was a quilter.

   About 30 years ago, Jennie met a wonderful man named Kenny. He became her third husband for 25 years in her golden years. He was the closest thing I knew as a grandfather. I did not know my maternal or paternal grandfather(another couple of stories).

   He treated my grandmother like GOLD! He treated us, her children and grand-children the same. He was a self-made millionaire. You would never know it by his demeanor. He had a nice house. Not a mansion, but better than we were accustomed to. But he always made us feel welcome. He was gentle and kind. I always though they were the perfect couple, because my grandmother was too, gentle and kind.

   Towards the end of their years together, Kenny got Alzheimer's. About a year later, Jennie got colon cancer.

This is our last Christmas together in 2006. left to right 4 generations: Jennie, Su(my mom), me, my daughter Ashley.

   This brings me to the end of the story. The Wicked Step-daughter and the Hexies.

   Jennie died one year before Kenny. Kenny had a  daughter, we will call her "B" for obvious reasons. B was the executor of Kenny's estate because of his condition. When Jennie was in hospice, she sent my mother to the house to retrieve 3 things. Her jewelry box, the title to her car, and an annuity check. My mom, could find all but the annuity check.

   Upon Jennies death, B promptly changed the locks on the house. My mom and her brother had to arrange a set date meeting to retrieve my Grandmas's life of posessions. B and her siblings, went through the house and gathered what she thought belonged to my grandma, or rather what she decided what we could have. It was all in boxes, ready for us to pack off. She said to us. "You can go through the house, and if you see something you think might be Jennies, lable it, and we will take a look at it, and decide if it is yours or not. There is a quilt on Jennie and Kenny's bed. But I am not sure if it is Jennies, or my mothers"(her mother died years earlier).

the quilt

I knew this quilt. She had told me before that her mamma Vera made it. I bee-lined for the bedroom and grabbed it. As I was walking though the house B saw me clutching it. She said" Please don't pick anything up. I told you I am not sure if that quilt is Jennies or my mothers. If you find something you think may be Jennies, label it and we will get back with you." I promptly said" This quilt is Jennie's. Her mother made it. She would NEVER have something on her bed that belonged to your mother out of respect for you!" B could not argue with that, because she knew how my grandmother was. There were several things in the house that belonged to Kenny's first wife, B's mother, and Jennie never let us touch those things. B said " well, you are probably right, just don't pick anything else up!" Needless to say, we did not get all of Jennie's belongings. I still don't understand B's greed. Kenny had money. She stood to inherit a lot upon Kenny's death a year later. Why did she want Jennies things too. B died about a year after Kenny. She didn't get to enjoy her new found wealth for long.

   I was the only one in the family who never received a family quilt from Jennie herself. I think it was just an oversight. Jennie would have given me one if I asked.The family said I could keep the quilt! It is one of my most prized possessions.

It has received much love over the years, so I keep it in a hope chest for safe keeping. Athough B made things difficult for us, Our family came together and no one argued. We took turns picking out what we wanted of the things we were ALLOWED to have. Jennie would have wanted it that way.

   This brings me to now. What got me thinking of all of this. This month of April. The Month of Jennie's death. We are making hexies this month for the Craftsy BOM. 

 I never have done English paper piecing before. I enjoyed the process, however, it is a long process!The first block I made much harder on myself than I had to. I pieced them together, and then machine appliqued them to the white fabric. This resulted in many thread tails to hide. I will NEVER do it this way again. 
  I like the portability of making hexies. I also love the look. Just be prepared for a long process if you make a whole quilt of these. It took me approximately a week to make these 2 blocks!

Ok, I have to get off here and start my day! I hope you enjoyed my stories. I know it was a long post, so if you read to the end, Thanks!!!!


  1. Before I started quilting, I found a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt in an antique store and purchased it. The older fabrics and the time invested really make it a treasure. I've made about 2 flowers worth of English paper piecing and probably won't make a large quilt this way. But, the handwork is fun and I do like that it travels well.

    Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  2. Hi, Danielle! I awarded you with the Liebster Blog Award! Go to my blog and check it out!! Congrats!!

  3. I loved your story. It's funny how when someone dies, people get greedy. When my dad died, his live in girlfriend pretty much gave us nothing. All I got from my dad was what he gave me before he died. She has many of our family heirlooms. Thanks for the lovely story!

    1. Oh, wow! If she was only his girlfriend, she really had no right! Some people just have no compassion. But I can tell you one thing. There was no way I was leaving that house without that quilt! I guess she was afraid we were going to cart off with her fathers things, but honestly, the only things we were interested in was Jennie's things. We loved Kenny too, but we knew we had no right to them.We would never do that. It was all just a bad scene. My mother actually told B and I quote," B, there's a special place in hell for people like you!" Umm, like I said, it was bad. B was acting all high and mighty and condescending. I would have loved to smack that smug look off of her face, but my grandmother would not have wanted that,sooooo....I was good:/ My uncle eventually got the annuity check back from B that she tried to hijack. There was no way she could have legally cashed it anyway. Geesh, some people! To put it in perspective of Kenny's wealth(not filthy rich,but) for birthday's and Christmas, his kids got a $10,000 check and the grandkids got a $5000 check. Every time. Only on his side. Now what the hell did she want with my grandma's measley $30,000 annuity check? GREED! Sorry, I'm ranting, it still makes me so mad, because Kenny was not that way at all.

    2. Well, my Dad's "wife" was like a common law wife. They were together for about 11 years. So, I could understand that he was the income person and she was going to have nothing to live off of, but what really sucks is she gave some of my dad's stuff to her kids, and not the ones that my dad liked. She gave stuff that she knew was promised to my brother to her son. My brother was very sad about it. But, a couple of years later, my brother saw my dad's truck parked in front of the bank (my dad's prized possession) and went in to inquire. They said she stopped making payments, so my brother offered to take it over. And, he ended up with the truck. While he was there, the representative informed him that his (my brother's) truck loan had a clause in it (because my dad co signed) that if my dad died, my brother's truck would be paid off. So the bank cut my brother a check for all the money they had already paid since my dad died. We call that good kharma :) What goes around, comes around!

    3. BTW, you take really good photos of your progress! I gotta tell you, the best blogs have more photos, always! And good ones at that!

    4. yep! Good karma indeed! And thanks!

  4. Danielle, I enjoyed your story a lot! The only Grandma I ever knew is still alive, but I know when they die (her and my Grandpa) I'm not sure if I'll be able to get any of their things. And I'm not talking about valuables. You're lucky you have that quilt, at least it's in good hands!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm just glad I got the quilt. It's a little piece of family history.:)

  5. That is an awesome story. Ok, not so much about B. It's sad that people can be that way. But I'm glad you did receive her quilt and some other things. My grandma was the same way, she made quilts for all of us for when we got married. About a year ago my SIL to my oldest brother brought me a box of fabric. She said they gave it to her when my grandma died. It was a box full of fabric squares and unfinished quilts that my grandma had saved. I still have it all and need to do something with it. Though it's mostly polyester fabrics, so I'm still trying to figure something out.
    Your blocks are so beautiful!! Are those fabrics you used the ones from your great grandma? I think that is one of the neatest things about quilting, how it has such a history and really ties us together with our ancestors. :) Thanks for sharing!