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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Beautiful Tribute to Kathy Bartley's Mother

This was shared back in October at the Widewater Retreat with the Black Swamp Quilt Guild.   I was so moved by Kathy's quilt and her story I asked and received  her permission to share it with all of you.  These are Kathy's words:

“Dancing in the Moonlight”

My mother, Olive Sherertz Lanham, was born and raised in what was previously called Soochow, now called Suzhou, China. Her parents were Methodist missionaries and my grandfather taught English at Soochow University. While she was still a child, China was attacked by Japan and her family had to flee to the mountains at various times for safety. The family went through some harrowing moments and finally returned to the U.S when she was 15 when it got too dangerous to stay. They were able to get my grandmother and the children home safely but my grandfather was taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp for 18 months before his release. My mother never returned to China but it always held a special place in her heart.
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 One of her favorite memories was when she was about 10 and she and her cousin spent the night out in a tent up in the mountains in Kuling. It was a bright moonlit summer night and around midnight the girls got up and picked white violets and went out and danced in the moonlight. My mother always told me that was her very favorite childhood memory, when she forgot about the war and just enjoyed being a child. White violets were her favorite flower. She said, “Most people think they are just a weed but to me they are something beautiful.”

 So when my mother passed away in June of 2007, I decided to make a quilt in tribute to her. This is my design of her favorite memory. It was very healing to work on this quilt. At times I could almost feel my mother’s presence and I often felt like we worked on it together. Rosanna Williams quilted it for me and did a beautiful job. After it was completed I could barely look at it for awhile without getting emotional. But now that some time has gone by I am comforted by it.       Kathy Bartley

What a wonderful and moving story to share Kathy.  I thank you for allowing me to publish this and for being willing to share such a chrrished memory with all of us.  I admire you translation and hope one day I can make something as meaningful.

With Gratitude,


  1. That quilt is BEAUTIFUL and the story...

    Thank you and Kathy for sharing the heartwarming story

  2. What a beautiful loving family story and an a beautiful quilt!
    Thanks to Kathy for sharing your quilt and story also to you Kelly for posting so I could read it!
    Makes me want to finish my Cotton Bolls aka 'those cotton fields of home' quilt in Memory of my Mama!
    Hugs to you both,

  3. That is a lovely story and the quilt is just beautiful!

  4. thanks so much for stopping by my blog, please check back often, my posts are not always as "terrible" as todays. love your blog and I see some of your followers are also some of mine, small world huh, love this quilt you made

  5. Such a beautiful quilt and the sentiment behind it.


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More Later-Beth


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