I’m reading a deliciously good book by Thomas Mallon called, “A Book of One’s Own: People And Their Diaries.” I’m embarking on research for my dissertation, which will be years in the making. I’m pursuing an Master’s of Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago and it’s a good thing most of my classes are nights and weekends, otherwise I couldn’t reach this life goal at all. The quilt world, it keeps me pretty busy.
Anyhow, my dissertation will be on diary writers. That’s all I can say now, but being a slavish diary writer, myself, I have a vested interest in the best of the best, e.g., Thoreau, Nin, Woolf, etc.
Yesterday I read something that blew my mind. Read below an excerpt from a diary entry written by one little known Jane Gould, an “emigrant” (her word) traveling from Iowa to California by covered wagon. On August 15th, 1862, Jane was with her husband, two young sons, and in-laws when they were attacked by Indians on the trail:
“We were aroused this morning at one o’clock by the firing of guns and yelling of Indians, answered by our men. The Capt. calling, “come on you red devils.” It did not take us long to dress, for once. I hurried for the children and had them dress and get into our wagon, put up a mattress and some beds and quilts on the exposed side of the wagon to protect us.”
You read what I read, right? SHE USED QUILTS TO PROTECT HER FAMILY.
That’s a new one for me, folks. I know quilts are warming, calming, comforting, necessary, special, nostalgic, pretty, artsy, practical, etc., etc., But quilt as object of protection from bullets??
Sometimes, being amazing is its own reward. Do Jane Gould a favor: sew today.