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72 Comments
  • Thank you Ann.
    That’s all, just thanks. A wonderful post.

  • Beautiful

  • Hello, ladies. I mostly lurk here, but I had to comment on this very powerful, personal post. Lovely. Thank you.

  • Amazing from beginning to end… You have decent clothes for your children on holiday; you met Elmira — that quilt business is about where I came in on the MDK story; the memorial… I’m sorry you had to make this sad trip, but thanks for sharing it with us!

  • What a lovely post.
    I am sorry for your family’s loss.

  • I am sorry for the loss to your family. I just had to comment on the story of the quilt, what a wonderful thing to do, I am so glad you got to meet Elmira.

  • What an amazing post. I love the comment about no nylons and the church. It reminds me of the ladies at our church who wouldn’t dare enter the sancturary without a hat.

  • I am so sorry about the funeral but I am glad a) to have a mention–that was a great day around B’ham with you two, and b) that I got to “go to Greenville” with you. Virtually, that is. You know my whole family is from there and my first cousin Tony and his brood live across the street from St. Thomas! That BBQ joint is a popular stop for many, weirdly situated though it is. I’m glad you got to stomp around my stomping grounds. I only wish I had been there too and randomly run into you. That would have been the surprisiest surprise of a lifetime!
    That Civil Rights memorial is great. I haven’t seen the whole exhibit, but the part I saw was very moving. Have you been to the Civil Rights Museum in B’ham?

  • What a moving post, about the things we ought to strive to be. Thank you for sharing all of it. I am sorry for your family’s loss.

  • Ann,
    I want to thank you for not telling me on the phone about meeting Elmira (ElmahROO!) and letting me be surprised. I about plotzed. You knew I would. A tear may have rolled this morning. What is stopping me from jumping on a plane, renting a car, and just GOING? There was a QUILT ON THE FRAME. Just want to be there.
    I need to believe that you had to make some kind of panic run to the store to get blazers for the boys. We need 3 weeks of lead time for that kind of upgrade here on the Upper West Side. For 5th grade graduation there was a very hot market trading blue blazers among moms of different sized boys.
    Best Maya Lin joke EVER. Or is it a Buffy joke? I think Maya needs the joke more than Buffy.
    love,
    Kay

  • Ann, as a left-leaning native southerner, living in a large city that still has so much work to do along these lines, and feeling the weight of responsibility daily, your post brought tears to my eyes.
    Thank you.

  • Your post is beautiful on so many different levels. I love the way you tied everything together. Wonderful.

  • lovely. and i know the heat kept you close company on that journey. your photos of the SLPC memorial and wall brought back my memories of that city. I wrote an article about SPLC and their work — committed, intelligent people working for change = the best that is America.
    Did it strike you how there were so few people out walking around that downtown? That still kind of haunts me.

  • “a mile in” — perfect. I can just hear you all laughing about that.
    Beautiful piece, Ann – you’ve made me miss the south so much right now it hurts, that peculiar mishmash of hope and pain and history that’s alive and personal. The kids and I met Ruby Sales a few months ago, the woman Jonathan Daniels (one of the Memorial’s 40 lives) pushed out of the way when he was shot in 1965 – it’s book history to them, and too soon; like you said, I hope it sticks, the idea that people are still working…

  • As I finished reading this post, I said, out loud, “beautiful post”.

  • The next time someone asks me why I still live in Alabama I’m going to hand them this post.

  • Yes, Ann to all you say in this post. DO “load up your children’s brains with the things they don’t even know they will remember”.. My dad did this and as a 58 yr old woman, I thank him every day for my life and my attitude toward living.
    Wonderful post – tolerance, may we see it soon.

  • Yes, Ann to all you say in this post. DO “load up your children’s brains with the things they don’t even know they will remember”.. My dad did this and as a 58 yr old woman, I thank him every day for my life and my attitude toward living.
    Wonderful post – tolerance, may we see it soon.

  • “[…] and that’s part of what parents are supposed to do: load up their children’s brains with the things they don’t even know they will remember, years from now.”
    Now there’s a galvanizing thought. Thanks for the lovely post (you met Elmira! Fantastic!) and reminding me to get my boy out to see the memorials and make some memories. Important stuff. And tolerance. I’m all in for tripletolerance.

  • I was just talking to a friend last night about filling up our children’s brains. Thank you for writing about this so beautifully!

  • I think I might need to go on a trip after reading that blog entry. I never would have thought myself to add Montgomery to my travel plans but I have now. Thanks!!
    By the way, the quotation that you so generously attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. is actually a Bible text from Amos 5:24.

  • Thank you for that post. Sounds like a trip to Montgomery as well as all those other cool (well, hot) places might be in order.

  • Thanks for the moving post.

  • What a powerful place. One of these days I will get down there (hopefully in the winter). Thank you for sharing the experience.

  • What a great way to turn a personal loss into positive experience for you and your children. Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.

  • Chills.
    And misty at the same time.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Ann, that brought tears to my eyes,first we( hubbo & myself) are from Alabama,lived there 25 years, once a southern always a southern. So reading this was reading about HOME.You spoke so beautifully about the south and living. I just printed this I want to read this again and again! Thank you for sharing your life with us.I feel like a friend of yours…. Wendy

  • Dear Ann: Sometime in the murky past, I remember seeing a PBS documentary about Maya Lin that was shot while this memorial was in the planning, building, and dedication stages. You might be able to find it. I think it was American Masters. It might be a good watch for you and the kids and Buffy can find out who “a mile in” really is.

  • I love this post.

  • What a wonderful post. I had not known about the civil rights memorial – it’s very beautiful and moving.
    And it was so nice that you finally met Elmira — I was so touched by the story of the quilt of shirts when you told it so many years ago.
    Thanks for all you share and write.

  • What a wonderful post. I had not known about the civil rights memorial – it’s very beautiful and moving.
    And it was so nice that you finally met Elmira — I was so touched by the story of the quilt of shirts when you told it so many years ago.
    Thanks for all you share and write.

  • Amen.
    I lovelovelove that memorial, though I have yet to see it in person.

  • Delurking to say thank you for a beautiful post. I’m sorry for your family’s loss.

  • Also delurking. What a lovely post. Thank-you for taking us along on your trip. I haven’t been to the deep south in several years and now I know I miss it.

  • I’m a lurker, too, but I want to thank you for this amazing post that just sort of lulled me in and then grabbed me and had me in tears by the end. It has informed on my entire day. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • I’m a lurker, too, but I want to thank you for this amazing post that just sort of lulled me in and then grabbed me and had me in tears by the end. It has informed on my entire day. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • I’m a lurker, too, but I want to thank you for this amazing post that just sort of lulled me in and then grabbed me and had me in tears by the end. It has informed on my entire day. Beautiful. Thank you.

  • Well, so it’s all been said already. Thank you Ann, for such a beautiful post. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • That post made me think of my Aunt Flora. She lives in Alabama, is 86 years old and still quilting. They won’t let her quilt in dialysis, something to do with poking herself, but she still does it at home.

  • Wonderful post – moving and humorous at the same time.
    ps: I immediately recognized the Civil Rights Memorial (Amos 5:24)quote; my husband, a stone carver, carved boss stone depicting an artist’s interpretation of the quote. It is located in the Civil Rights bay at the Washington National Cathedral. (Happy to send you a picture if you’d like to see it.)

  • WMK,
    Please do send a picture of your husband’s carving; I would love to see it. My grandpa carved stone, (although usually things like “First National Bank”). He was a stonemason who carved for the fun of it.
    Kay

  • Hi Ann,
    G-r-r-eat story about Elmira!
    And BTW, wonderful Gale Zucker photo of you two.
    She is so talented.
    Kathy B.

  • Hi Ann,
    G-r-r-eat story about Elmira!
    And BTW, wonderful Gale Zucker photo of you two.
    She is so talented.
    Kathy B.

  • wow. Thanks. A really thought provoking post.

  • A most beautiful and profound post.
    Elmira is so beautiful, so full of life and passion. I’d love to meet her.

  • This is what blogging and the internet should be all about: bringing words and images together in a way that connects people of disparate existences, reminding them of our common humanity.
    BTW, I’m a product of the midwest and a grandmother who quilted and another grandmother who crocheted, and I’ve survived two decades in NYC and its environs; this post and your blog connects to me in so many ways. Did I mention that my best friend just moved to Nashville?!

  • Beautiful

  • I came for light chat and left filled with deep emotion and the conviction that we all must do better. Thank you.

  • thank you, thank you, thank you…..
    I grew up in Birmingham just up the street from Gilchrist drug store. One of my only memories of my maternal grandmother is sitting on a stool at the counter of Gilchrist’s drinking a lime ade when I was about 4.
    Each summer I take my children to Hayneville to walk where Jonathan Daniels walked and to celebrate his life with a very large Episcopal eucharist in the Courthouse there. Powerful.
    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Thank you. I didn’t even know about the Civil Rights Memorial, and I am delighted to here about you meeting Elmira. I’ve never been to the South, and you make me want to hop a plane and get there. What a full, rewarding trip you took. Thank you for sharing it. I think your kids will all be tripletolerant, as they have learned to be so from you!!

  • Thank you. I didn’t even know about the Civil Rights Memorial, and I am delighted to here about you meeting Elmira. I’ve never been to the South, and you make me want to hop a plane and get there. What a full, rewarding trip you took. Thank you for sharing it. I think your kids will all be tripletolerant, as they have learned to be so from you!!

  • Thank you. I didn’t even know about the Civil Rights Memorial, and I am delighted to here about you meeting Elmira. I’ve never been to the South, and you make me want to hop a plane and get there. What a full, rewarding trip you took. Thank you for sharing it. I think your kids will all be tripletolerant, as they have learned to be so from you!!

  • Thank you. I didn’t even know about the Civil Rights Memorial, and I am delighted to hear about you meeting Elmira. I’ve never been to the South, and you make me want to hop a plane and get there. What a full, rewarding trip you took. Thank you for sharing it. I think your kids will all be tripletolerant, as they have learned to be so from you!!

  • Just gorgeous, every word and every picture.

  • This one got me all weepy.
    Thank you for reminding my job as a mom – that it is not just about calming tantrums or congratulating potty usage.
    Overload.
    Thank you.

  • You touched a chord, making the sweetest of sounds: a heartsong.
    Thanks, Ann.
    LoveDiane

  • I went to the Holocaust Museum in Germany about four years ago. It was just so sad and emotional and it really had an impact on me. I wanted to spend hours in there, and I wanted to leave as fast as I could. It was certainly a place I would not have felt the full impact of as a child. Not to say that children shouldn’t be in a place like that; in fact they should – but to have learned about the Holocaust at the collegiate level, and then to visit the country where it all took place, it really brought home and made personal the reality of the situation. Well, inasmuch as someone who has never experienced that level of intolerance can internalize it.

  • Ann, I am sorry for your loss, and thank you for weaving/knitting it into a story that offers such a deep view into human suffering and our connections despite it all. Like many of your readers, I grew up in the south, born in Montgomery and raised in B’ham. We lived in Mountain Brook until my parents divorced, and I certainly remember Gilchrist’s– when my husband and I drove through in April I was amazed to see how many of the little businesses I remember are still there in the “village”! What a pleasure to connect with your memories, and I will definitely get down to the memorial in Montgomery next time. The civil rights museum in B’ham is not as strikingly artistic (it’s not quite a mile in–god that kills me), but is every bit as powerful. Strong work, Miz Ann!

  • What a beautiful account of your trip. I love reading about Monteagle (lived in Tennessee for 25 years), but reading of your trip to Alabama brought back memories of living in the south during those days remembered in the memorial. As many of the posters before me, I am wiping the tears as I read.
    tp

  • Another lurker delurking. Just had to say how much I loved this post. How brilliant an idea is the Wall of Tolerance? I love it and I’m sure it made a lasting impression on your children. I feel so lucky to live in a time when the internet means I can read such entertaining and thought-provoking blogging. Thank you.

  • Another lurker delurking. Just had to say how much I loved this post. How brilliant an idea is the Wall of Tolerance? I love it and I’m sure it made a lasting impression on your children. I feel so lucky to live in a time when the internet means I can read such entertaining and thought-provoking blogging. Thank you.

  • Another long-time reader, first-time poster.
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your story was lovely and thank you for sharing.
    I kept thinking of Bonnie Raitt singing, “Make Me An Angel” while I was reading it.
    On a completely selfish note, would Elmira want to do any more quilts on consignment?

  • Fabulous post in so many ways. Thanks.

  • Grew up in Montgomery and B’ham, a Jewish white girl in the ’60s. I’m just sitting here after reading your beautiful words, moved to tears. You captured it all, with your usual humor, grace, and wit.
    Your kids are lucky. Whether they recall this trip or not in the years ahead, their hearts will remember what you are trying to teach them.

  • Wonderful post, Ann. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  • Kay –
    You can see Sean’s carving pics on my blog – just posted them this morning – http://workingmomwhoknits.blogspot.com/
    Clara

  • Add my “thanks”! I’ve been in Montgomery only once – en route to Selma, with my daughter….to the funeral of her father. We only stayed overnight, did no sightseeing, but I commented as we drove across The Bridge. I met her father in St Paul, we were both Civil Rights workers. He had rosette scars on his back from electric cattle prods. Grim times – but not in vain, I think. I wrote a letter to him when it became obvious that Obama was to be our candidate —
    if you’re interested:
    http://catssticksandbooks.blogspot.com/2008/06/letter-to-willie.html
    (I think you’ll need to cut-and-paste, I’m not very good at this). But again, thank you for this – and I’m so sorry for your loss….which you’ve turned into a rich gift for us.

  • SUCH a wonderful post- it stayed with me all day, then popped back into my brain again. The wonder of “going home”to where your dad is from, meeting Elmira, getting boys into blazers and ties on a hot summer day (!!!), the Maya Lin/Buffy moment…talk about real people in real places. You took us right there with you.

  • So, let me get this straight, you had to WANDER AROUND downtown Montgomery to find the dang monument?? As if, for example (and just speaking hypothetically, you know), they were NOT PROUD to have it there??
    Yeah, I had that experience, too a few years back. Jeff Davis’s house, check, Lurleen Wallace museum, check. These are well marked.
    Just sayin’.
    Also, oh, I miss Betty Ruth so fiercely. HI BETTY RUTH!! You are GORGEOUS!!

  • What a great read! I have some bolts of really nice fabric if you think Elmira would be interested. I will never get to quilt them, but I bet she would.
    Also, the blt with pimento spread has been around for years. I have been eating it without the lettuce for 40+ years… and that’s being kind to me. LOL!
    I love that tolerance idea. Thank you for sharing your trip… I even felt the heat and grime of the day.

  • Thank you for passing tolerance on to your children. We could use more of that.

  • Carrie is beautiful and looks like an Afghan princess. (If there are any Afghan princesses…Well, if there were, she could be one.)

Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.