An excerpt taken from
Wednesday's Child, Chapter 2
"The first span of the Waterville and Winslow bridge is engaged
in the raising process to-day. The others will be coming along in quick
succession--if the river behaves."--The Waterville Mail, Vol. XXIV,
No. 8, August 19, 1870
If The River Behaves
Dreams can be so real that they are more than filaments of us.
Stray and striated. I dream a life of exchanges--real and unreal, good
and questionable, stark and sparse in its gifts. Gifts with lives of their
own attached to them.
I wake to the physical reality of my mémère’s
quilt. It is the second day of its official display in my bedroom on a
makeshift quilt rack. I lie there and watch its pineapple pattern vibrate
between the white and blue. I picture my mémère sewing the
quilt at odd moments. Between birthing seventeen children. The quilt’s
sharp pointed edges converge, jig-jag.
Mémère created order out of chaos and placed the
evidence in the cloth. A legacy of the women in our family. To take brokenness
and make things whole again.
She was widowed during the depression with a family of eleven
children under the age of fifteen. Her sewing needle fed her children.
The quilt speaks of a leisure time which did not exist. How she managed
to squeeze a quilt out of her life is miracle or miserableness made intangible.
Or it could have simply been the work of habit. Hands never idle. The value
of the quilt lies in its testimony to her determination of beauty measured
I think how the quilt, which was promised to me--as my maman's
only daughter, came to be mine. In defense of myself against an army of
family, I stand on the dignity of my only-daughter status, its legacy bearing
power and that my maman told me I was to have the quilt.
...Actually, there were two quilts I was to have...
Quilt by Victoire Gagnon St.Germain Daigle and the sewing
machine she sewed it on. Seamus, the dog.