Linking Bellegem Belgium and Pie Town NM

And at the same time linking FSA photography with American Civil War Quilts. No kidding. There is a link. Not only between towns but also between past and present. It’s all tossed up in a salad of beauty, courage and patience.
For me, it started with a book that my nephew Luke Applewhite gave me two years ago for Christmas.
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A strikingly beautiful woman on the cover, proud and fierce. I wondered immediately who she was. Not hard to find out as I recognized her as one of the many images that Russell Lee shot in Pie Town. He was one of the FSA photographers.
The photographs that I found ten years ago when still living in Belgium and only dreaming of America and other far places was this one: one of the many families who looked for happiness in a desert in New Mexico, living in dug outs, houses buried half in the ground. Making a hard life for their families.
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The intertwining of past and present starts here. A couple of weeks ago I found a link on the Civil War Quilt site… Another one of my interest fields. Hec, I know that Stonewall Jackson his arm is buried in another grave then his body. Google Stonewall Jackson if you want to find out more about him and how it happens that his body was buried in several places. But I digress…
The Civil War Quilts site mentioned a piece made by Dustin…

Who is Dustin?

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Go and have a look on his site… And darn it, wished I had a milk bottle like that to wave in front of some calves and lambs, that would certainly bring them close to my camera!
Now Dustin made a Civil War Quilt. Yes, the man is besides farmer and busy bee also a quilter. And found the apron of Doris Caudill to be his inspiration, so he dedicated the quilt to her…

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It’s all slowly coming together. 3 Years ago in the little book store in La Mesilla, Doris Caudill jumped out to me in a book about Pie Town. Goddamn, it’s a small world after all. In this post we travel virtually from Belgium to New Mexico to Pie Town to Tenessee…

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Of course I had to have this book… Without a glance of a doubt! Never mind that I was paying for extra luggage to fly home, that book had to be in my book case, next to Bound for glory. The FSA (Farm Security Administration) had beautiful people working for them, to this day it’s hard to match up to the wonderful photographs with all our modern equipment. Joan Myers did what I wanted to do for so long: travel and look for stories and real people… 2304128b25234v-2012-04-23-09-38.jpg
Pie Town woman is a book about hard lives and good times of New Mexico homesteaders. Sure, they lived in humble dugouts, that in present days would be considered way beyond living standards, but they made the best of what they had with the means they had. And little Josie Caudill is sound asleep on another beautiful quilt…
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Pie Town is indeed on my bucket list, as so many other spots depicted by FSA photographers. Maybe one day I will drive round, and find the souls of the Caudill family still floating inbetween clouds. Both Doris and her daughter passed away. I wonder what happened with the quilts and all the photographs. Hoping that Josie too had children, and could pass on ther family heritage pieces.
Dirt poor, but rich in love…

Finally I come to the real subject of this post: my sister’s Civil War Quilt.
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It’s ready to be quilted. This gobsmackingly beautiful piece of art. And the most wonderful and heart stopping news is that this quilt is going to be mine, all mine…

That’s right: My sister promised the piece to me, and for the longest time I doubted whether I had heard her right. This gorgeous piece of work, hours and hours and hours, was going to be mine????
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It did take me a while to get truly used to that idea, that I was going to have a heirloom piece in my possession, and how and where I was going to use it.
And is it not to priceless to just use… Maybe it needs to be kept in a locked air tight chest… Maybe it needs to be kept in a bank safe… Maybe it just needs to lay on my bed or on a couch in the living room…
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The quilt comes with a responsibility I find: to take the best care of it so that maybe in a hundred years, one of my granddaughters will pet the fabric and think about her long gone grandmother who got the quilt from her long gone sister…

Maybe one day there will be another little girl sleeping on the quilt, a moment made stand still in time by a photograph…
Go ahead, drool over the to be mine civil war quilt… I give you a couple of close up shots… Look at the colours, the pattern, the fabric…
It was laying on the bed in the bedroom I stayed in for a couple of nights in Belgium. Waiting to be quilted all the way!

How lucky am I? Yep, does not need an answer!
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To make a long post short: I honestly have no words enough to express my gratitude that such a beautiful art work will end up in my house…
No words!

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