A few weeks ago, I received a package from my cousin Angie. She and I are the same age and although I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and she in San Francisco, as kids we'd see one another several times a year. I was raised by her mom's sister, my beloved Tia Santos. We lived in Woodland Hills not far from my Tia's brother, my Uncle Monico. Here we are, circa 1965, standing in front of his restaurant, the first Mexican restaurant in Woodland Hills right on Ventura Boulevard! Who's idea was it for us to hold that sign anyway?!
Over the years, Angie and I have stayed in touch sporadically, with occasional visits, as each of us raised our families on opposite ends of the country. But there is a bond with family that cannot be unbroken no matter how much time goes by between visits. Which takes me back to the package... It arrived on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. I might have waited until John got home from work had I know what was inside, but then again, the time alone enabled me to feel the depth of the love with which the gift was given. First, I read Angie's beautifully worded letter of thoughts, memories of our childhoods, and well wishes. Then I unrolled an exquisite art quilt, she made, just for me. In her letter, she described the creative process and symbolism. The piece, she said, "grew out of some patchwork which had no reason or rhythm, but the real improvisation began when I heard that Bret had left this world." I felt the intent, as I enveloped myself with the quilt and wept. I wept from the emptiness I feel without the presence of my beautiful son on this earth, but also for the energy of love from Angie, which she passed on to me through this beautiful gift- the gift of herself. She went on to describe the circles throughout the design which represent "beads", in honor of her mom, my Tia Aurora, who collected beads from around the world. Angie said, "they were part of her identity." As I studied the intricacy of the quilt design, I turned it over, to see where Angie had signed it. My heart stirred, as I saw Bret's name, stitched into the design. Forever there. Always with us.
There is such profound meaning to this beautiful quilt that I wanted it close by, so it hangs above our bed, where the energy of love and generosity of spirit can be felt. I am grateful beyond words.
I printed Angie's beautiful letter on fabric and sewed it onto the back of the quilt.
Angie Woolman has been teaching and working in the Bay Area for 20 years as a quilt artist and instructor. She is an expert on color theory and has taught extensively on the importance of color in quilt arts.