Terrace resident completes Christmas quilt
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 23, 2012 | 1279 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Terrace resident Jeanne Cannon, above right, presents her handmade Christmas quilt to administrator-in-training Barry Ferguson. Cannon moved to the Terrace last December from her native Georgia.  Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
Terrace resident Jeanne Cannon, above right, presents her handmade Christmas quilt to administrator-in-training Barry Ferguson. Cannon moved to the Terrace last December from her native Georgia. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
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When Jeanne Cannon wanted to thank the staff of the Terrace for their kindness, the gift that seemed most appropriate was a handmade quilt.

Like every quilt, it came with a story.

Cannon’s grandmother grew up in Georgia during Reconstruction.

“All of the South was devastated and left in ruins, but Georgia, particularly around Atlanta, had been ravished in Sherman’s march to the sea. It was desolate,” Cannon said.

Southern women had no choice but to be strong.

More than a quarter of their men — husbands, brothers, sons — were dead because of the Civil War. Their economy had collapsed, and their homeland was occupied by federal troops for more than a decade.

Resources were so scarce that recycling was a necessity. Nothing could be wasted.

“She even had a crocheted table topper that her mother had made out of the butcher twine that came around their meat,” Cannon said.

Bed covers made from strips of old clothing were the best way to keep warm on long winter nights in houses that were neither heated nor insulated.

The scrap material was tied together into various patterns.

Sometimes pieces were cut into irregular shapes and turned into a crazy quilt.

Cannon can still vividly recall the day that her grandmother presented her with a quilt made from some of her old dresses.

“I don’t have it now. I think I loved it to death, and it eventually just fell apart,” Cannon said.

That quilt became the inspiration for the quilt Cannon recently presented to the staff of the Terrace.

The strips of material selected by Cannon all have a Christmas theme, although Santa Claus makes only a couple of appearances because she does not believe the jolly elf is the true representation of Christmas.

Churches, angels and even Noah did find their way into Cannon’s quilt, however.

The pattern is called “Eye of God,” which Cannon also learned from her grandmother.

As a girl, Cannon became confused when she couldn’t see God’s eye. Her grandmother drew her attention to where the four corners of each block come together.

“She said, ‘The Bible speaks of the four corners of the Earth, and in the middle is God’s eye,” Cannon said.

Cannon’s grandmother, who lived through the Depression as well as Reconstruction, also reminded her of Jesus’ teaching that no sparrow falls without God’s knowledge.

“She said, ‘God loves you more than any bird, Jeanne. God’s eye is always watching you.’ I have never, ever forgotten that,” Cannon said.