Appalachia

The Kitten and the Quilt

white kitten

“I have sweet memories of a church group of ladies making quilts for the orphan homes. I guess this was called a quilting bee.

Dad fixed my mother, Miss Julie, a two room quilting house below the big house. She had a wood stove and cook stove and table in the kitchen and the quilting frames hung from the ceiling.

It was Miss Julie’s time to hold the quilting bee at her home and fix lunch for all the quilters. I was about 8 years old with a white kitten playing under the quilters.

Miss Julie told me to take the kitten, Lucy, outside. Miss Julie didn’t know dad had changed stove pipes and left the old one outside. Lucy got in the dirty pipe. All you could see was her eyes. I grabbed her up and went inside to show the ladies. Oh Lucy flopped out of my arms and landed on the beautiful quilt. Miss Julie sent me and Lucy to my dad with instructions to give us a bath. There is more to this story but I’ll leave you guessing as to what went down after the ladies went home.

—Mary Lou McKillip

—-

Tipper

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Tipper,
    PinnacleCreek reminded me of when I had a Andrews High School Ring in the 11th grade. I lost it in the CoalPile about 3 years ago, when Daddy asked me to get some Coal and bring it inside. One day I was near the Coalpile and noticed something shiney. Daddy had bought us several loads from Kentucky at $4.00 a ton. (Thinking back, I don’t know how they could bring Coal from Kentucky for that price. ) But, there it was, barely sticking out of the ground. My Ring musta slipped off, cause I had no gloves on and my hands were Cold. I was lucky to have found it. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 19, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Tipper,
    I got a Girl Cat and she run her mother off as soon as she got grown, over two years ago. Her and Whisky get along very well, he protects Misty.

    When Miss Cindy lived in Black Mountain, she stopped by the shop and she’s good with Cats. She told me that she had three Outside cats and one of them was old. I tolerate Cats but I like Dogs better. Whisky can jump up on the couch beside me, roll them big, brown eyes at me, wag his tail, and get under the cover. That just melts me! I don’t know if he gets under the cover because he’s cold or to keep flies from landing on him. Misty waits until the dog settles under the cover before she jumps up beside me to scrooth. I can’t really tell if she likes me or what. I think she tolerates me too. …Ken

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 19, 2020 at 9:53 am

    My maternal Grandparents lived in an old 2 story log house complete with a dogtrot You had to enter the dogtrot to reach the kitchen on the right side and the living room on the left. In the living room there was a quilting frame attached to the ceiling which folded down. The family consisted of 5 girls and 4 boys, parents and a parental Grandmother who helped with the quilting. Many hours were spent around the hearth in winter quilting, spinning yarn, and tatting.
    My Grandparents didn’t have house cats, only cats at the barn. Personally I love cats, but my Husband loves dogs.
    Anita G.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    June 19, 2020 at 9:45 am

    My ole maid aunts, Viola and Ella Faye Byers made quilts…I’d say they learned from my grt-aunts, Gertrude Bryson Moore and Ollie Bryson Townsend of Towns County, GA. I have one from Aunt Gertrude’s place and one from Ella Faye and Viola. Very old..both…a great art. I remember when I was a kid the folds saving scraps of cloth to make quilts from…

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    June 19, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Love that cute story, and I feel Miss Julie’s pain. Back in the days when we lived in a coal camp everybody either had a coal house or a pile of coal in the back alley. My Uncle and Aunt brought my immaculately dressed cousin to visit us. We children were sent out to play as was usual in those days. I decided to show the cousin how to be a coal miner, and we proceeded to play in the coal pile during the visit. Nobody ever planned visits back in the day, and they were always unexpected and spontaneous. Therefore, no meal planned during the visit. Of course to be a legitimate coal miner one had to rub the coal dust all over the face. Some coal mines had bath houses and some did not, so I had seen many coal miners at end of day. They all had a tale tale sign of a dark line under the eyes like mascara. When it came time for them to go home, my aunt looked very startled, but said nothing. My antics must have already had my parents numb, because I do not recall them even fussing at me. My Uncle never brought her back to our house there, and only many tears later did they visit when we lived on the farm. I suspect she may have gotten a tongue lashing but I did not.

    Great story and gives a great visual. My childhood was filled with misdeeds like that, and it has made me extra tolerant of children.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 19, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Soot has its uses, but that isn’t one of them. My o my, I’ll bet that was an unhappy time for all concerned. That was one of the downsides of wood stoves. Sooner or later the pipe had to come down and was often a disaster in the making. No such thing as a good way to do it except as gently as possible.

    Thinking back about it now it seems strange that hot stoves and pipes in the room was a common and unremarkable thing. We sure have changed.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    June 19, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I bet there was a tanning of the hide later on that evening and maybe some washing as well. I could see something like that happening and resulting in mayhem. I have cats and weird stuff has happened A LOT! Cats bring weird scenarios about! All I can do is smh and deep breathe…. As a medical professional years ago I would see the “baby” quilts across folks laps. These homemade coverings of love provided more than warmth. They provided a down home feeling of love and belonging which is really what we all are looking for except so few realize it nowadays. If people would calm down, breathe, wait, look for the beauty and pray what a world it would be!!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 19, 2020 at 7:13 am

    If it was my house I know exactly what would have gone down after the guests left!
    Thanks for the story, I love cats.

  • Reply
    gayle larson
    June 19, 2020 at 6:13 am

    what a cute story.

    • Reply
      Margie Goldstein
      June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am

      I LOVED this story and had to chuckle as I could see it in my mind unfolding so innocently.

    Leave a Reply