Just shy of eighth grade graduation, my mother asked me what colors I’d like for a quilt. Although I was a purple fanatic, I picked red. To this day, I do not know why. Each Christmas since, this red and white quilt has graced my bed, usually staying through Valentine’s Day, reminding me of my tiny, strong, artistic “Granma Klingler”.
As a small child, she frightened me. While my Grandpa was one to laugh and tease, Granma was often stern, correcting behavior and handing out chores even when she was the one doing the visiting! Not so much a whirlwind as a constant breeze, her hands were never idle. Cooking, cleaning, gardening, tending animals, canning, quilting, crocheting, sewing, baking, rearranging. As I aged, I began to discover the similarities between us. In earlier years, she played piano, was a fine colorist of black & white photographs, painted and sketched as well. Granma was not scary; she was busy. A manager getting things done, delegating tasks, coordinating outcomes, demanding as much from you as she was prepared to give herself. Before Stephen Covey, there was Granma.
While I inherited my Grandpa’s mirth, there’s still a lot of Granma lurking in my DNA. The German cleaning gene is obviously recessive, but these days my whirlwind is settling into that steady breeze, balancing work, family, music, garden and art. Most likely, I’ll never quilt. Luckily, I don’t have to. Granma Klingler’s work endures.