Ask Erin: Don't be afraid to use the good china | Kitsap Week

Ask Erin. - Richard Walker
Ask Erin.
— image credit: Richard Walker

My mom died when I was six.

One of my most vivid memories of her was going to the fabric store where she let me chose different fabrics in the shade of my favorite color, green.

She began piecing together a beautiful quilt.

But before she could finish, she unexpectedly died.

A family friend took what my mom had begun, and completed the quilt and gave it to me in a protective plastic-zippered bag.

And there it has remained for the past 32 years— moving from house to house, from state to state, taking up shelf space in a closet or attic.

I haven't wanted to use it, for fear of ruining it.

But the other day, I was in an antique store and came across a quilt of similar colors and patterns of mine.

"Who owned this?" I wondered as I fingered its threadbare fabric. "Who was wrapped beneath it on cold winter mornings, or who slept off a fever underneath the artistic fabric?"

The faded fabric and holes told a story. They told of comfort and love.

My quilt, in its pristine condition, had no real story to tell.

It hadn't kept me warm on powerless nights. It wasn't turned into a fort when my children were younger. It served as a reminder of my mom— but only when I happened to come across it in the attic.

I decided to risk exposing my quilt to coffee stains, pet fur and other daily mishaps.

I unpacked it from its plastic and placed it on the living room couch.

“Isn't that the quilt your mom made?” asked my family. “Are you sure you want to leave it there?”

Yes, I answered.

For every stain or small tear, tells a story. Keeping it in plastic doesn't allow it to age. It doesn't let it gain history or memories.

So I ask you, what are you saving?

I'm not suggesting bringing your great-grandmother's china on your next camping trip, but maybe use it on pizza night for no other reason than just “because.”

As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I'm reminded that there is no greater gift than life itself.

So go live. Make memories. Make history.

Don't stay wrapped in plastic.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or e-mail Questions can range from advice to practical issues.

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