Saturday, June 20, 2020

And Then it was Suddenly Friday -

This was my most favorite moment of the day.

A most unexpected “I came to spend some time with you!” with one of my dearest (yet, the nameless one! LOL!) friends who is here on retreat with the Stitch Mob!

My job for the day was just to take enough time to put the borders on the Shoo Fly Shoo, Variation II and get it ready for quilting.

Some of The Mob had made a quick foray to the tiny Food City grocery store in nearby Independence.

Others had called ahead to Batiks Etc. in Wytheville to see if they were open and what their protocols were.

That left the two of us.  In the QPO. And while my borders were going on at the 201 machine, Impromptu string blocks were being made across from me at the 301 out of my overflowing and never ending bin of strings.

We chatted – about many things.  You see, I  get an education every time I am able to meet with this friend, be it during a facebook video call, a phone call, or an actual time in person like this wonderful long stretch of retreat we are experiencing.

My nameless friend (Who needs to remain incognito for at least now while she is here!) also brought her sister who is greatly enjoying the cooler temps up here in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, while also working thanks to her job also being “Work from home” due to Covid.  Have wifi, have work!

As some of you know, yesterday, the 19th of June – is an important day in American history, yet most of us were never taught about it in our American History classes in school growing up.  It has been many years since I graduated high school in 1980, so I can’t count for what is in our history books currently.

But when I was learning history, let’s just say that many things were white-washed out.

When I finally learned about ‘Juneteenth’ I was an adult with school-aged children.  And I only learned about it because we had moved from Idaho to Texas – the state where Juneteenth, or June 19, 1865 became a very important date for blacks who remained enslaved for NEARLY THREE MORE YEARS after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 was issued.

NEARLY THREE YEARS before word of freedom reached folks in Texas.  We think that 3 months of lock down is an extremely long time to ‘suffer.’  Try three years.

Juneteenth celebration in Texas, 1900.

These beautiful people had been freed from slavery in 1863, but didn't learn of it until nearly 3 years later. 

Tell these folks that "It was only three years longer."

Back to my story – Growing up in San Jose, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, Juneteenth wasn't taught. It wasn't in our history books. It wasn't mentioned in our community.

I moved to Texas in early June 1999.  And I learned.  My son Jason graduated high school in Waxahachie, Texas.  He learned. It was local history. It was taught there.

It’s been 20 years since I learned.  A conversation where I felt free to ask deeper questions of my black friends happened yesterday morning. 

Friend ‘J’ stated that growing up in Kansas, Juneteenth wasn’t a THING for them either.  It wasn’t really taught or emphasized, it wasn’t celebrated – unless you happened to be from Texas (Where they also celebrate things like the Alamo, where the rest of the country doesn’t.  It’s a Republic of Texas thing.) 

But we can do better. We SHOULD DO BETTER.

And there are ways to DO BETTER.  Imagine that you are that person who has been enslaved all of your life. Your children have been sold off to who knows where. You are property. They are property.  And it takes 3 years longer than it should for word to reach you that you are free.  Your children are free. That you should have been set free nearly 3 years before. That you have spent nearly one THOUSAND more days being owned.  You were kept from your life.

It just breaks my heart.

The WRONG thing to do?  Is turn Juneteenth, the 19th of June - a day that is a memorial day to many – into a commercial opportunity for more summer sales, discounts and Deals of the Day. In this country we have ruined MOST of our religious and important commemorative holidays by turning them into commercial gain with Black Friday sales, Memorial Day blow outs, Independence day Discounts, Easter Sales -

Those of my my friends who are Jewish get what I mean.  It would be like offering a huge commercial discount in all departments in celebration of Yom Kippur.  Tacky.

So – if you are wondering “What the fuss is all about?” Visit the Wikipedia about Juneteenth and learn a bit. It may not have been taught to you when you were in school.  It may have been kept out of your history books.  But you can learn now.

Celebrations commemorating Juneteenth started in 1866. Long may they continue, and may we also remember and never forget.

And get some honest non-white-washed history into our school books so we actually educate our children instead of waiting until they are middle-aged adults who were never taught.

I am loving having these ladies here!

In the QPO, string piecing away!

And yes! My borders are on!

You asked where our masks were?

You can’t wear a mask while eating.  I know you will see the logic in that if you just think about it for a minute.  But since you asked – this is the luncheon napkin version of mask wearing while eating!

Tanya’s chili with all the fixin’s!  Delicious!

By happy hour we were ALL feeling foxy!

And so masked up and well behaved at Batiks Etc!

We are quilting.  We are growing.  We are learning.  We are bonding!

We are laughing at the self destructing iron!

This is why they come from Goodwill at $3.99!

And we are creating!

Has anyone seen Judy?

I think she is buried under here somewhere!

Today we do it again.  And we will celebrate our friendships with an evening around the fire pit.  The Hubster has his list to go get the ingredients for s’mores.  And more marshmallow roasting sticks.

And I am loving the new porch chairs!

Even with some assembly required.

I started with 2 sets of 4 – enough for 6 at the table and 2 spares for around the porch, but I am ordering another set of 4 so we can have 6 around the fire pit, and the others can be carried down off the porch.

You can find them in the On the Porch category of the Quiltville Amazon Affiliate Store. (They also come in black or white.)

Did you get your entry in on our June 2020 Quilty Box Gift-Away?  Drawing to happen Monday morning.  Enter to win ON THAT POST.

And you did see that our Unity Quilt Along is now in PDF booklet form and available in the digital patterns section of the Quiltville Store at 25% off?  No coupon required. 

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

You were not born to stay the same as the generation who came before you.

We can do and be so much better!


  1. Enjoy your day with the Stitch Mob! It looks like everyone is having lots of fun and may the rain stay away.

  2. A beautiful and inspiring post... thank you Bonnie!

  3. I liked your comment on not commercializing every. single. holiday. I have never bought into that "custom" of a gift for every holiday like parents do now. BUT I need peanut M and Ms everyday so that is my gift for when ever!!!! Happy Sewing.

  4. Great post, Bonnie!

  5. Looks like a fantastic time once again at Quiltville Inn. Love the foxy faces. Luv seeing what everyone is working on.

    Item of interest, Port Townsend, WA has a Juneteenth celebration in honor of the freeing of slaves. Yes, here in the Pacific NW on the peninsula of Washington state. Had a turn out of over 1000 people even while we are still under restrictions. A bright spot of hope, people do care.

  6. As a Texas native, I have know about Juneteenth my whole life. Up until 1960, is was not an official holiday. I wonder if news just spread that slowly in the 1860's or if there was some communication interference? Also, the last battle of the Civil War was fought at Port Isabel, TX after Lee surrendered. News was slow. Thank goodness for internet and cable/satelite TV.

  7. As one who always loved taking things apart to see what was inside, and usually able to get it put back together, I can honestly say that I've never seen the inside of an iron before. Thanks for revealing, because I now don't feel compelled to open one up for myself! It now falls into the category of 'That is so cool!" and I didn't have to do it! Thanks for all you do, teaching us about more than quilting, living life with all its beauty, and sharing the delightful surprises.

    1. When I first saw the inside of the iron I thought it was one of those fake soup can things that you use to hide stuff. Joke's on me.

  8. I was at my favorite quilt shop the other day and surprised when the owner commented (without any provocation as I had not brought up the subject) that "all lives matter", which, of course, they do. She followed that with a "statistic" that more white people are killed by cops than African Americans which is not the case at all. (I didn't respond to that as I didn't have the facts but have since researched it from reliable sources.) I had recently heard a very sensitive response to the "all lives matter" comment from an African American woman so I shared that with the shop owner. It was not an unfriendly conversation but the owner's outlook on what is taking place left me feeling very sad and somewhat depressed for the rest of the week. We do need to do better, all of us.

    1. I'm hearing some of that reasoning too and it's sad that they are missing SUCH a big point. It makes me wonder if it's the person not really thinking thing through or that they use this logic to cover an uglier truth.

  9. Celebrate by informing, not commercializing. Celebrate by supporting. Celebrate by appreciation & recognize the importance. So very true! Thank you for sharing your insite!

  10. Love the pink border!

  11. Have you read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States"? It was recommended to me by my neurologist, when she and I were discussing the state of our country; she told me that her daughter, a public defender, had given it to her and she had learned a lot. My neurologist is around the same age as you and I and I suspect the history she had been taught in school was likely the same "white-washed" version we learned. I'm not too far into the book, but I am already learning from it, and I am open to having my former certainties updated by new information.

  12. I so agree with your commenting that not every special day should have a commercial aspect to it. I was very disappointed last September when Keepsake Quilts referred to September 11 as Patriots Day and had a fabric sale of patriotic fabric. I wrote to them condemning their use of a day of mourning to try to sell more fabric. Living only an hour from New York and three hours from Washington, DC, September 11 hit us very hard. On September 11, our schools had to gather the students who had parents working in the World Trade Center and wait for word of their parents. My niece's husband worked directly across from the World Trade Center and it was noon before he could get word to anyone that he was alive. Our township was one of the first to have a September 11 memorial. A friend at work lost both her son and his wife that day. Seeing a company try to make a buck and capitalize on the pain and sorrow of that day made me see red. I hope the retail establishments don't see Juneteenth as just another day to get sales.

  13. I'm 83 years old and I never heard of Junteenth until several days ago. Thank you Bonnie for your great blog.

  14. Great post. I am 74 and learned about Juneteenth this week. For the most part I grew up in the Pacific Northwest.

  15. It always bugs me that St Patrick's day is an all out drunk fest everywhere. It is actually a high holy day. I never wear green on that day, even though my father used to tell me all the time "you're as Irish as St. Patty's pig". (and ancestry bore that to be true)

  16. Enjoy the rest of your retreat time these girls are really enjoying themselves.
    I found your history explanation very interesting, I had similar black areas in my history taught here in Guernsey. A lot of things about WW2 were just not taught for fear it would upset both our parents and the teachers, and the horrors of the occupation the Channel Islands suffered was whitewashed so we didn’t learn the full truth. My daughter is a history buff and has told me a lot and also visited polish pow camps as part of her a-level course when she was at college.
    I hope that in the future these things will be taught properly as it’s import that we all know of these things.
    Stay safe
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

    1. The photo showed 'all dressed up' in Texas heat and I'm only in a house dress in CNY thinking I'm suffering.

  17. Thank you for a little of the Juneteenth history. I knew about it but your post has me wanting to know more. Thank you!

  18. I am currently living in Jackson, Mississippi where many of its white residents know nothing of Juneteenth. This is a state that ratified the 13th amendment (the one that freed the slaves) officially in 2013 --- yes, less than 10 years ago. This place is home to some amazing authors including Margaret Walker who wrote Jubilee -- her families stories quilted together to show the slave's perspective of plantation living. It is a high school reading book that I recommend to all that are interested in these kinds of issues. Your blog today hits home for me in so many ways. Thank you for your antiracist outlook and positive outlook on the human condition. Your quilting lessons rock, too, of course.

  19. Just finished watching a HBO documentary called "TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY" One of the most heart rendering and yet, hope for change I've ever seen. Look for it if you have time. You'll be genuinely moved! Glad you're having fun with retreat! I'm with you in spirit!

  20. I too never heard of Juneteenth during my early education years, BUT I did learn some slaves were not released until way after due the the time and distances word traveled back then - although I never heard or at least don't remember-d it was 3 years. But some things are more local than others. Here in the Northeast we have a Patriots Day - celebrated April. So it doesn't surprise me that only locals celebrated Juneteenth - at least until this year. I to think it would be a nice day to remember the past, but I don't feel bad for not knowing all there is to know about anything.

    I enjoy your blog and do get to read it most days - some are just busier than others trying to get our 'Old House' circa 1830s farm house recovered from many years of abuse and derelict attention. We've beem at it for 9 years so far and hoping another year and it will be complete. We don't have a wrap around porch though and I often wish it did, but we are trying to keep the basics original.

    Thanks for your energy!!

  21. Bonnie, thank you for another great post! The secret you are keeping about your mystery guest made me giggle. Some of us little girls are better at keeping secrets than others and it takes me back when I feel curiosity as who the guest might be. Part of me that is still a little girl (at age 72) wants to know the secret. Thanks for the simple fun of not sharing the answer to the secret. I, too, love the pink border. Keep up the great work, please.

  22. Since I've discovered your blog I look forward to reading it every day. It's hard to imagine you have time to write as busy as you are. It is the bright spot of my day. I learn, laugh, admire, am happy (and sad some days because of the insensitivity of people you tell us about) and am always inspired. In these difficult times I so appreciate your outlook. No excuses, just a pledge shared to do better in our lives. Thank you!

  23. Given this country's rather rocky and predatory history, it is not a surprise that so much truly significant history was left out (by the winners, of course, who wrote it). So that task is on us- to discover all that was left behind. The former winners are losing their exclusive hold on power, so we just have to keep on task to ensure all voices are heard and the yokes of silence dismantled.

  24. I learned about Juneteenth when I moved to Texas in 1981. It was about then when it was made a state holiday in Texas. It is amazing to hear about it all over the television and internet now. Maybe it will be a national holiday soon

  25. I was thinking of you when I met a lovely woman at the Hertz dealership on Saturday evening.She is a quilter who used to own her own fabric shop somewhere east of Asheville,NC. I opened your newsletter and there she was in pink in this series of photos.When we spoke on Saturday evening ,she was wearing dark clothing other than her red sweater. I recognized her,still not knowing who she is.When you hear from her again,please say hello from the lady in lavender who kept making rounds around the floor to keep her legs from swelling. Also, thanks for the encouragement. You are a lovely lady!

  26. Thank You Bonnie for some enlightening conversation, for those of us, like you, that were never taught about Juneteenth! Growing up in Minnesota, then Washington, College in Oregon, we were neve taught about this in our history books or history classes. Yes we were taught about the Emancipation Proclamation, and the freeing of the black slaves, how it started the civil war. But, unfortunately, we just thought all the slaves were freed and that was it. Why is it, 140 years later, it can't be celebrated for what great meaning it had to have had for those living under those extreme conditions for their whole lives?

    Kasilof, Ak

  27. Love those foxy masks 🦊


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