MAY 2023 SPOTLIGHT: NAOMI SECHREST
Naomi received a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Business with a minor in Fine Arts from Harding University in 2009. She enjoys drawing and sketching in her travel journal and teaching 3rd grade Bible class. We hope you enjoy her story.
y granny was an excellent seamstress. Sometimes she would make me clothes and I would wear them to school glowing from within. She would measure me and grumble about how much I was growing, or pinch me if I couldn’t stand still. I thought she should open a store and sell the clothes she had made. Further imaginings made me realize how impractical this would be, but it was still a fun thought. Granny tried to teach me how to sew, but I never got much farther than the felt duck pincushion I stitched together.
When I was eight, she finished making a quilt for me. I’m pretty sure she started on it when I was much younger. It had six panels with nursery rhymes in the center bordered by rings of white, pink, and then blue. There was a large pink heart in each corner. Old Mother Goose, Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and Georgie Porgie kept me company in all of their stitched fabric glory. A part of me loved the quilt and I felt special that she’d made it for me, but a part of me was embarrassed because I was much too old for nursery rhymes. Still, on my bed it went and the nights and weeks passed.
In fourth grade, we were assigned to write a story about one of our toys coming to life. I wanted to write an epic drama full of action and mystery. That’s exactly what Hudson did. He read pages and pages to the class about how he shrank to a few inches tall and had a crazy adventure with his living toys. Hudson was so irritating. I couldn’t think of anything. I remembered the quilt, and desperately tried to think of anything else. Nothing came to mind, so I wrote a dialogue with my quilt.
I told my quilt that I was embarrassed by it because I was too old for nursery rhymes. I don’t remember what the quilt said back, but I do remember that it listened to my feelings and we talked it over. By the end of the paper I felt at peace about it.
Ms. Poer loved my paper. I was surprised because I’d only written one page and it wasn’t full of epic adventures or mystery. It was just a quiet conversation before falling asleep. I had come to terms with my embarrassment over the nursery rhymes.
The quilt stayed on my bed for several years. It had become a comfort to me. When I was sixteen, I took it to a week-long summer program at Freed-Hardeman University, my parents’ alma mater. My father had died of a heart attack the month before. I was reeling from the shock of his death and the insecurity of a week away from home. I felt safer wrapped in its familiar patterns.
The quilt went to college with me, nursery rhymes and all. No one ever made fun of me for it. I had accepted it, and they did too. If anything, my roommates complemented the quilt and noted how special it must be.
It was a few years after college and I was still sleeping under that quilt. It had never been long-arm quilted and the fabric was starting to shred. I got a few referrals and found two different ladies who were seamstresses and experienced quilters. Both said it wasn’t savable. I tried using stitch-witchery, a kind of iron-on glue, to keep the shredding fabric in place, but it didn’t hold. I couldn’t bear to get rid of it, so it was repurposed as a covering for a large window next to my bed.
My granny died earlier this year. The quilt has always been a comfort but now it’s also an heirloom. It continues to watch over me.
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