First things first. As if serving as a medic in Vietnam were not enough, Jack was also a POW and received a Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice.The intensity of knowing that bit of personal history about Jack permeated every step in the process of making this memorial quilt for his daughter, Cheri. Known as “Dr. Jack”, with a PhD in Psychology, he had a long and distinguished career as a School District Psychologist outside of Chicago. He was also a deeply patriotic man.
Along with his shirts and ties, Cheri sent his two medic arm bands, some army patches, and a flag to include in the quilt. This is where the potency of a textile’s stored history comes to life because my hands started to shake as I lifted those dirt-stained medic badges out of the box.
Jack lived in Arizona and loved his palm tree – he would regularly redesign his outdoor garden space, using native plants and trees.
He also had a beautiful stone fountain built that Cheri thought might be a source of design inspiration as well.
I started designing with these elements in mind – the palm blocks would essentially be the ground, made out of Jack’s shirts and jeans, while the central “wall” would be built around the flag, with Jack’s personal items from the army pieced within.
The palm blocks required paper-piecing for accuracy.
Jack had some camouflage shorts that coordinated nicely with his army patches and medic arm band.
His red, white, and blue neckties made great “building blocks” for the wall area.
For the quilt backing, I pieced together some added personal embroideries to also honor his beloved wife, Cheryl, who pre-deceased him a year and half earlier.
Here is the final quilt, with two details.
This is a lovely tribute to a man who served with honor and sacrificed a great deal.