Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How May I Serve - The American Red Cross and Quilts

I just drove passed it again; the American Red Cross billboard near the county fair grounds with the Red Cross Symbol and the words Equals Hope.

Every time I see the “Equals Hope” billboard, it takes me back to February 2007. My husband and I were on a trip – our first “big” trip together in years and through a series of interesting events, we wound up in a nearly deserted Puerto Rico airport in the middle of the night with about ten other people who, like us, had missed their connection. The next morning, in the same airport, waiting for “our ship to come in,” I spotted an American nun wearing the post Vatican II headgear and speaking fluent Spanish. I’m Catholic – a product of the parochial school system – we notice things like that. We would later learn, she was working with the Red Cross and was taking a plane load of novices to a remote island – some to teach and others to act as nurses. She was a person of action, living the message - the Red Cross equals hope.

My husband and I were coming home to Illinois, from this same trip in the aftermath of a nationwide ice storm which had caused some major delays for us in Miami. The storm had set about a chain reaction of events where we missed our successive flights, but we made it to O’Hare in the middle of the night – 1 ½ hours from home, but we had missed the connecting flight to take us that last leg home. . I am NOT complaining, this had been an amazing trip for us – one that I will cherish for a lifetime. After we landed at O’Hare that night and the plane was slowly making its’ way to our eventual departure ramp, I looked out my window and there between the rain and ice I spotted an American Red Cross airplane – my airport loving dad would have called it a cargo or a supply plane – getting ready to taxi - destination unknown. The Red Cross equals hope.

Have I shared that I randomly chose three vintage quilt history books to bring with me in my carry-on to read and one of those was a WWI pattern book which had a Red Cross Quilt in it with the instructions on how to create it?

To add more "wahoo" to this story, did I mention about a month after that trip this quilt top came to me?

Is it a quilt made to honor the American Red Cross? I’ll never know because there was no provenance with it, but I did feel like somebody was trying to tell me something – so I decided to read a little more about the American Red Cross and quilts! I began that journey by putting American Red Cross Quilts in the Google Search Engine and discovered quilts and the Red Cross have a long history together. If that is not enough to give you a fabric fix, check out the history of the Red Cross Uniforms themselves. Google Shirley Powers and Red Cross Uniforms.

Before I close the books on this day, I want to make one more comment. Does anyone else think the ARC “Equals Hope” billboards would make a nice center for a signature quilt – maybe even a fundraising quilt to benefit the American Red Cross efforts to help those who need it.
It could be the answer to "How May I Serve?"

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