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Location: Charles City, Virginia, United States

Saturday, February 06, 2010

A Turtle for the Princess

This isn't any kind of coherent eulogy for my grandmother, just an attempt to get something down in writing, lest it fade:

People keep talking about Grandma's "turtles." See, she used to make these quilt/pad things, colorful ovals about three feet across, and then sew four stuffed "flippers" and a turtle's head on to each one. Not a realistic head, of course; that would be scary. Brightly colored, cartoonish, friendly. People would lay the turtle out on the floor for their baby to sit, crawl, play, or nap on. Kids liked 'em, parents liked that the kids liked them. Grandma made them for friends and family who were expecting, and she also used to sell them at the Senior Citizens' Craft Center in Clearwater.
The turtles had two brief moments of fame. In 1982, when Diana the Princess of Wales gave birth to her first son, and in 1988 when a daughter was born to Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York, Grandma sent them turtles for the new babies. In each case she received thank-you notes from ladies-in-waiting to the Duchess & Princess. She kept the notes; my aunt & uncle showed them to us before the funeral. Our local paper also did a story about it at the time. Mostly, though, the recipients were just ordinary families.

We miss Grandma already, very much. I was cheered just a little bit, though, by the reminder that her handiwork is brightening children's days all around the world.

4 Comments:

said...

Whether it was just an attempt at getting something down or not, this is very sweet, Justin. I really enjoyed reading about your grandmother.

2:08 PM  
said...

Remembering is so important. Your grandmother sounds like a lovely and giving woman. Thanks for sharing this story.

Diane

4:31 PM  
said...

Grandma made some cool turtles. We'll all miss her.

10:53 AM  
said...

I have a picture of Joshua on one of Grandma's turtles.....

I can email it to you if you'd like....

2:09 PM  

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