|Block I made for Cinda when she first became ill.|
If you are a member of the QHL quilt history discussion list or the AQSG quilt history discussion list, you have already heard of the passing of our beloved Cinda Cawley.
If you are a member of neither of these groups, you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime when it comes to friendships — as well as quilt history information!
Like most of those I have met in the quilt history world these past 30 years, Cinda was one-of-a-kind. Her sense of "can-do" when it came to ferretting out the story hidden in a quilt was contagious. Her moral outrage when it came to politics could light up the sky. Her generosity touched your heart and her fun-loving spirit made you want to be sure to be in her car so you could be along for the adventure!
How fortunate we of the VA-MD-PA fabric dating clubs were to have Cinda in our midst for so many years. Her ability to retain what she saw at those meetings and produce a full-blown written report later without hardly taking a note absolutely amazed me. Without her written reports, which she posted to QHL and AQSG, I wouldn’t have been able to identify half the photos I took at the meetings.
|Nov 2000 - Cinda on right holding one of her fraktur quilts. |
The hanging quilts are from my small Shenandoah Valley collection.
I spoke to Bayside Quilters on Maryland's Eastern Shore in Nov 2000 and had the great joy and privilege of spending the night with Cinda. It was the night America couldn’t decide who had really won the presidential election. It was an experience I will fondly and forever remember for having shared it with Cinda Cawley!
Cinda had not been well for a couple of years but we had all so hoped she was going to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other and do what she loved best - document those quilts! And so she did for almost two more years.
|Lorie Stubbs and Cinda Cawley stop to examine an antique quilt |
at the 2009 AQSG Seminar in San Jose, California.
Alas, Cinda finally laid her pen and needle down and headed off to wherever Cuesta Benberry, Sally Garoutte, Lucy Hilty, Helen Kelley, Shiela Betterton, Mary Schafer, Bonnie Leman, Cryil Nelson, Joan Kiplinger, Sara Dillow, Hilary Fletcher, Sharon Newman, Helen Ewer and now even Jean Ray Laury (who also passed this week) are gathered in the Great Beyond. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Look at the Seminar attendees she is hob-nobbing with now!!!
Karen in the Islands
PS: If you want to leave a note for the family here, I'll be sure these messages get passed on to them.
More photos from Cinda's friends!
Beverly Birkmire from Maryland's Eastern Shore shared the following from the 2008 AQSG Seminar:
|Who knows the story about this quilt?|
|Cinda delivering her paper in Vancouver in 2004|
Anyone who ever encountered Cinda, in person or through the cyberworld, was aware of her prodigious memory, her sparkling intellect, her sharp wit, her incredible generosity. "Cindalogues" were word pictures that made us wish to have been there to see the quilts she described, and also made us long for the graceful language skills with which she excited her unknown readers.
But Cinda also made an impact in other, less recognized ways. When she was researching and writing her AQSG paper on fraktur quilts, she asked me to be her mentor (an improbable role-reversal). During the process we shared many laughs over her insistence on still more in-depth research, and my threats to bring out my whip if she didn't begin the writing process. And so the paper developed and matured, and in October 2004 she appeared before an eager AQSG audience at the annual seminar, that year held in Vancouver, Washington.
Until that time, the format for presenting papers had been to read an edited text to the audience, a procedure that kept presenters on track within the tightly scheduled presentation period. Cinda was impatient with that approach, choosing instead to share with us some of what she had discovered about the lives, inter-familial connections, and personalities of the people she had met on the signed quilts. We could read her research at our leisure, she said. As she told us about Avaline Sarah Ann Ziegenfuss Stern, the woman who sparked her research interest, she brought us into the world of the Pennsylvania she knew and loved and made those who peopled her quilts live again. It was her hope that her research would "insure that not only she [Avaline] but those she loved, will not be forgotten."
And so Cinda has affected us all, and we are the better for it.
The following photos came from Jean Carlton and were taken at Cinda's PA Quilts Study Center at the AQSG Seminar in Lowell, Massachusetts in October 2007.
Photo below is from Anita Loscalzo, recalling another AQSG member we lost (Helen Ewer) not long after the 2007 Seminar. Helen so much resembled Cinda that members were constantly walking up to Helen at Seminar and assuming she was Cinda and vice-a-versa. They finally came up with a solution....look at their name tags in the photo closely.
Photo below courtesy of Judy Grow
I remember a few years ago when I offered to turn over my research on the Blosser quilts to someone who could write or put together a paper and Xenia threatened to get out her whip". A few months later Cinda asked me "when are we going to hear about those quilts. Do I have to get out my whip"? I know, for a brief second, an image of AQSG board members violently abusing their researching members flashed through my mind but, instead, I said "Wow, you all sure think alike." She just grinned, but now I know where she got it.
I met Cinda in 2005 and it was love at first paragraph. As it was when I read my first Gaye-gram, I wondered how had I gotten along not knowing this enchanting person. I grew up reading one book after another so I admire the written word. (My middle sister liked cleaning and polishing. Today, her house is really clean; my mind is cluttered, haha!)
After seminar in MN, I wrote to Cinda to tell her I would be replicating Margaret Blosser's 'Hand Quilt' with contemporary tracings. I had to get over thinking it was a really dumb idea and go for it. Last November she sent me the drawing of her own hand. So, I'm officially committed to doing this since she's now watching us all from above.
If y'all would send me a tracing of your dominant hand with your name and the date, I would be most grateful. I promise no turkey simulations. And, please don't think that I might be getting too many since I know Maggie had 'leftover hands' that she put into a fourth quilt (which could be living somewhere in Michigan or California).
I'm not a quilter either, but Maggie didn't start quilting until she was 60 years old and I'm, well, let just say in the range. You may all send your deepest apologies to my dear friend, Lorie Stubbs, and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Study Group who will be taking my blood pressure and holding my hand through it all. The worst is yet to come girls. What would I do without the women in my life?
This means you too guys!
Jan Thomas, just below the Stargate.
Lorie Stubbs sent me the following note and two photos March 18, 2011.
Hi Karen, Not sure why I'm sending this to you, except that I consider you the expert in disseminating information. I love these two pictures of Cinda. These were taken March 1, 2009 at the study group in DC. My friend Susan and I were heading to the airport after the AQSG Williamsburg Conference. Hazel Carter had alerted me that the group was meeting that Sunday afternoon within hours of our departure from the airport. We decided we couldn't miss it! and I'm so glad we went because it was as good as some of the museums we'd visited. There was a MAJOR storm coming which did hit but not until after our plane took off. We were meant to be there.
Barbara Brackman, Cinda, Karen Alexander,
Merikay Waldvogel at the 2009 San Jose Seminar