~ You honor the life that has been given you by
remembering and telling your stories. ~
Robin Moore's "Awakening the Hidden Storyteller"
What in the world did I do before I discovered quilting and quilt history?
I think I was born a documenter. My siblings did not make scrapbooks and photo albums like I did as a teen-ager, though my sister does today. Nor did they write letters like I did. It's just what I have always done. I wrote volumes home to my friends the year and a half we lived on Panay, The Philippines and then, after one year of college, in Tanzania with my parents and siblings. I even illustrated some of my letters with sketches using colored pencils. My friends faithfully saved these letters at my request.
Here are a few highlights from those early years. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
I had always had an affinity for history and geography from about age 10 on. Now as our family traveled the world to and from The Philippines, history came alive before my eyes. WWII came to life as I heard stories from those who had personally lived thru the Japanese occupation of The Philippines. As we family camped across Europe on our way home the summer of 1960, we even saw remnants of some of the devastating bombing that the Allies had imposed upon Germany.
We also saw wonderful museums, ruins of ancient historic cities, and visited people in their homes.
Being exposed to so many different cultures during my teens also introduced me to a great diversity of design and crafts, especially in The Philippines. I still have several yards of handwoven jusi from the Island of Panay as well as the barong that my youngest brother wore. This link to jusi, however, doesn't adequately describe the lovely silk-looking fabric that I remember and still have several yards of.
Here is a group of photos I just dug out and scanned that show the various kinds of outfits my sister and I wore on special occasions in The Philippines. Here is a link to a lovely YouTube slide show of gorgeous traditional Filipino national dress. Here is another link about some of the uniqueness of the some of the peoples on Panay Island among the Visayans.
|With a friend at school.|
|My sister and I with a group of school friends.|
|Here I model my own Filipino dress. I later wore this dress to my Junior Prom....minus the sleeves.|
|Same dress above that I wore at the Filipino fashion show, minus the butterfly sleeves.|
|Mother's blue dress was also made for her while we were living in The Philippines.|
|Double click to enlarge so that you can read this article.|
A coup d'état was in progress, the Embassy warned me. I was to keep the doors and windows barred, let no one in and to pack suitcases for the three of us. As soon as the Embassy gave me the signal, I was to jump in the car with the two kids and flee a mile down the road to the nearest American residence and stay put. Once I hung up the phone, I could hear guns firing and see soldiers surrounding the house across the street. The Embassy called me every hour on the hour all day. I kept tabs on what was going on in the city by turning on Voice of America that was broadcasting out of West Africa. At 6 p.m. I finally got the all clear signal to hop in the car and head down the road where I holed up with two other American families for the next two days.
|Car loaded and ready to roll for our camping trip across the Serengeti spring 1964.|
Many, many more stories….like the night our father decided to attempt to "crash" a diplomatic party at the Presidential Palace when the President of The Philippines was visiting the President of Tanzania.
We had driven to the National airport on the edge of Dar-es-Salaam as a family all dressed up, we women in our Filipina national dresses and the men in their Barong Tagalogs. (We four kids had no idea mother had brought our Filipino clothing to Africa with her!)
Dad had the flags of both countries flying at the corners of our VW van so we looked very "official" and pulled right into line behind the official motorcade as it left the airport and were waved right into the Palace grounds upon arrival at President Nyerere's official home.
Dad just happened to personally know one of the Cabinet Ministers in the PI Presidential entourage and wanted one of us kids to try to get a note to him just for the fun of it!! My brother Dan and I volunteered to be the guinea pigs. I don't recall what my brother and I said to each other as we approached the front door of the Presidential Palace but we surely must have known our goose would be cooked when they discovered we didn't have an official invitation.
Long story short, they were very gracious to us. After they discovered why we were there and that we weren't on the guest list, they ushered us into a small sitting room, took our message and Dad's card and left. About 20 or so minutes later, they came back to give us Dr. Bernedino's return message. To this day, I always wonder if they checked us out with the American Embassy FIRST before they took that note up to the party. I am sure the American Ambassador would have been present at the party also! (Luckily, I had cared for his two daughters once, too, at the Embassy when he and his wife were out of town on vacation, so he would have know my name!)
|The roads were always a bit "iffy" up-country.|
Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me. It brought back a lot of memories!
Peace, joy and a sense of adventure to you in your daily exploration of life,
PS: Added note 2015
(*Our family name was originally Buetler/Beidler and is still pronounced as though it was spelled Beidler.)