The Quilt Room — and beyond

More than high time for some fresh news, clearly it’s Fall at our house.

Fall in Seattle 2013 Made it to the second visit to the Orthopedic Clinic in our own car.  Everyday stuff for you, I know. You weren’t along for our first Yellow Cab wheelchair van experience, where a strong and patient driver helped Herman lock and load me into the very back of his van. Barring the part where both arms came off the wheelchair as both men tried to lift it, I’d say it went well.

Herman was in the van’s middle seat and I was behind him, in the well created to hold wheelchairs. And, I noticed, whatever hadn’t been chucked out from the past few meals, stuff I could see because I was wearing my glasses. So I was able to watch the progress of a roach which appeared on my husband’s headrest, and sat there for a minute, judging whether it could make the leap into the back of Herman’s thick hair.

You wouldn’t believe how quickly someone will move, at the hissed syllable, “Roach!” It moved my husband into the safety of the middle of the van and gave me time to watch the large-ish spider which popped up next. Spiders!  Pffft! As nothing, compared to relocating a roach. Don’t know which one of us the spider clung to, but once we got to the nice shiny white floor of Treatment Room 2, he decided all was safe, and started across the floor.  Splat! End of our wildlife saga.

So, that was Visit 1.  Visit 2, under our own power, was bliss. For this, I learned to go down three steps to get me out, via the garage, and into the alley and our car.  God-like surgeon doesn’t want to see me for 3-4 more weeks (we chose 4); new bone growth in the shoulder hasn’t yet shown up on the new x-rays, but he’s confident that it’s beginning.  And so we settle in for the wait.

We’ve moved into the Quilt Room right on the ground floor.  Usually it’s where we put up   two guests: bathroom right next door. My office at the end of the hall. Cozy. Companionable, I’ve always thought, since there’s a main bed and a trundle below that can be pulled up to nestle next to it, or separated, as we have things now.

The bookshelves here are floor-to-ceiling along one wall and its corner. (“Books!” a visitor once commented, facing this collection in Los Angeles. “Such good sound bafflers!”) Lying on the trundle, trying to square myself away for a night of lying with as much movement as a tomb effigy at Westminster Cathedral, I line myself up so I’m at a crisp right angle to the books. It seems to bring a little order to the randomness of our days now.

The cats, who hang out here a lot of time anyway, seem agreeable to sharing. Lily now owns the utterly unused wheelchair each night; I can barely break the news that it’s going back any minute now. Tucker likes my husband’s bed, but he ‘s good about sharing when I unexpectedly crash…

Tuckerand SB on bed

I adore this room, especially its pumpkin colored walls which make the small space glow, but truthfully, I don’t usually come in here to read. I head for a small chair with lots of natural light, at the end of our long, railroad car of a house. As a result, I’ve almost forgotten some of the stuff on the Quilt Room walls.

At the time when, like Jane Austen ladies, “we” were all beavering away doing handwork of one generally useless kind or another, I made this timid box. The main reason it has survived is that each one of the three daughters has forbidden me to chuck it.

Collage soloI am painfully aware of its deficiencies, but there is one bit in there which has also kept me from heaving it.  It’s this postcard, written 102 years ago and postmarked on my birthday..  It was sent from Pearl, in Dell Rapids, South Dakota, to her sister, Minnie (Mrs. Minnie Herrick, in Onaga, Kansas.)

Pearl wrote:

Dear Sister:

I got your letter together with Edward’s. I went to Episcopal Church tonight and to the Catholics last Sunday.  I wanted to know what some other people believe.  I certainly  found out last Sunday night.


Now I ask you, with all its searching mystery, could you have thrown it out?

More, when there’s more to tell.  Thank every single one of you who have hung in there and stayed in touch. You cannot know what it has meant. And you can see for yourself how well things are going:

SB selfir

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About Sheila Benson

Growing up in a movie-centric household, with an abiding interest in ballet and a background in Theatre Arts at UCLA, somehow I found myself drawn to writing about films. At first on a small Mill Valley weekly, then at a slightly bigger paper, as the Los Angeles Times Film Critic (1981-1991.) Now, after 3 decades with the right husband, I read, write, sometimes cook, miss my kids, sound off about politics and watch movies as obsessively as ever.

9 thoughts on “The Quilt Room — and beyond

  1. Wonderful to see you in your pumpkin room. Somehow you make the most difficult circumstance sound like a good time. Marvellous writing.
    Love and hugs to you both.

  2. Hi Sheila, Brenda sent me your blog. I had not an iota of an idea that you had an accident til last week when Brenda came back from the UK. I was so sorry to hear it. Your blog is wonderful. Can you add me as a recipient? Is there anything you need that I can help with? Or if Herman needs to go out some evening and you need someone to stay with you, I would be happy to come over. All the best. Marianne

  3. Goodness what a glorious contribution! I can see the cats there, and identify with the humble box of treasures as a reminder to do a box myself (or have Le Man make the framework anyway) as I love this sort of 3-D collectible collage and Lord knows I have wee treasures collecting nothing but dust that indeed deserve composure. Heal well! Carry on.

  4. I am in mild hysterics over the insect section of this post and quite uplifted by the rest. You look all better and I am so happy this is being recorded in your fabulous words. Love to you and Herman and the kitties.

  5. Dear Sheila, Well, you look lovely1 And so do the leaves on the trees. I know how pretty it is where you live. My cousin Laura Smith Clausen lives in Bellingham, not so very far away. It’s beautiful here, too! Love this time of year….East Coast or West. More later. My FAVORITE movie of ALL starts on ch 9 in a moment. EAST OF EDEN……….xo, Cyn

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