A Memory Quilt -- 01/04/02
My daughter is planning on making a quilt out of old t-shirts. I'm not sure what has impelled her to start this project -- she says she heard about the idea someplace and thought it might be fun. (I have seen ads in the backs of running magazines offering to make quilts out of old race t-shirts but Jennifer doesn't tend to read them.) Nancy has been fascinated by quilting for years (and has made several quilts) but I hadn't realized that Jennifer has picked up some of her mother's interest in quilting.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the road racing sub-culture: most events give souvenir t-shirts to race entrants. Not all races have shirts -- I have collected two or three caps, a towel, a mug, a light jacket, etc. -- and some don't give shirts to everyone, only to those who register by a certain cut-off date (and I can recall one race that only awarded them to finishers; you got your shirt only after crossing the finish line). Naturally, after a few years of racing, one begins to gather a fairly large t-shirt wardrobe. (Nancy and I always joke about how happy she is to wear my t-shirts but does not want to use any of her closet space to store "our" t-shirts.... and, yes, we sometimes call that a "running gag" *groan*) I run in far fewer races each year now than I did ten or fifteen years ago, but my collection of race shirts is huge, dozens and dozens of shirts

Jennifer has selected a dozen t-shirts thus far for her quilt project -- not all of them from races -- and has cut out a rectangular section from the front of each shirt, the area with the logo or main design. . Looking at these rectangles of fabric laid out on the floor in our den, I can see why people like this quilt concept -- each part of the pattern bringing memories

There are two from Camire's Firecracker Four races -- a 4th of July weekend four mile race sponsored by a local running shoe store. There's a Kelly's Pace March Hare Hop 5k shirt (sponsored by Roger and Mary Camire's other running store) run in Mystic (CT), a race Jennifer and I ran together on a cold and snowy day in March of 1998, a few days before I went to Australia on a business trip and ran a 5k there in ninety degree Sydney sunshine. There's Dick's Sporting Goods Value of Life 5k from upstate New York, the first race Jennifer and I ran together where she outright beat me (before then we would run together and I would be pacing her and then cheering her on as she would put on a sprint to the finish line -- but this was the race where she moved ahead of me at the halfway point and no matter how I tried I could not catch up with her -- she was thirteen years old). There are two other shirts from upstate New York races: one from the Chris Thater Memorial (a college student killed by a drunk driver) that featured a weekend of bicycle racing and a 5k that brought world class runners; and an All-Star Run from 1994 when the Binghamton Mets AA baseball team was hosting the AA All-Star Game. The final race shirt is from a D.A.R.E. Challenge 5k that we ran a few years ago here in Rhode Island. The other shirts are also souvenir shirts, but not from races. There is an I Shot Hoops at the Basketball Hall of Fame shirt (yes, from the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.) that is probably almost ten years old. There is a Block Island souvenir shirt from a summer visit to there shortly before we moved to Rhode Island. There is a shirt advertising a radio station -- 92.9 RTL -- ROCK UND POP NONSTOP - DER NEUE MUSIKMIX FUR WIEN -- that I brought back from a visit to Vienna around three years ago. And, finally, there is a drawing of the RV Endeavor in Narragansett Bay with the Newport bridge in the background over "University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography" -- a souvenir of a summer oceanography program for teens Jennifer attended in the summer of 1996.

Looking at each of those rectangles of fabric brings back memories for me as they must for Jennifer and I am sure that when she finishes her quilt she will have something she can truly treasure.

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