Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Queen's Quilt

As you might gather from the lack of recent posts, I'm still going crazy with all the stress and activity surrounding my family's impending move from the Eastside to the Westside of L.A. It's only about 17 miles in terms of distance, but those who know Los Angeles will acknowledge that East is East and West is West. I've lived on the Eastside for 46 years, and I only know two people, one bar and one restaurant on the Westside.

It's easy for me to get wrapped up in all the details of our daily lives, worrying about paying the bills, feeling burnt out from working long hours and constantly running errands. Music has always been good therapy for me, so I pulled out some old recordings of my songs to refresh my memory of them and perhaps rearrange them for Punkoustica. I came across a rough demo version of a song I wrote about my own childhood, called "Queen's Quilt," which I'll share with you here. It has much in common with Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors," though I was not trying to do my own version of that song. I have to admit that the song itself is pretty corny, but I've always been partial to corny songs. The quilt could use a trip to the dry cleaners and the song is pretty old and dusty too, but what the heck, I'll share it with you.

this is an audio post - click to play

Queen's Quilt

It was long ago and times were rough just like today
Mom and Daddy didn't have a cent left to their names
Driving through those darkened streets in the hub of industry
They found treasures in the dumpsters while the city was asleep

I watched from the car as Mom and Dad climbed in the bins
Pulling sample books and remnant cloth squares from within
Mama sewed a quilt for me, scavenged cloth fit for a Queen
Brightly colored velvet pieces and a patch of velveteen

The Queen's Quilt is laying on my bed and when I'm feeling bad
It reminds me that things do get better, that I'll find a way

All that winter Mama sewed while Daddy sold the quilts
And by spring the winter's hardship had begun to melt
Driving through those darkened streets in the hub of industry
They found treasures in the dumpsters while the city was asleep

Listening to the words, I began to think what it must have been like for my parents (who are now deceased), struggling to get by when neither of them had regular jobs or a high school education. When times got tough, they scraped by any way they could. Being children of the Depression, they were raised to be thrifty and resourceful and those survival skills served them well many times over the years. In particular, my Mother was very self-reliant and (it seemed to me) she could just as easily patch a hole in a leaking roof as she could prepare a delicious meal out of practically nothing.

Taking the time to think about their lives helped me to place my own worries and stress in perspective (for tonight). Thank you, Mom and Dad.


Anonymous said...

this is a powerful story for all us to think, reflect, remember how we got to where we are now.
Parents now a days are not like our parents or grandparents of yesterday.
Thank you Alice!...this was a great song and story to share with all of us.

Dandy said...

Beautiful song.

Anonymous said...

Is the song true? how old were you when you started dumpster diving?