‘J’ is for John Balch and the Boys
The males are sorely underrepresented in this set of 1934 quilt squares. There are lots of women and girls, yet only 7 blocks of the 30 represent Athelstan males.
John Balch (9 years old) and his sister Betty (11 years old) each have squares. I’m guessing that Betty made both of them. Today, school Home Economics classes have both boys and girls, teaching everyone necessary sewing fundamentals. In 1934 I doubt many, if any, nine years old boys were learning stitchery.
Rex Morris, Doris’ brother, also has a block in this set. Doris had two brothers; Rex and Ray. Ray was ten years old in 1934, yet he isn’t represented by a square. I’m not sure why; that’s one of the many mysteries I’ve found in my search. The only item I’ve unearthed about Rex is that “Rex Morris of Athelstan, Iowa married Mildred McCarty from Redding, Iowa on August 13, 1946.
Charles Bownes is another elusive name in my search for clues. He’s bound to be related to some of the other many Bownes represented by these stitched blocks. I just haven’t traced all the Bownes links yet.
Dean Weese brings up another unsolved question. He has two blocks, one Sunbonnet Sue and one Overall Bill. Why? Only his mother Zelma, or Doris’ mother, Nellie, could answer, so we’ll probably never know the reason why. Dean was only two when the squares were made, so Zelma definitely made his squares. In Zelma’s obituary in the Bedford Times-Press, it states:
“Zelma spent her life as a wife, mother and homemaker. While raising a family of her own, when sickness or emergencies arose, she was always ready and willing to help care for her many nieces and nephews, who loved and respected her. She enjoyed gardening, canning and all other aspects of farm life. Her favorite hobby was making quilts for her children and grandchildren.”
Two other squares representing males are unsigned. There is a set of three, one woman and two males with similar colors and stitching, but no names. I’m assuming these three represent a family, a mother, father and son. (More on this for A to Z’s ‘U’ post)
The boys may not have had much say in being included in this set of quilt squares for Doris’ gift. But here they are anyway. Eighty years later we still remember them, whether they created the quilt blocks or not.