Doris Dee (Lansing) Kirk
b. July 18, 1926 d. July 10, 2014
The pictures of Grandma and Aunt Doloris from when they were kids remind me of something from a traveling circus or Alfred Hitchcock.
Grandma always said that when she died she wanted her ashes buried with her parents. Russ and D’Esta Lansing’s ashes are buried on the creekside of the Kirk Estate, beneath a bench their children and grandchildren erected in their memory. When Uncle Jack died we discovered he wanted his ashes buried there too. And Aunt Doloris’s children saved some of her ashes in a locket, to be buried with her twin sister whenever she passed. It looks like soon the whole family will be reunited.
my grandparents Jim & Doris
This might be my favorite painting of Grandma’s. When we moved in we found it stuffed in the attic. The canvas was uncharacteristically missing staples, and the edges had feathered away from the inside frame. The colors are much darker and the paint thicker than typical for her work. The result makes the rocks appear slick. The whole painting feels like it had gotten wet in the last wave that crashed in.
I visited Grandma and Grandpa here often when I was a child. During the day she would take me up to her sewing room, the room I use as my studio. I’m sitting here now, typing in the place she used to have her sewing machine. Pinned to the wall was the latest quilt she was working on. Piled on her work tables were perfectly organized stacks of fabric pieces she had meticulously cut for another. During the day she would work on cutting and piecing a brand new project. When she’d had enough, she sewed and pieced together a project in its second phase. In the evenings she pulled out a project in its final stages.
I remember so vividly Grandma spreading out these almost finished quilts on top of the cream shag carpeting. I had seen these disparate fabric pieces just weeks ago. Now they had been transformed into something spectacular. While my Grandfather sat watching war documentaries, my Grandmother quilted. Quilt hoop nestled in her lap, cascades of fabric and batting gathering at her feet, magnifying glass around her neck, sewing pins tucked carefully between her lips.
There are perhaps more of Grandma’s unfinished works in this house than there are finished ones. It helps remind me that even the most meticulous and tenacious of women left things unfinished. And even these less than perfect, less than complete pieces will still be admired and cherished.