Serving McDowell Seniors From the HeartBlock Number: 116
MCDOWELL SENIOR CENTERS HOST QUILT BLOCKS
The McDowell Senior Center, 100 Spaulding Drive in Marion and the A.C. Bud Hogan Community Center, 909 East Main Street in Old Fort, shared a special day of celebration on Tuesday April 24, 2012. Each center became home for quilt blocks specially designed to include the shape of McDowell County and a special focal point for each. Quilt Trail volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker installed both the blocks.
Director Waylon Prebor relates that the Focal Point Advisory Committee worked for quite some time in deciding on the patterns and how the blocks would relay the importance of the heritage of our county and its arts. A “crazy quilt” design was settled upon and the county map was depicted in a conglomeration of randomly shaped and placed “patches” in a wide array of colors.
First popular in Europe during the 1700’s, crazy quilts were popular in the United States from the 1800’s to around 1910 during the Industrial Revolution. It is not a specific kind of quilting but a specific kind of patchwork, lacking repeating motifs, but became an accepted artistic form of needlework. The crazy techniques in the jigsaw puzzle patterns were especially fashionable as a pastime during the Victorian Era.
It was in 1850 when Isaac Singer invented and introduced the first handle-free treadle sewing machine that the fad really took off. Thrifty housewives used everyday scraps and irregular shapes of fabric left over from other household sewing projects, as well as often using scrap material from local mills and factories. It became popular to embellish the work with such things a buttons, lace, ribbons, beads and embroidery. The finished product was often used in fundraisers for churches or other worthy causes and it was not unusual to write a famous person asking for a small piece of their clothing to incorporate and provide incentive to purchase.
There was no limit to the creativity and imagination of the seamstresses as they pieced together their asymmetrical and abstract designs to be used as bed covers and lap robes. It was because of the random, haphazard-looking riot of patches and stitches in contrast to the careful geometric design in traditional quilting that the pattern received its name. The finished product appeared to be the work of a lunatic! Indeed the designs were crazy, however mental balance does not need to be in question!
The current Marion Senior Center was opened in 2003, when a new facility was completed and it moved from the previous Crawford Street building. Block #116 was put in place over the entrance of the Marion center and is entitled “Serving McDowell Seniors from the Heart”. Within the patchwork replica map of McDowell is the embellishment of a red heart on a background of white placed approximately where Marion is located. The block is placed on the diagonal, shades of green fields leading to shades of blue mountains, a background of bright yellow highlighting the many colors of the map. Jill Lucas presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Director Prebor and several other co-workers.
Block #117 was installed on the A.C. Bud Hogan Community Center which opened in the Spring of 2009, the original Senior Center having been in the First Presbyterian Church for 32 years. The block faces Main Street and is entitled “McDowell County Pioneer Spirit”. It is almost identical to the Marion block with some variation in the background shapes and colors. The Old Fort block also has a meaningful embellishment located near where the city would be on the map. It is a replica of the landmark arrowhead monument located in the center of town.
The monument, which stands around 30 feet high, was hand chiseled from a large slab of granite and sits upon a stone base near the junction of I-40 and Highway 70. This focal point, put up July 27, 1930, serves as a symbol in celebration of peace between the native American Cherokee Indian tribes and the early pioneers who had settled in the area. The dedication ceremony of the statue had over 6,000 in attendance, a photo of which may be seen at the Gateway Museum. Employees Thelma Messer, Jeanette Grindstaff and Cheryl Woody were presented the Certificate of Authenticity by volunteer Jill Lucas.
Both senior centers provide lunches, limited transportation by appointment, a variety of classes, programs and activities, as well as home delivered meals. Information on Medicare, taxes and other subjects of importance may be found at the centers. A newsletter, Focus, is sent out monthly detailing current menus, trips and other trivia concerning seniors. Director Prebor encourages use of services the centers offer and invites seniors to come out, make new friends, learn new skills and improve physical fitness. He is available to speak at clubs, organizations and churches outlining all the many services of the centers and welcomes any questions or suggestions you may have.