This is a story about the front of a quilt made by 12-year-old Patty Brown of Paris in 1960 or 1961. And how, more than 50 years later, it made its way back to her.
Patty Brown is now Patty Brown Coughlin and lives in Fremont, N.H. She has spent the last several weeks staying with her brother, Russell Brown and his wife Sandy of Paris. Russell and Sandy both played a big role in bringing the quilt back home.
Here’s the story.
Patty made the front of the quilt with the help of a woman name Lowder and her sister, an act of kindness to a child that Patty Brown Coughlin still remembers fondly.
“One of the most important parts of this story for me is the fact that ‘Gran’ Lowder (as she was known by all the kids in the neighborhood) and her sister were so willing to spend their time with a 12-year old and teach her how to learn a craft,” Coughlin said. “Such patience and love were very special. I also want Mary Richards, her daughter, and Pat Lowder, her grandson, to know how wonderful she was to me. This story would not have been possible without her. The path of this quilt is an exceptional one. It’s inception makes it so for me. Without it, it would not have been possible. What magic.”
Sometime after finishing the quilt top, it disappeared and Patty never knew what happened to it. What happened is that Patty’s mother put it into a display cabinet used in the store she and her husband owned. It was called the Fashion Shop and it was located on the western side of Courthouse Square. The shop closed in 1967 and the display cabinet was acquired by Wanda Kleck who kept the cabinet for 40 years.
Once Wanda Kleck discovered the quilt top, she gave it to Russell and Sandy Brown. In 2006, the Browns discovered that Community Outreach Services was in need of auction items for a fund raiser. Russell and Sandy Brown has the ladies of St. Joseph Catholic Church quilt the top and COS raffled it off. It was won by Dr. James Shearer in 2014.
The quilt was called Drunken Paths.
On Sunday, Aug. 19, Coughlin was talking about a quilt top she made with Russell and Sandy. The Browns remembered the quilt top they had quilted and given to COS for a fund raising auction. It matched the description Coughlin remembered.
They found out that Shearer had won it at the raffle. So, they approached him.
“I was willing to buy it back from him,” Patty said. “But he said it was a raffle and a raffle is gambling adding that he doesn’t gamble. He said he’d made a donation and gave us the quilt.”
That act of kindness allowed Patty Brown Coughlin to recover a treasured memory of her childhood and the quilt came home after all these years.