Dona McCready-Lewis

Photos

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Title

Dona McCready-Lewis

Identifier

AFPBP-21

Interviewee

Dona McCready-Lewis

Interviewer

Karen Musgrave

Interview Date

02/18/2008

Interview sponsor

Karey Bresenhan, in honor of Jewel Pearce Patterson

Location

Sun City, Arizona

Interview indexer

Anne Lafferty

Transcriber

Kim Greene

Transcription

Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I’m doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Dona McCready-Lewis. Dona is in Sun City, Arizona and I’m in Naperville, Illinois, so we are doing this by telephone. It is February 18, 2008. It is 8:11 in the evening. Thank you so much for doing this interview with me. Please tell me about "Shattered Lives," which is a quilt that is in the traveling exhibition, "Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece."

Dona McCready-Lewis (DMcL): Alright, this was a project instigated by my youngest sister. I am the oldest of four girls who all quilt. Timi, the youngest, was going through the Internet and discovered Ami’s website. Timi emailed all of us saying, 'Hey, I have a project for the four of us. There is a call for quilts for an exhibit for Alzheimer’s.' Her instructions to us were that we each make a block, twelve inches by twelve inches that would represent the impact Alzheimer’s has had on us individually and/or as a family. Our mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s maybe two, possibly three years before. So we each, all four are in different parts of the country, did our twelve inch blocks and sent them to Timi. She then put them together to meet the qualifications or the specifications of size that Ami wanted. In the meantime, Timi had been talking to Ami because she wanted to find out if a group quilt, by the four of us, would qualify for the exhibit or for consideration in the exhibit. Ami’s reply was, 'Well, if you can figure out how to split the sewing machine four ways, I don’t have a problem with it.' [laughs.] That is how we started. We had a deadline we had to meet. We sent them all in, Timi put them all together and she sent it off. The amazing thing with the blocks as they came back and Timi started putting them together, all four of us in four different parts of the country without collaboration had used the same color scheme of grays and whites and blacks. The blocks lent themselves to a unified piece. They all four went together. The only problem Timi had was that two of us are more artsy and two of us are more traditional. So there are two rather traditional blocks and two that are a little more off the wall. Timi had to figure out how to put them together. She did a very good job, the blocks compliment each other. When we got word that it had been accepted, it came to us through Timi, we all four were just absolutely astounded. We were just flabbergasted by its acceptance. All of us feel very honored and privileged to be chosen to participate in the exhibit. We all four have seen the exhibit in different parts of the country. My two sisters, Cherile in Missouri and Sandy in Florida, were able to get together and see the exhibit at Paducah in spring of 2007. Timi saw it in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2006, and I was fortunate enough to see it at the Road to California January 2007 when it was shown there and also to do some white glove time with the exhibit then. Last spring, June2007, when friends were visiting us in upstate New York, we went to the Vermont Quilt Festival to see the exhibit with our husbands. My husband got to see it and I was able to see it again. Doing the white glove was really a very, very moving experience. People would come up and talk to you or you would start talking to people. The stories that they told were just as amazing. Many of them told me, it was their second time back because they couldn’t look at it all at one time, or I had people tell me they could only look at the quilts and not read the stories, or they had to view the exhibit in bits and pieces. The exhibit had a profound effect on the audience viewing it. It was the same in both California and in Vermont. I could overhear comments that were made because I was listening. It was very moving and it made me very, very proud to be a part of the exhibit. I think it is an outstanding exhibit.

Then, I’m trying to think how long it took. I know I made the deadline of March 2006. My sisters laughed as I’m always the last minute person. The theme, "Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece" made me think of a jigsaw puzzle and the missing pieces. That’s what we used to do as kids. We built jigsaw puzzles all the time. That was the inspiration for my piece of the quilt. It is a photo of our mom, I believe it is her high school picture, reproduced five or six times, each time with a different exposure so it got fainter and fainter. It is arranged in a little semi-circle on black fabric. The first picture is whole of course. The next picture has one piece missing and the next has a couple more pieces and it goes on around until the final picture you don’t even recognize as a face unless you really study it. The puzzle pieces that were pulled out actually used various jigsaw puzzle pieces as patterns or templates to cut them out. The missing puzzle pieces are floating around on the background. They comprise the background for the photos with the pieces missing. It was a very difficult quilt to do because once I got the pictures all made, the picture is as you would expect a high school picture to be. Mom is very, very youthful. There is a sense of expectation, the whole world is in front of her, her whole life is ready to unfold, and cutting the photos up was very, very difficult for me emotionally. I have since tried to do another one with a different but similar theme using a different technique and haven’t finished it yet. Again it was very difficult for me to take the photos and cut them up. Our mom is now approaching the final stages of Alzheimer’s. Our Mom and Dad stay with my youngest sister since dad had a stroke about twenty years ago. I think they have been with my sister probably eighteen or twenty years.

KM: Which sister is she with?

DMcL: The youngest, Timi. There is myself, then Sandy, from Sun City Center, Florida, then Cherile, from Macks Creek, Missouri, and then Timi who is in Salem, Connecticut with Mom and Dad. I would go out every summer and Timi and I would go to the Northeast Quilt Festival together, take some classes, sometimes together, sometimes separately but we always had a great three or four day weekend. Now we go up, the three of us take turns, we try to make it about every six to eight weeks. We go up and stay anywhere from a long weekend to about ten days, so that we can give Timi a break. She is at the point now where she does the cooking, as well as administering all of the meds and taking care of all the personal hygiene, at least overseeing it. It is coming to the point where Timi is going to have to make some very difficult decisions. Not being there, not being involved with the agreement and relationship between Timi, Mom and Dad, what the other three of us can best do for Timi is simply support her and support whatever decisions she has to make. That is difficult for all of us, but that is what it is coming to. I think this is now Mom’s fifth year, but the last time I was there, in January, she still recognized me and knew who I was. At this point you are thankful for little things like that. What other things do you need to know or want to know about the quilt?

KM: What are your plans for the quilt once it comes back?

DMcL: That is interesting. Of course we got the appraisal and again we were all very pleasantly surprised with the appraisal of our quilt. We all recognize the fact that the whole is greater than the individual pieces, so if we take our pieces back, we would devalue it greatly. Therefore, we have kind of been bouncing ideas around. I think the one that everyone seems to be most in favor of is donating it to either the Alzheimer’s headquarters, either regionally, maybe state, or perhaps nationally. Something like that. I don’t think we have started the process of finding out where and how, etc. etc. We don’t know if there is an auction that would utilize a quilt of that size or if somehow we could do a fundraiser. Again I don’t know whether or not an auction would bring a price close to the appraisal or not. That is kind of an up in the air thing, we haven’t decided. I for one think it would be a shame if we each took our pieces back and took it apart. That would be unfortunate, but again I’m one of four, whatever the other three decide I will go along with. I would like to see it put someplace or used where it would continue its message.

KM: Did your mom quilt?

DMcL: Mom has always sewn. She would make clothes for the three of us. Timi is nine years younger than the youngest of the older three, so whenever the first three were little girls Mom would have us all dressed alike. There would be three dresses in different sizes or three identical outfits. When we were about nine, ten years old, we started to do our own ironing during the summer and also learned make our own shorts and halters, our work clothes for out in the garden. We would usually make them out of either feed sacks from our grandmother or from our mom. So we have all sewn since we were very young, with the exception of Timi. Because of the age difference, she came along at a time when Mom wasn’t sewing or doing only a little of it. Mom was more into crafts rather than sewing so Timi never started sewing until she was grown, I guess, and in fact did not quilt until a long while after the three of us were quilting. A number of years ago, probably early nineties, mid-nineties I organized a trip. We lived in Chicago, at the time. My husband and I came to Phoenix from Chicago where we lived for fourteen years. I worked at O’Hare with United Airlines until I retired after 32 years of service. Anyway, I organized a trip with my mom and my sister Sandy, who is now in Florida, to spend some time with me in Chicago then drive down to Paducah, Kentucky, to the quilt show, all three of us. Well, Mom was with Timi at that time and Timi said she would like to go with us just to keep us company. So the three of us, the three daughters and our mom went to the quilt show. Timi was walking around and looking at all the quilts saying, 'You are nuts, you all are nuts. Cut up all these little pieces of fabric and put them back together, you are all nuts.' [laughs.] They go back home and a couple of weeks later Timi says to our mother, 'Do you want to take a quilt class with me?' So they went out and got some fabric and started with the quilt class. Timi would take mom with her and they would be fabric shopping, and as Timi would be going through these fabric shops or quilt shops she would be saying, 'Darn that Dona. Darn Dona.' Actually she wasn’t that nice. [laughs.] Pretty soon Timi had her own stash and she has been quilting ever since and does it very well. Timi started out traditional as we all do; but, Timi has always been a little bit left of center as it were, our free spirit, and now does art quilts, very nice ones. Kind of off the wall ones, but I’m very proud of her because Timi really does a great job. She has had a number of quilts in various exhibits, galleries and so forth. Timi is doing well with it. I started quilting probably late eighties, that’s not true, probably early eighties, late seventies. I discovered that instead of needing two, three or four yards of something as in sewing, I could get by with a half of yard of everything so it just kind of fit in. I started out making very simple quilts and then got into the more pieces the better which has evolved into doing more of the art type quilts mainly due to Timi’s influence. What I particularly like is to take a photo and translate it into fabric as a landscape quilt. That just seems to fit my personality well. It doesn’t matter if your points don’t match, you can even do a raw edge. It is just, it is just less complicated all the way around and I enjoy that. I have had a couple of quilts in various shows. One here in Chandler, Arizona at an art gallery in an exhibit called "TIMELINE," a juried art quilt show. I was pleased to be able to have a piece there. I’ve had quilts in our local Arizona quilting guild shows and have taken some awards there. One year Sandy, another sister, decided that we should do a round robin. The four of us each made a center square, then passed it on to the next one in chronological order. They added a border, sent it to the next one and so forth until eventually the center block came back to the original owner as a completed top. About a year or so after we had finished these four projects, the Northeast Quilt Festival theme was family. Again Timi rounded up all our round robin quilts and entered all four in the festival. (Do you see a pattern here?) One of our quilts took a second in the theme category and another took a third. It was a lot of fun and very enjoyable. It was good to see the collaborative work of the four of us working together win awards. It has been fun. I enjoy putting things in shows because of the judges'critiques. It is amazing how much you learn from those. I also have a collection of antique quilts. I have become very immersed in all aspects of quilting.

KM: How many hours a week do you quilt?

DMcL: I used to do it about eight to ten hours a day, about four or five days a week, but since I have been in Arizona and since I’ve retired I fight for time to do it. [laughs.] Our recreation centers are the hubs of our retirement community. That is where all the clubs and the groups meet and everything runs from. We have seven rec centers in our community. We had one quilt group, but it was, it was a very traditional one and although it was fun and the camaraderie was great, there was dissatisfaction in that we were doing the same things over and over again. A group of us got together and I was chosen to spear-head the organization of another quilt group, which was chartered in, let’s see, it must have been about 2002, we are about six years old now. It started out with a group of people that wanted to get together to meet in our homes and just kind of explore different ideas and avenues of quilting and try different things. Everybody was excited when they heard about this group that was starting. They would say, well I want to come too. Pretty soon we had a group of twenty-two people, which fit in no one’s house! So we had a meeting to see if there was enough interest that we could sponsor a group for a separate charter. We were expecting about twenty-two, there were thirty-two that showed up and we now have a membership of over one hundred and sixteen, one hundred and twenty, somewhere in there. We have had two and are now planning our third quilt show. We have a show every other year. In the first quilt show we had one hundred and seventy-five quilts. The second quilt show we had two hundred and forty-four quilts, I think. The first show we had an attendance of five hundred two years ago our attendance was seven fifty. We are hoping this time to hit one thousand attendees. With the number of quilts we’ll have, that will make us, I believe, the third largest quilt show in the state of Arizona. The show will be February 6 and 7, 2009 and I am the chairman.

KM: Very cool.

DMcL: Yea, the show is a lot of fun. We have been able to have national teachers come in and give a lecture and class. We also have a quilt appraiser that comes in. This time Sharon Schamber will be our featured guest. She is from the area, local. Sharon and her mom are both out in this direction so we are excited about that. The last quilt show we had Janet Jones Worley as our guest, she also has a quilt in the Alzheimer’s exhibit. Janet was great fun. There were four of us who went with her to the Grand Canyon. Janet said that if you got as far as Arizona you couldn’t go home without seeing the Grand Canyon, so we all took a trip up there.

KM: What do you find most pleasing about quiltmaking?

DMcL: What do I find most pleasing about quiltmaking? I think the challenge, the creativity, I like the idea that you give something to someone and whether it is your grandson who says this is way cool, or your granddaughter who just loves being the princess, why it just makes you feel good. It is also nice to know that perhaps in some small way you are leaving a piece of you behind, it may not be there three hundred years from now, but two or three generations is nice. That and I’ve always found sewing and working with my hands to be very relaxing and very de-stressing. You just feel all the tension and stress moving out. I like the challenge of it. I also like to do wearables, where you take something that is plain and create whatever you want. I like the fact there aren’t any rules, after all it is your piece. [laughs.]

KM: What kind of wearables do you make?

DMcL: I do jackets, vests, shirts, whatever. Right now I’m working on a coat that is wool felted and it is made with color blocking using old sweaters that I’ve felted. I want to do the trim around the border, the collar and cuffs in felted flowers and vines to have it look as if it is appliquéd. Appliqué is not something that I do. I have taken a couple of appliqué classes and its like hand quilting, I can do it, I just prefer not to. What I learned was it wasn’t something I wanted to do. [laughs.] I want to get the coat done for Road to California, 2009. Actually, next January we will be at Road to California with our opportunity quilt for our quilt show. At least those are the plans, what we have been told so far. That is something we are looking forward to.

KM: Are you involved in the quilt?

DMcL: In the Opportunity Quilt, no, because they did the quilt last summer and I was gone.

KM: When you were in New York?

DMcL: Yes. This last summer was the first full summer we spent there.

KM: Do you quilt when you are in New York?

DMcL: Yes. [laughs.] When don’t I? [laughs.]

KM: Just checking.

DMcL: I take a piece with me when I travel, like on the plane, there is always something stuck in my bag. I quilt in New York. The problem I have is trying to figure out whether to make the projects there and finish them here, or make them here and finish them there. [laughs.] I’ve discovered that whatever I seem to need is in the other place. [laughs.] I understand from my friends who go home to other places during the summer this is a common problem. In the mountains we are an hour from the nearest JoAnn’s and there are few quilt shops. They are very far and few between. I have gotten much better at doing online shopping.

KM: Do you have a studio in both places?

DMcL: I have a sewing room here, and if I concentrated on it, the space I use in the mountains is above the double garage, it would make a really great studio. It would qualify as a studio. You look out on the water and it is beautiful. I am waiting to get back. We split our time six months and six months.

KM: Do you transport your sewing machine when you go?

DMcL: I lug my favorite one back and forth. I also have two sergers. I’ve got one up there for the sewing. I take my sewing machine with me. I have an old Singer. In fact it is one of the first electrified Singers, the one with the wooden case. It has the hump back and that is in the mountains. It’s often what I use for piecing because it has such a great balanced stitch for piecing. I’m set up well. There is enough space that I could put a quilting machine in there.

KM: Are you interested in getting a quilting machine, a longarm?

DMcL: Only to fill up that space. [laughs.] Timi has one, so whenever I go up to visit, I watch her work on it. I think that is a little more involved than I am ready for. What I’m thinking of is the mid arm. That is probably a little more practical and I won’t have to re-mortgage the house.

KM: Exactly. What do you think makes a great quilt?

DMcL: For me what makes a great quilt is when you first see it, it just really, the visual impact makes it stand right out. That is number one. The second is the more you look at it the more there is to see. You wonder how did they do that, or why didn’t I think of that. It just draws you in and keeps talking to you. I’m trying to think of, I know that you have seen this quilt because it has been published in a number of magazines I think it must have been at Houston. I was fortunate a group of us went to Houston three times. Two years in a row, we skipped a year, and then we went back. The quilt was a snowy winter landscape of a meandering stream through snow covered trees. All done with thread painting over the entire surface. It was a huge bed size quilt and it just captivated you. The more you looked at it the more there was to see, the colors just seemed to be moving, it was just an amazing quilt. That is really what started my interest in landscapes. That quilt looked just like a photograph. I think that is what really makes a quilt. I also like a quilt that makes you laugh. It could be just a funny whimsical type of thing that just makes you feel good looking at it. When you read the story you understand perhaps what the artist was trying to say with the quilt. What they were hoping to accomplish. The humor brings a smile to you. [laughs.]

KM: What advice would you offer someone starting out?

DMcL: Not to be afraid, just do it. Don’t worry about all the rules and regulations. I think it is important to learn the accepted way of doing things. To learn to cut things that are to be straight, straight and match what is supposed to match. I think it is important to learn these things so you can get rid of the rules. That way you can evolve beyond them if that is what you want to do. We have a lot of 101 beginning classes with our quilt group. They are always very timid about starting. They ask how you do this and that. My advice: look, everybody started some place. We all started with a first quilt, I don’t care who it is or how many books they have or whatever they do. They all started with step one, that is all you have to do, just do it. The next one is simpler don’t be afraid of it. It will work.

KM: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

DML: I would say it was the old cronies who complain everything is machine stitched today. But, there are so many quilts using machine stitching, wonderful machine quilting being done today, I don’t think that is a valid objection anymore. I think as far as the challenge it is probably to just keep all of the new things coming and keep the involvement going. The idea of quilting as an art form, is pretty standard now, I think we have worked, they have worked through that. People were resistant to this suggestion at first, but I think it is very accepted now. One thing I find very interesting is the exposure quilting has brought to our younger people. Our quilt makers seem to be getting younger and younger, these young people, as a bi-product of quilting, are developing an interest in sewing. Sewing seems to be growing right along with quilting, just hand and glove. I think that is great. It gives everybody more facets, it rounds them out.

KM: You talked about making art quilts, do you think of yourself more as an artist or a quiltmaker, or do you even make the distinction?

DMcL: I don’t think I make the distinction sometimes I start out making one and end up with the other. I’m now working on a landscape I first saw as a photograph someone had taken. I asked if I could use the photograph for a wall hanging and they gave it to me. It is a picture of an Adirondack chair sitting on a little piece of a green grass spot, a little point. In this chair there is a hat, an open book and on the arm a coffee cup with steam rising. When you look past the chair you are looking across the water and into the trees on the other side reflecting in the water. I started the quilt, had all the background done and I actually got the chair done, put it up on the design wall and decided I didn’t like it. There wasn’t enough contrast between the white and the gray of the chair. I took the chair off, took it all apart and it is still waiting to be put back together. That is an art piece, yet at the same time I have a couple of bed quilts that I’m working on as well. So it is, it just kind of goes with the mood. I usually have a number of projects going at one time. People tease me about that. [laughs.] I used to read two or three books at the same time, so what is the difference? [laughs.]

KM: It is kind of nice to be able to go from one to one.

DMcL: It is. It gives you a break when one starts to become work you can switch to the other. Particularly if it is something like the one that I’m working on that is paper piecing, you just have to keep the colors in the same sequence. It gives your mind a chance to worry about something else, another problem on another quilt and work it out.

KM: What are your favorite techniques and materials?

DMcL: I really like the fusing, particularly with Esterita Austin’s Mistyfuse. Timi and I took a class with her a few years ago in New England. We used the product in the classroom. Esterita at that time was trying to get it out on the market. It is now available, I have been using it because I like the way it finishes, the hand of it after you are done. It is so flexible. It’s not like the board finish of fusibles that were available four or five years ago. I like paper piecing, which is really strange. When Timi first introduced me to it, I thought it was the most bazaar technique. Inevitably mine always came out mirror image I found that very frustrating. But, I decided that as long as they were all mirror image, it really didn’t make a difference which way the cat’s head was looking. [laughs.] I have learned to accept that. I like the precision that paper piecing creates when you are doing work that requires precision. I like the looks and the techniques for the Mariner’s Compass folded paper piecing and also Karen Stone’s New York Beauty, those types of quilts. I like those techniques. Now what really fascinates me is the painting, the stamping and the inking being done with oil paint sticks. I’ve got the materials, I’ve got a couple of books, but I haven’t yet gotten up the nerve to try it. I have been watching. Timi does it and says it is easy. You just do it. I should follow my own advice. [laughs.]

KM: I would like before we end to kind of go back to the Alzheimer’s Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit. Are there any quilts in the exhibit that you are particularly attracted to?

DMcL: I think my favorite was the martini glass with the red or the heart. When I first saw it I thought it was a martini glass but I think it is a red heart. It is done with all of the beading.

KM: Yes it is a heart. Liz Kettle’s quilt.

DMcL: When I looked at it, when I saw it in person I looked at it closely and studied it, I realized there are designs within the beads as well. There are little circles and stars and bursts I found very fascinating. I also think the one with the ballerina was very, very good. At both shows where I saw the exhibit, the ballerina garnered a lot of comments from the audience.

KM: I think Liz’s quilt is so much better in person.

DMcL: You mean the beaded one?

KM: Yes.

DMcL: Yes, I agree.

KM: So much better in person than the picture or on the CD you know the book with the CD. I think all of them are better in person, but in particular.

DMcL: I know it also makes a difference on how they are displayed. At the Road to California, the spokesperson I talked with while doing white glove was a little upset because the space they had been allocated wasn’t what they had been told they would have. I do know the exhibit as hung was crowded. Some of the stories were overlapping other quilts and other stories. Yet, in Vermont it was spread out, each quilt had its own space and it did show better.

KM: I white gloved two times and had similar experiences.

DMcL: I’m sure every show it goes to is different. How they hang it, the space allocated is probably very different from site to site. You were talking about funny things, in Nashville, no, I’m sorry in Paducah, I have a friend from our quilting group who had a quilt accepted into Paducah. She and her friend went to Paducah and I told her, she is one of seven girls, I said to her as she was leaving, 'Well if you see me there say hello. It will be my sister.' [laughs.] As things would happen, she was at the Alzheimer’s exhibit looking at the quilts. As I had told her we had a quilt in the exhibit she was looking for one that had my name on it. Two other women standing there were talking about the same quilt. My friends were talking about the quilt saying, 'Well, you know that is Dona’s quilt,'she said [that.] it was here. The two girls turn around and say to her, 'Excuse me, do you know Dona?'They were, of course, my sisters. [laughs.] So my sisters had run into my friends at Paducah.

KM: At the quilt show.

DMcL: At that exhibit, our quilt. Out all of those people it was kind of funny they managed to be at the same place, same time.

KM: It is a small world.

DMcL: It really is, especially among quilters.

KM: You know there are, what, twenty-seven million of us, is that what they are saying now?

DMcL: I know I had. [coughs.]. When we were organizing our group I had done some research to support our need for two quilt groups. It just amazed me. One of the statistics stated quilting was over a 2.5 billion dollar industry at that time. I’m sure it has gone way over by now.

KM: don’t remember, it is big though.

DMcL: It is huge.

KM: Which is nice.

DMcL: Yes it is very nice, and [coughs.] you know, with Alzheimer’s the number of people that it affects is huge. I mean as victims, it is just mind boggling. But when you consider all of the surrounding people and families that it affects, that too is mind boggling. What I really find alarming is the other side of Alzheimer’s. The number of early onset victims that are becoming more and more. People need to be made aware of, because there aren’t programs to help and assist them as there are for older people. They have their private insurance which often has a million dollar cap. That doesn’t take long when you have a family of four or five that you have been insuring for a while and you come down with a catastrophic illness like this. They go through their private insurance; they go through their retirement. One family I heard of had two sons in high school and one in college. They are trying to educate three kids and the mother comes down with Alzheimer’s. Had to give up her career and stay home. The father was trying to cover her, take care of her, take care of the income etc.,etc. What do they do once the savings and the pension plans are used up, the 401Ks are used up? What do they do?

KM: I have a girlfriend whose husband had Alzheimer’s at fifty. She had a fifteen year old son at home. She lost her house. She had to go to court. She had to go to court to get help.

DMcL: It is not only an old person’s disease anymore and that is what is really frightening. When you talk to people, they aren’t aware of that aspect, that fact hasn’t made a big impact. My husband is in pharmaceuticals, has been for years, he gets a pharmacist newsletter. I often read the articles. He will highlight those he knows I will be interested in. An article appeared in one of the publications regarding research being done with blood products and Alzheimer’s. In the article they referred to early onset Alzheimer’s and how the numbers were swelling. It was very interesting. I think Alzheimer’s is one of the ugliest diseases we see. Not necessarily only because there is no cure, but because it takes our dignity away. Or as our dad says about Mom, 'You live all of your life and then you lose your memories. What a dirty trick.' You can’t even sit and enjoy the memories of your life, and that is just very heartbreaking. It’s a very heartbreaking disease and it is scary. It is scary from the aspect of the family member suffering from it, but it is thought there is a genetic link. That is scary when you look around at four of you and think, 'okay, which one of us will it be or will it be all four.' It is frightening.

KM: Hopefully with the money we are raising.

DMcL: I’m sure. I’m hoping. [laughs.] I know from the research there are a couple of promising areas. I think there is a Japanese firm that is working on a vaccine. At least, they now understand how Alzheimer’s works. There is research being done with the blood product called IVIG, the part of your blood that carries antibodies. It has been found injections of IVIG reverses the accumulation of amaloyd plaque and cognitivity increases. Take the IVIG away and the dementia comes right back. There may be some light on the horizon, but I don’t think it is going to happen soon enough.

KM: Probably not. Believe it or not our time is up.

DMcL: [laughs.] I’m sure it is.

KM: You did very well. I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me, and it is concluded at 8:58.


Citation

“Dona McCready-Lewis,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2549.