April 20, 1998

Opinion

'Ugly' stolen from reader board

  Ugly Quilts have become a great and generous tradition. There is no way of knowing how many thousands of Ugly Quilts sleeping bags have been given to the homeless because there are so many different groups making and giving them.Let me tell you about it.
  
   In 1979 a lady and her 14 year old son, who was suffering from Hodgkins Lymphoma, were befriended by a homeless man, in the rain, in a big eastern city. This man saw a lady in need and gave freely of his help. This lady kept remembering a very short statement the homeless man had made when he had done all he could for her. He simply said, "Don't abandon me."
  
   Two years later she and her son, who miraculously showed signs of recovery, were on their way to the city for a follow-up test when they saw a man sleeping under a bridge. He was wrapped in a bright pink crocheted blanket someone had given him so that he wouldn't freeze to death. This again triggered her memory of the helpful homeless man and his statement "don't abandon me" and she realized what he meant.
  
   The lady's name is Flo Wheatley and she resides in Pennsylvania. She asked her friends and neighbors for old jeans and other fabrics. From these old and ugly materials layered together, quilts were made and given to the homeless. She called what she was making "Ugly Quilts." This was 1985. "Grass roots and economical" are the terms she uses to describe the way groups have started in most states - by word of mouth and by example.
  
   Now the Sammamish Valley Grange #286, with help from the Kiwanis of Woodinville, have started making "Ugly Quilts" to be distributed to the homeless in our area. Now comes the bad part. Someone has taken it upon him or herself to change the name from "Ugly Quilts" to I don't know what, because they have stolen the word "ugly" from our sign. This person is now a thief pure and simple. Maybe the person does not like the word "ugly" and wants to change it, but starting from the position of a thief is not the way to do it. If this person wishes to talk about this, return the reader board letters and call me. I will meet you at any public place. Oh, we will also drop theft charges.
   Gino Giovacchini, Overseer, Sammamish Valley Grange