I love a parade and there is no finer one than the Waynedale Memorial Day parade. When I was in junior high my older sister Karen played her flute in the parade as a member of the Elmhurst Marching Band. Now forty-four years later thousands of people still line the streets to show their gratitude to the men and women who served their country and come to the Prairie Grove Cemetery to hear the roll call of the veterans who passed away since the previous Memorial Day and to hear the 21 gun salute and taps echo across the cemetery. Last year's torrential downpour may have shortened the parade and service but not their spirit. The cheers and clapping from people huddled on their porches was most appreciated by those of us who marched it.
Fourth District Councilman Mitch Harper who represents the Waynedale area will walk the parade wearing an American Legion poppy. Mitch grew up in New Haven two blocks from American Legion Post 330. His father Homer was a U.S. Navy veteran of WW II and his mother Erna was a lifelong active member of the auxiliary. Mitch vividly remembers standing between the doors in the air conditioning at the new Lincoln Bank branch, New Haven in the mid-'60s with his sister Lisa not selling, but offering the poppies to customers for a donation to the Auxiliary to support disabled and injured veterans.
The poppy flower is also special to Barbara Allen of South Venice, Florida who made a contemporary poppy wall hanging. Barbara started quilting in the early 1980s. She first learned to sew from her grandmother when she was young and applied her skills to making clothes. Barbara always loved to create things with fabric so learning how to quilt is a natural extension of her desire to create beautiful things. She is awestruck when she sees this poppy fabric and knew it needed to be made into a quilt. Barbara's father was in the U.S. Navy where he was stationed in Okinawa and thankfully survived to come home. Barbara's uncle also serves in the Navy and survives the Korean War; two of her cousins survive the Vietnam War. Barbara says, "It is fitting and right to give tribute to those who did not survive." Her captivating machine quilted poppy quilt with its beautiful shades of red and orange is a constant reminder to her of those who died and her gratitude for the men and women who survived.
Lois Levihn Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts Restoration Studio and Quilt Gallery located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. Visit the website at www.bornagainquilts.com.