From Left: Sue Fristad, Carrie Roberts, and Patty Reid
Quilters know well, a blanket made with love warms the heart as well as the body. It offers a special comfort no ordinary blanket will provide.
Sisters, Patty Reid of Houston, Texas and Sue Fristad of Grand Forks, ND are hard at work creating pint sized blankets which will soon be on their way to Chimbote, Peru.
On March 8th, 2015 tragedy struck taking the life of Mary Jane Bair, sister to Patty and Sue. Doing one of the things she loved most, Mary Jane died skiing on Look Out Pass in Idaho, a slope she skied nearly every weekend.
A woman of many talents and passions, Mary Jane, teacher, artist, mother of two (Carrie and Charlie Roberts), gardener, and athlete, embraced all aspects of her life with her sunny disposition and willingness to do for others.
Mary Jane journeyed to Chimbote, Peru and was deeply touched by the extreme poverty she witnessed. The following excerpt from Mary Jane’s journal shows the affect her experience had on her.
“Great love shines from the children’s eyes as they help me with a few Spanish phrases and care for their younger siblings and cousins. But not all of those children can attend school. Many of the children live in rooms with dirt floors and little or no furniture. When I think of the mission, I see the kind, warm eyes of the children who face a life with so few advantages. I have put myself in their place and imagined being born and living in Chimbote. It is a frightening thought. What resources would I have to help myself? I do not have an answer.”
Traveling with a group from Holy Family Church of Grand Forks, ND Mary Jane participated in building houses, delivering beds, and visiting women in hard situations. It stuck with her and she was committed to supporting the mission. Once home, while sharing stories she stated, “I’m cancelling my land-line and sending that money to Chimbote.”
At the time of her death, Mary Jane was working on colorful quilts with her school kids as part of a Consumer and Family Science class she taught. Patty, an avid quilter herself, reflected on a conversation days earlier where Mary Jane advised, “I think you should make more quilts.” And so those words became the impetus for sisters Patty and Sue to make “blankets for babies” aiding the infants of Chimbote in Mary Jane’s memory.
The tiny blankets reflect the warmth and generosity Mary Jane shared with those around her. And as those babies snuggle into the blankets they are sure to feel the love of these sisters.