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Michael A. Cummings

Visual artist Michael A. Cummings was born on November 28, 1945 in Los Angeles, California to Arthur Cummings and Dorothy Dent. Cummings graduated from John C. Fremont Senior High School in Los Angeles in 1963. While Cummings attended Los Angeles City College for business administration from 1963 to 1966, and Woodbury College for design from 1968 to 1969, he earned his B.A. degree in art history from SUNY-Empire State College in 1979. Before graduating, Cummings enrolled in the New School for Social Research in 1973, completing the Workshop in African Arts and Crafts program at The American Museum of Natural History in 1976.

Cummings began his career in 1972 as a technical director for the New York Department of Cultural Affairs. In his spare time, he worked as a collage artist and painter. He discovered his passion for quilting after creating a cloth banner for an exhibition in 1973. He taught himself to quilt by studying the works of local quilters and how-to quilt books. In 1974, Cummings became the purchasing manager assistant for The American Museum of Natural History. He served as an arts administration assistant for The Children’s Art Carnival in 1976; and that same year, held his first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum of Harlem. Cummings was the artist-in-residence for the New York Foundation for the Arts from 1977 to 1979, and joined the New York State Council on the Arts as an arts program analyst in 1980, working in contract administration. Cummings’ solo exhibitions showed at the Francine Seders Gallery (1992), the Akron Art Museum (1993), Bates College (1998), Nobis Gallery (2007), the International Quilt Festival in Japan (2011), and the Artquilt Gallery (2014).

Cummings quilt work, which adheres to the narrative, story-telling tradition, has been commissioned by the American Embassy Art program, the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Home Box Office (HBO), The White House, and the House of Seagram, among others. His work was also included in the public collections at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Art and Design, the California African American Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in the private collections of stars like George C. Wolfe, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alonzo and Tracy Mourning.

Cummings received the 2001 Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award, the 2001 Excellence in Design Award from the City of New York City Art Commission, and the 2001 Children’s Book of Distinction award from the Riverbank Review. He was interviewed for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art in 2012, and by the ART CART: SAVING THE LEGACY project at The Research Center for Arts and Culture, an affiliate of The Actor’s Fund, in 2013.

Michael A. Cummings was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/09/2016

Last Name

Cummings

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Arthur

Occupation
Schools

Hooper Avenue Elementary School

Samuel Gompers Middle School

John C. Fremont High School

Los Angeles City College

Art Students League of New York

State University of New York at Albany

Thomas Jefferson High School

99th Street Elementary School

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

CUM01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

International Travel

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/28/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruits, Vegetables

Short Description

Visual artist Michael A. Cummings (1945 - ) served as an arts program analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts, starting in 1980. His quilt work is in collections at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Art and Design, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, among others.

Employment

Children's Art Carnival

NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs

NYS Council on the Arts

NYS Concil on the Arts

Malcolm-King Community College

New York Foundation for the Arts

Cultural Council Foundation/CETA Artists Project

The Children's Art Carnival

The American Museum of Natural History

Department of Cultural Affairs of Parks

The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, produced by Miriam Colon

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:997,30:4385,165:4847,172:5540,185:6387,207:20564,395:21250,403:22328,419:23504,443:23994,449:34644,642:36177,673:42017,783:50018,910:50738,925:56426,1069:56930,1081:74440,1400:75268,1416:76165,1434:79132,1478:79891,1486:80305,1496:87378,1630:88784,1663:89672,1678:89968,1683:90708,1694:91892,1717:96258,1835:105453,1965:106190,1981:107865,2018:108870,2035:109875,2057:110143,2062:110411,2079:112153,2105:124765,2331:125090,2337:125675,2358:126065,2365:127625,2400:129055,2435:130875,2474:131265,2481:134125,2556:134710,2571:135100,2578:135685,2589:148281,2769:149464,2785:152649,2843:153013,2848:154833,2887:156107,2904:161363,2962:163778,3019:165089,3064:170180,3110$0,0:540,6:920,11:1585,20:1965,25:2535,33:4150,52:4815,62:8520,140:8900,145:9755,157:10325,164:10990,173:15311,185:16163,198:16518,207:18080,246:18435,253:23831,367:24257,375:30874,443:31558,453:31938,459:32318,467:38854,591:43300,612:44820,632:45140,637:45700,646:46100,652:47460,684:47860,690:50580,701:52344,724:53630,730:54038,737:54582,748:55126,757:55806,770:56690,790:57098,798:70503,1090:81514,1289:93148,1475:93543,1483:93859,1488:94412,1496:96861,1555:100100,1612:100890,1638:101285,1644:109800,1749:110790,1757
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael A. Cummings' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael A. Cummings lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael A. Cummings describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael A. Cummings talks about the jazz scene in South Central Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his community in South Central Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael A. Cummings describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael A. Cummings describes the sights and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael A. Cummings remembers buying a motorcycle as his first vehicle

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his mother's marriages

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Michael A. Cummings recalls the drug culture in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his childhood illnesses

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael A. Cummings remembers developing an interest in art

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his relatives' career advice

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his early artwork

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his social life in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael A. Cummings describes his experiences of integration in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael A. Cummings reflects upon his experiences of peer pressure

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael A. Cummings remembers the Watts riots in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael A. Cummings remembers the black arts community in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael A. Cummings recalls his decision to move to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael A. Cummings remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his apartments in the Meatpacking District of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael A. Cummings describes the Meatpacking District of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his jobs in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael A. Cummings remembers working at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael A. Cummings recalls his start as a fabric artist

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael A. Cummings remembers the influence of Romare Bearden

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael A. Cummings recalls learning to sew

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his first quilt series 'Springtime in Memphis'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael A. Cummings remembers researching African American history and culture

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael A. Cummings recalls moving to the Harlem neighborhood of New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael A. Cummings remembers purchasing a brownstone in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael A. Cummings describes the tenants of his brownstone building

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael A. Cummings remembers exhibiting his work at the Cinque Gallery

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael A. Cummings talks about the spaces for black artists in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael A. Cummings remembers Sister Gertrude Morgan

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Michael A. Cummings remembers his paternal grandmother's religious faith

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael A. Cummings talks about the interest in black folk art during the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael A. Cummings describes his transition from collage to quilting

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael A. Cummings reflects upon his early artistic influences

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael A. Cummings describes his quilting process

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael A. Cummings talks about the 'African Jazz' quilt series

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael A. Cummings remembers joining the Women of Color Quilters Network

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael A. Cummings describes the history of quilting in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael A. Cummings talks about the value of quilt artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael A. Cummings remembers showing his artwork at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael A. Cummings talks about his decision to represent his own artwork

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

8$9

DATitle
Michael A. Cummings recalls learning to sew
Michael A. Cummings remembers showing his artwork at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery in Seattle, Washington
Transcript
(Simultaneous) So that banner that I made for the department of cultural affairs [New York City Department of Cultural Affairs] for that little event that we had, I walked around for a week or two trying to find out how I was going to sew it 'cause I didn't know how to sew. I didn't know how to do a sewing machine. So I--somebody said go to a tailor. So I went to a tailor, and he wanted a hundred dollars. And I said, "No way. This is scrap material. It's not worth a hundred dollars." So then I knew a woman name Sara Penn. She had a, a, a shop in SoHo [New York, New York]. She was the first black woman to have a shop in SoHo, called the Knobkerry. And she made clothes, and she had fabric and jewelry from Tibet and China. It was just really a collage of different things. And so I knew her, so I went to her and I showed her. And she said, "Oh, Michael [HistoryMaker Michael A. Cummings], this is really exciting." She said, "I could show you how to operate the machine. You use the bobbin, and you do the needle; you put the thread here and all that." And that was overwhelming to me. I said (laughter) it was like learning a com- computer in five minutes. I, I, I said, "Oh, no, I can't do that." So then everybody said, "Well, Michael--," and I didn't want to glue. I was anti-glue. So I said, "Okay, I'm just gonna do a up and down stitch," you know. So I, I did it that way, and I finished it. And then I wanted to learn more. So I knew the museum, museum of arts and craft museum [American Craft Museum; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York], it had a, a research library, so I went there. And I knew the director, because he had been associated with the event and all that, and he was a friendly guy. Paul Smith [Paul J. Smith] was his name. And he said, "Well, Michael, you know, we have the, the library here. You could come and look at the books." So I learned embroidery stitches. I taught myself how to do that. And then after so many months of working with fabric, and I, I made a piece that was like four feet by six feet, all hand sewn, with buttons and beads and stuff like that. I said, "Well, if I'm gonna continue with this I have to get a sewing machine." 'Cause I said, "This is too slow a process." So, in the meantime, before getting a sewing machine, I was going back to him with the little pieces, like little samplers I was making, and showing him and he was critiquing them (laughter).$$So he was really helping you to--$$Right.$$--perfect your skills.$$Yeah, a little bit. And then I got the sewing machine at Macy's [R.H. Macy and Co.; Macy's, Inc.] in about '74 [1974], '75 [1975]. And it's in this room right now. I never changed. And--$$That same sewing machine?$$The sewing machine produced all my work. And the woman that sold it to me, she said, "Well, come back if you have any problem." I went back about twice because I didn't know how to work the bobbin and the, the tension in the bobbin and the stuff like that. So after that got settled I never went back.$$And you never took a sewing class?$$No, no (laughter).$And I have only had that type of representation one time, and that was with the Jacob Lawrence Gallery out in Seattle [Washington]. And at that time, I had really tried to cultivate a relationship with the director at the time. And for a whole year I wrote to her. I said, "Oh, my art is colorful. It's like Jacob Lawrence. It could make a good sort of pairing, please, please, please." So finally she accepted me into her gallery. And that is a place where I showed the 'African Jazz' series. And she flew me out to Seattle, because she said, "Well, what's part of the agreement: I give you a show, and then I promote your work with the other clients that I have." So for a whole year I was with her I had to sign about twelve pages of a contract about what I could do and not do with my artwork. And I had to let her know and give her a percentage and all this other stuff.$$What year was this?$$Well, it had to be after--it had to be maybe '93 [1993], '94 [1994]. It was just one year. And so when I flew out there, she said, "Well, you're coming to Seattle. What would you like to do?" And I said, "I'd like to meet Jacob Lawrence," so she said, "Okay." So she had him and his wife [Gwendolyn Knight] come to the opening. And I shook hands and said hello. They walked around and saw what I did, and he gave me a few compliments, and they were out the door. But still, I had the honor and the, and that historical moment of meeting him.$$Of course.$$But after a year nothing happened, so I told her, I said, "Well, you know, it's not working out. You're way over here. I'm way over in New York [New York]. And I'm doing more to promote and try to get sales than you are, so I don't think it's worth it." 'Cause she wanted 50 percent.

Serena Strother Wilson

African American griot, master-quilter, educator and entrepreneur Serena Strother Wilson was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, in March 18, 1934. Wilson grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Williamson, West Virginia. Wilson attended West Virginia State College from 1952 to 1955 and earned her B.S. degree in elementary education from Bluefield State College in 1968. She went on to earn her M.A. degree in psychology and guidance in 1973. Wilson taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Columbus, Ohio, and in Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany. Wilson also tutored special education students in Oklahoma, Virginia, and in Germany. She retired from the Columbus Board of Education as a consultant and teacher supervisor with the Department of Special Education in 2000.

As a child, Wilson learned the basics of quilting, a family specialty. She also learned about the “code” hidden in the patterns of the quilt blocks that had been handed down to five generations of her family from Wilson’s great grandmother, Eliza Farrrow, to her grandmother, Nora Bell McDaniel, to her mother, Mary Eva McDaniel and her aunts Ozella and Katherine, and then to her. She passed the knowledge on to her daughters Teresa Wilson Kemp and Maria Denese Wilson and to her grandchildren. After mastering the art of quilting, she made these works of fiber art available to people in South Carolina, Ohio and communities across the country. Wilson and her daughter, Teresa Kemp, founded and run the McDaniel Secret Quilt Code Museum Exhibit, a program designed to increase public awareness of quilting and its place in African American history. The history of the family’s quilting traditions is the subject of Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, a book by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Dr. Raymond G. Dobard.

Serena Strother Wilson is married to Colonel Howard Wilson, a retired army veteran. The couple resides in Columbus, Ohio.

Serena Strother Wilson passed away on February 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2005.066

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/16/2005

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Middle Name

Strother

Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Serena

Birth City, State, Country

Edgefield

HM ID

WIL24

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Africa

Favorite Quote

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

3/18/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meat, Fish, Vegetables, Fruits

Death Date

2/9/2012

Short Description

Quilter and elementary school teacher Serena Strother Wilson (1934 - 2012 ) is an African American griot and has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Columbus, Ohio, and in Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany. Wilson and her daughter founded and run the McDaniel Secret Quilt Code Museum Exhibit, a program designed to increase public awareness of quilting and its place in African American history.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1872,43:3042,60:8730,129:9050,134:9610,143:9930,148:14253,195:15083,211:15581,218:18458,237:19716,259:21418,295:22158,310:22972,325:23490,339:24378,366:25340,385:25784,392:27042,423:30224,504:30964,516:31556,529:35247,541:36213,559:36558,565:36834,570:39318,622:39594,627:40422,643:40905,651:41250,658:41595,664:42009,671:43113,686:43803,700:44148,706:44562,714:45114,723:49730,750:50430,761:50990,771:53850,802:54205,808:54560,814:56709,844:57074,850:57512,858:58388,872:59410,891:60140,904:60432,909:60943,918:63420,929:64068,940:65445,961:65769,966:67013,975$0,0:138,3:1242,50:2415,66:3036,78:3519,86:4071,96:5658,129:6279,137:6762,147:7038,152:7521,161:10212,213:10833,223:11178,229:14726,241:15086,247:17822,301:18686,315:18974,320:19334,326:19694,332:20198,343:20630,350:21062,359:21494,368:21926,376:22718,388:23222,397:23582,402:23942,408:27372,427:29500,459:31172,477:31552,483:32540,502:33224,515:35124,544:35808,554:36568,567:40340,579:42110,585:43402,605:43782,611:45454,638:46214,651:47354,667:47658,672:49862,697:50470,709:51078,719:53510,764:57640,772:58760,790:59080,795:61240,832:61720,839:62040,844:66440,914:67000,923:67400,929:68040,940:68520,947:69080,956:69560,963:75076,1007:75604,1018:75868,1023:76132,1032:76462,1038:76792,1044:77452,1059:77848,1066:78112,1071:78574,1085:79366,1104:79630,1109:79960,1115:80488,1124:81148,1137:85308,1158:86122,1170:86936,1184:87380,1191:88120,1207:90062,1217:92288,1244:93560,1263:96676,1280:97152,1289:98852,1323:99192,1329:99464,1334:99940,1343:100552,1353:101028,1362:105810,1406:107696,1427:107988,1432:108353,1438:108864,1447:109521,1459:110397,1476:110762,1482:112441,1509:112952,1518:113682,1529:120040,1559:120509,1568:121112,1578:121715,1590:122050,1596:123859,1640:124261,1648:124864,1660:127946,1725:128281,1731:129956,1763:133841,1781:134409,1791:134764,1797:135048,1802:135758,1816:136042,1821:136468,1828:136752,1833:137533,1846:138243,1859:138527,1864:139024,1873:139663,1883:140160,1892:141296,1908:141935,1919:147452,1952:153890,2064:154325,2070:155891,2089:160419,2097:161637,2114:164508,2157:164943,2163:168423,2228:175110,2287:175530,2294:178658,2347:179141,2357:179417,2362:179900,2371:181556,2402:183350,2430:183971,2440:184454,2449:184730,2454:185213,2463:185696,2472:186317,2486:187076,2502:187490,2509:188249,2522:193020,2552:193450,2558:193794,2563:194310,2573:195170,2586:197397,2601:205270,2715:205725,2724:206050,2739:206375,2745:206765,2752:207740,2777:208065,2783:210818,2802:212224,2828:214516,2849:215060,2859:215332,2864:215740,2872:217100,2903:217372,2908:217780,2916:218392,2928:222760,2980:223530,2992:223880,2998:225140,3008:226050,3023:226330,3028:227240,3045:227590,3051:227870,3056:228640,3068:229970,3094:231300,3118:231580,3123:232070,3132:232770,3143:233050,3148:233330,3153:233820,3163:236970,3232:237250,3237:237600,3243:238090,3252:246412,3291:246088,3297
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Serena Wilson interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Serena Wilson shows a Nigerian sankofa bird carving and explains its meaning

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Serena Wilson's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Serena Wilson describes her mother's background and ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Serena Wilson describes her father, a white man who married across the color line and supported black rights

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Serena Wilson discusses Reconstruction in Edgefield County, South Carolina and her interracial ancestry

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Serena Wilson talks about her father's lessons and the importance of children having pride

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Serena Wilson discusses Strom Thurmond's interracial relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Serena Wilson shares memories of childhood in a biracial family in Edgefield, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Serena Williams recalls her maternal grandparents and farm life

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Serena Wilson remembers her grandmother's quilts and superstitions

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Serena Wilson discusses her siblings and cousins

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Serena Wilson recalls helping her grandmother with textile crafts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Serena Wilson describes her childhood environs, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Serena Wilson recalls her family's quilting and other customs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Serena Wilson gives an overview of her school life

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Serena Wilson talks about her children and their families

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Serena Wilson discusses gender roles throughout her family's history

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Serena Wilson recalls trying to avoid taking French in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Serena Wilson recalls her courtship and marriage at West Virginia State

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Serena Wilson remembers visiting family who moved to Ohio for work

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Serena Wilson recalls moving to Columbus when her husband went to Vietnam

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Serena Wilson details her first teaching work in Columbus, Ohio, 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Serena Wilson recalls trips to Paris while her husband was stationed in Germany

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Serena Wilson describes her renewed interest in quilting

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Serena Wilson discusses her quilt shops and making quilts for family

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Serena Wilson recalls her family's superstitions and psychic powers

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Serena Wilson discusses African symbols in quilt patterns, the "quilt code" and the popularity of black culture

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Serena Wilson shares final reflections

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Serena Wilson considers her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Serena Wilson discusses the recording of African American history

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Serena Wilson shows a Nigerian sankofa bird carving and explains its meaning
Serena Wilson recalls her family's quilting and other customs
Transcript
Before we go any further would you like to explain the, the meaning of the carving that you're holding?$$Yes. This is a carving from Nigeria, West Africa. It's called a sankofa bird. I was in Nigeria and the family that we were there visiting had a lot of children, in fact twelve was in the family. And I said to one of them, "What a silly thing. Look at that bird with its head turned backwards." And they said "Oh this is not a silly bird. This is the sankofa bird [from Akan mythology]. It's saying look back at your history and learn all you can about your family and then you'll know who you are and you can move forward." So I decided that I would always keep a sankofa bird handy, I would tell my children about it, school children, university students, anyone that I met or talked to would learn about the sankofa bird. So I think it's so important for people to know who they are and then they can appreciate what their ancestors did to get them thus far.$My grandmother [Nora Bell Farrow McDaniel] in the evening or even when it was raining would not work out in the garden or in the field. This is a time when the women could get together to quilt or in the winter. Neighbors would come. They could bring a covered dish, pie or a cake or pot of stew or something and they would share that while making quilts. This was when my grandmother would go over Bible verses. We had to know our Bible verse for Sunday school. Also she would have us repeat our numbers, the alphabet and spelling of the different names in the family. We would sometimes be on the front porch but generally in the house in the evenings unless they would burn old rags in a bucket or a barrel to keep the mosquitoes away. Then you could be outside doing whatever on your porch or under the tree. But if you didn't have that say mosquito repellent I'll call the burning of the stinky rags, then you would have to be inside with the screen door to keep the mosquitoes away. But that would be a time when the women could quilt. In the winter when they couldn't work in the fields they could exchange patterns and visit and quilt. My grandmother taught us the secret messages in the quilts on such an occasion as in the evenings or in the winter when they would be quilting. She had a frame in her house that would be suspended from the ceiling. It was -- there were hooks in the ceiling and the rope that would pull the frame up at night. The, the frame would not be down where we would be walking or talking, eating or whatever. Maybe it would say take two or three weeks, two or three months you know however long it took her to finish it. I would say at least a month or more. But she maybe would have two or three quilts going, some on her lap. Maybe she would have some in a box that hadn't been finished and then the one that would be suspended from the ceiling. So we always had something to do on the farm. It might be shelling peas, it might be peeling fruit to put in a large pot to boil it, parboil it and can it. She would also do sausage in jars to preserve that as well as hang it in cloth bags in the smoke house with the hams and sides of bacon which would really be pork, the pork meat. They usually killed hogs say in the fall maybe around Thanksgiving when it was the coolest period and then this is a time when you would be needing quilts in the evening. So if some needed repairing that's a time that you would do that. But in teaching us the secret messages she told us, "Don't tell anyone. Never talk about the secret quilt code." And so even in the 70s [1970s], 80s [1980s] 90s [1990s] and now sometimes my friend will say, "Serena we didn't know you could do that." or "You never talked about quilting." or "You never mentioned it." and they'll say Howard, to my husband, "Can Serena really do that kind of work?" And of course they you know will be able to see that I do quilt a little bit.$$Okay, well that's an interesting point because I understand now from what you told me about your grandmother that you learned to quilt early on. But did that stay with you throughout your teen years and college and your career as an educator or did you come back to it at some later point in time?$$Well I did not quilt in my teen years.