When Phyllis Biffle was 4 years old, she was sent to live with her grandmother, Lula Horn, in rural Alabama. It was a difficult transition for her, a life completely different from the one she had known in Detroit. There was no electricity, no friends to play with, no indoor plumbing. However, her grandmother had one thing in abundance — love. Gradually Phyllis came to treasure the time spent with Lula, especially the time spent creating “soul quilts.” Each quilt Lula created contained pieces of fabric from the clothing of special people. She was often asked to make a quilt when somebody died, using scraps that their relatives remembered and associated with the deceased. As Lula quilted, she told Phyllis stories about the people who were represented in the quilt. She makes a special quilt for Phyllis, a quilt that contained not just fabric but precious memories of family members and friends.
Phyllis learned many things from her grandmother, and the most important lesson was to forgive. In Lula’s words:
“… Grandma never wants you to look at the bad in folks and go backward. I wants you to look at the good in them and go forward. If you just look at the bad, you gone find ‘xactly what you lookin’ for. Even the worst folks got a speck of good; you jus’ got to find it.”
The stories Lula told about her family included difficult times — slavery, forced separations, early deaths, and mistreatment of many kinds. Through it all, her Christian faith inspired her to hope for the best, and to love and serve her family and neighbors.
VERDICT: 4 STARS. An inspirational read.
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