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My Father, Silk Ties, And A Quilt

Updated on February 23, 2016

The silk ties were a special thing between my father and me; at l;east it felt that way. I gave him hundreds of silk ties over the years. I am a Daddy's girl, make no mistake. My Dad and I had a special relationship. It was always easy between us. My Dad is gone now. Alzheimer's disease took him last year at the age of 86. Mentally, he had been gone for a while but our relationship remained steadfast. Even without the ability to form sentences, he could communicate his love with just a look. Alzheimer's has a way of taking people you love but leaving you with a sense of relief. As much as I miss my Dad, I would never wish him back if he had to bring Alzheimer's with him. Yes, I lost my precious Dad but I have all those beautiful silk ties and,m I have a plan.

My Dad is an extraordinary man. He was honest, hard-working, kind, charitable, and thrifty. I don't ever remember him backing away from a challenge. He was good with his hands. He could fix the plumbing, wire the new addition on the house, fix the cars, and grow a mean garden. Dad gave 110% to everything he did. In my eyes, he was a near perfect Dad.

Tradition


It isn't clear when the tradition of giving him silk ties began but it was a natural choice of gifts. Dad was a salesman and loved a new tie. He grew up in the day when a salesman wouldn't think of not wearing one. The tradition probably started when I was 10 or 11 and could save my allowance to buy them. I couldn't afford much. As time went on, I was proud that I could afford to give him really nice ones. He knew it too and would always check that little tab inside to see if it was real silk. But now, it "our" tradition. He would be disappointed in me if he didn't get a new tie for every birthday, Christmas, or Father's Day.

His closet was full of them. Dad was one of those people who took care of his things and never threw anything away. When he died, he still had every tie I had ever given him. You can do the math but suffice it to say that my father got at least seven or eight ties every year since he was about 33 years old. That's 53 years and I'm only counting the ties that I've given him. He had a lot of ties.

My father kept his ties on revolving racks in his closet and I loved to run my hands along their soft silkiness when I was helping him choose one to wear. My precious father loved for me to pick his ties and it became a ritual between us. It was more emotional than anything but it was that special something that was just between us. It was love between a father and a daughter.

My father took his ties seriously. He would never allow his tie to slip over the edge of a gravy bowl like some men. Oh no, my father' silk ties were his treasures and before he developed Alzheimer's disease he can tell you who gave him the tie he is wearing and on what occasion. His ties defined him in business I think. Colleagues frequently complimented him on his ties and remarked about the variety he had. I think some were jealous.

Hanging on those revolving racks, my father's ties were a kaleidoscope of patterns, colors, and widths. There were fat ties, skinny ties, stripes and argyle ties. There were solids and paisleys, purples and reds, pinks and greens, teals and yellows. And, more.


Precious Memories

My fondest memory of Dad's ties is when I was thirteen and decided to make him a tie by hand. Mom took me to the fabric store where I purchased a tie pattern made by Simplicity. I chose the fabric and the interfacing and couldn't wait to begin. A few days later I was pressing that tie and wrapping it up. I was so, so proud of it and couldn't wait for him to open my handmade gift. Dad opened that gift with such care and when he saw the tie, he made me think it was the most beautiful tie in the world. Can you imagine my pride?

I had sewn that tie with such care: every stitch near perfect and the pattern carefully laid out so all the lines in the pattern were perfectly aligned. It is only now that I can admit it is the ugliest tie in the closet. What on earth made me think my Dad would like a tie of red and white checks that looked like a tablecloth you would use on the 4th of July? Oh God, how precious was my Dad? He put that tie on the next day and wore it to work as if he had paid a premium for that tie. That one old ugly cotton tie still hangs among the hundreds of beautiful silk ties in the closet and stands out like a sore thumb.

My Inheritance

Once my father was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, we began talking about end of life issues. It was important to us that my father's lat wishes be clear to us. I knew I would go along with anything our family decided as long as no one tried to claim ownership of my father's silk ties. I made it clear that his ties were mine. I could not imagine never being able to run my hands along the length of those precious silk ties after my father was gone. I had a plan for those silk ties. They were my inheritance and I knew just what to do with them.

The Quilt

Before the Alzheimer's ravaged my father's brain, I shared my plan for those silk ties with him. I explained that through those ties and my memories, he would always be with me. I think it made him happy when I explained that on those days when missing him seemed unbearable, I would wrap that quilt made of those silk ties around me. My hands would glide gently over the soft silkiness and I would feel his love. Somehow I think he knows that on the worst of days, when I need him the most, I will wrap myself in that quilt and feel his arms around me once again. He will make it all better, like he always did. I think he will chuckle when he discovers that the centerpiece of that quilt will be that ugly old red and white tie. He would expect that from me.

My father silk ties, and a quilt

There were other things that belonged to my father that are now mine. I cherish them for all the memories they hold but none are more valuable to me than those silk ties that will soon become a quilt. Thanks Dad, for giving me the gift of choosing your ties and for all the memories contained in the fabric of each and every one. Rest easy knowing that when I need you most, I will feel your loving arms wrap around me as they did so many time at every age. Your love lives on in the memories and, in a quilt; my silk tie quilt.

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© 2012 Linda Crist

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  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    I got to get this to Mrs. B. (Not her real name). She will love this! I will eat your share of the pie. Thank you. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Pie? What pie Mhatter99. lol Enjoy!

  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

    What a sweet story. I am sure a tie quilt will be a beautiful remembrance, although I think you could probably start now with the older ties that he doesn't wear any more. My father didn't wear ties much, but I did manage to buy several bags of ties from the thrift store, but I haven't made any quilts out of them yet. Love that last photo. That's a tie quilt I would love to make!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks Millionaire. So you're a quilter? Good for you. It's a fine craft and one that I would love to have. I had to chuckle at your suggestion that I start with the older ties now. My Dad wouldn't hear of one of his ties leaving that closet while there is still breath in his body. They are his cherished memories. I agree about the last photo. It's gorgeous, isn't it?

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    Your last picture is the Abracababy Necktie Christmas tree Skirt. A tie quilt or a tree skirt would sure be a great tribute to your father. I enjoyed reading your hub and voted uP!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi moonlake. Thanks so much for the info on the tree skirt. When I was collecting images, my computer crashed and I couldn't remember where I found it so that I could link back. I've made the appropriate links now (to your hub and the original image). Without you providing the name, it would have been lost forever. You are awesome!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    Your welcome I also added you to my hub.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Wow moonlake! Thank you very much.

  • Sharkye11 profile image

    Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

    Beautiful hub! I think you are perfectly justified in wanting to keep the ties and make them into something as special as a quilt. The tie quilts are so amazing. With that many ties, you could probably make more than one quilt...or at least a bed-size quilt and a wall quilt. What a terrific way to have a visual link to all of your precious memories! Voting and sharing!

    If you don't mind, I would like to link this hub to the one I am writing about my grandmother's quilts. It too, is about preserving memories.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sgarkye11, hello! Thank you for sharing this one with me. I have planned for this quilt for a long, long, time. So many memories, and good ones too. I would be proud to have you link to it and will look forward to reading your hub about your grandmother's quilts.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    This was absolutely beautiful. I too am a Daddy's girl and have the greatest Dad in the world. I made him a tie quilt when he retired, which he has hanging in his room This was a wonderful wonderful hub. Up, across the board and shared. Loved this and brought a tear to my eye.

  • StephanieBCrosby profile image

    Stephanie Bradberry 4 years ago from New Jersey

    What a beautiful story, tradition and means for keeping memories alive. After reading this I was really tempted to take some scissors to some of my husband's ties. But I think he might use some of them again. Maybe I will go to a thrift store and get some instead. This is an awesome idea.

  • Stephanie Henkel profile image

    Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

    This is a beautiful, and touching tribute to your father! How lovely that you shared a special tradition of giving and receiving silk ties. The idea of making a lovely quilt from them sounds wonderful! Voted up and shared!

  • bankscottage profile image

    bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

    What a wonderful bond you had with your father. The tie quilt will be a great memorial and tribute.

    My son's fiancé makes purses out of old ties. She doesn't make them for any special purpose or to even sell. She just makes them because they make neat purses. You could carry a tie purse with you everyday and remember your father (just like he remembered you when he wore them).

  • faythef profile image

    Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

    What a wonderful/beautiful story of you and your dad......I have always wanted to make a tie quilt , but have never been able to enough ties...voted up and across.......I even voted funny because I love the story about your red check tie...

  • OldRoses profile image

    Caren White 4 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

    Your father is an incredible man and father. You are so fortunate to have him. I love, love, love the idea of using his ties to make a quilt. To be able to wrap yourself in his love after he is gone is such a precious gift. Great hub!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Glimmer Twin Fan! I am so happy that you liked this hub , I bet your Dad loves the quilt you made for him too. Few things are more personal than a quilt made by someone who loves yyou.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    lol StephanieBCrosby, scissors in your husband's tie collection is probably not a great idea. But I am so glad that you enjoyed this hub and are interested in making your own quilt.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Stephanie Henkel. I am touched that you enjoyed this tribute so much that you would share it. Thanks so much.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Bankscottage. I love the idea of the purse and would love to see a sample. A hub maybe? lol Thanks so much for sharing my tribute and for the suggestion too.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    faythef, I'll take your vote of funny with gratitude. lol Thanks for the vote and for sharing this tribute to my wonderful Dad.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi OldRoses. You are so sweet. I love that you "got it" as I do plan to wrap myself in this quilt in those lonely days that are inevitable. My Dad has been the best father a girl could have and I am so proud to share this story about him. Thank you for appreciating the emotion of this tribute.

  • Valerie T profile image

    Valerie Tapia 4 years ago from Nashua, NH

    So sweet! I love the idea of a Tie Quilt, what a perfect way to always remember. Each Tie has a story behind it and I think its Grand! So many ties = so many memories. Very touching

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello ValerieT. I'm so glad you stopped by and enjoyed this. You are so right about the memories and one day I will wrap myself up in them and cherish each and every one.

  • Frangipanni profile image

    Frangipanni 4 years ago

    What a lovely idea to remember loved one's by. Thanks for sharing.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Frangipanni, thank you for the visit. I'm glad you liked my idea.

  • papiyajana profile image

    Papiya Rana (Jana) 4 years ago from Navi Mumbai

    Beautiful and nice idea.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you papiyaina. I appreciate your visit.

  • joanveronica profile image

    Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

    Hi there, what a beautiful Hub! I enjoyed reading this very much, so congratulations! Voted up, also ABI, and will share! This really brought back memories, both my parents are dead and I have no other family at all! So thanks for sharing yours with me! Have a good day!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Joanveronica - I am more than happy to share my family with you. We have plenty of love to go around. Thank you so much for the visit, the votes, and most of all, for the lovely comment.

  • LaThing profile image

    LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

    Awww, what an awesome hub, and so touching! And the idea of making a quilt out of those ties is so adorable! And you have a beautiful relationship with your dad, Linda! Voting up and ++ all across!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you so much LaThing! I'm a lucky girl and you know I'm going to love that quilt! Thanks so much for appreciating the emotion of this one.

  • farmloft profile image

    farmloft 4 years ago from Michigan

    A great hub on many levels! Are you going to put that first tie in the center of your quilt?

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello farmloft! Thank you so much for your the compliment and for the wonderful suggestion. I have thought about this quilt for so many years but never thought about making the first tie a centerpiece. I love the idea. I still struggle between wanting a very precise pattern to the quilt or whether I want it more casual, random design. There are probably enough ties to do both a quilt and a wall hanging so perhaps...one of each. :-)

  • Anna Evanswood profile image

    Anna Evanswood 4 years ago from Malaysia

    Such a good idea... A well written and touching hub :) thanks

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you Anna. I appreciate the visit.

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