Recently I had the joy of receiving this email from one of my readers, Joyce in Maryland.  The story of Aunt Verdie is so lovely that I asked Joyce if I could share it with you.  My fondest wish for everyone reading this is that you have or have had an Aunt Verdie in your life.

Dear Ms. Richards

I’m an avid reader of inspirational novels and after reading each one have a new appreciation for something or someone in my life. 

To be honest up until this time I had not read any of your books but now I can’t seem to put them down. I can tell by your video on your website and from your books you are very spiritual and have unending love for your family. Because of this, I thought you might enjoy how I came to learn about you as an author and your novels. 

Recently, I stumbled, quite accidently, on your novel, Wedding Ring. About two years ago, my great aunt, Verda, passed away at the loving age of 106. As you can imagine she had seen a lot in her life time and kept journals of her life experiences. She was a loving mother to one daughter, Etta Jane, and son-in-law, Gale. Etta Jane and Gale never had children.  Although Aunt Verda  never had any grandchildren of her own, she had hundreds of children who thought of her as a grandmother. 

Aunt Verdie, as many of us called her, was one of the most inspiring people in my life. She was all of 85-90 pounds, extremely talented, and had more love to share than anyone I have ever met. Her talents went far beyond making quilts, reading, and collecting dolls but these were her passion. She never met a stranger and always had a kind word, hug, and sweet smile for everyone. 

After the passing of Aunt Verdie’s husband and children, she came to live with my mother. Her house was sold to a neighbor and many of her items came to be stored at my mother’s home. This past fall, my brother and I started going through some of Aunt Verdie’s possessions at the request of our mother. We found trunks and totes full of material she used for quilting. As we continued to go through her possessions we found quilt pattern pieces stuffed in old envelopes, tins, and behind picture frames. The pattern pieces were made out of cardboard, plastic, or any other viable material she could use. In one of her trunks, were several books she obviously had read at some point. One of them was a copy of your novel, Wedding Ring in your Shenandoah Album Series. Our mother had told us prior to sorting through the items if we saw something we wanted to take it as she knew we would cherish it. The book looked very appealing so I picked up the book and put it with a pile of other books I had collected. Later that day the books went home with me. In the few days that followed, I picked up the Wedding Ring book and began reading. I literally could not put the book down. Helen, the character in your book, reminded me so much of Aunt Verdie, that I thought I was reliving the past. Although, Aunt Verdie’s personality was a bit different than Helen’s, however, the love and passion for quilting were not. She was quick to share her finished labors of love with others. 

Many of Aunt Verdie’s quilts now cover the beds of family and friends or adorn the walls in their homes including mine. Each time I look at them, it reminds me of the old saying, “A family is quilted and bound with love and grace.” 

 Many thanks to Joyce for sharing Aunt Verdie’s wonderful heritage with all of us.

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