Of all the pieces for the Joy Collection, the name for this one came the easiest. The Jeanette Duster was initially woven only in a natural cream alpaca/wool blend as I tested my theory for how I wanted it to come together. As soon as I finished sewing it, I knew who it reminded me of.
Jeanette (Van Diest) Winder formerly Jeanette Rickey was my MIL's mother. Jeanette was born near the small Phillips County community of Prairie View, Kansas. Prairie View is a Dutch community and Jeanette's ancestors emigrated from Holland. In fact her Grandmother Boeve was just a child when she came with her parents to the Kansas Prairie. They were surrounded by wide open spaces and family from the old country. When Jeanette was still very young her mother passed away. Her mother's sister helped to care for the children and eventually married her sister's widower. Despite being cared for by family when her mother passed, Jeanette always felt alone.
In later years, when I knew her, Jeanette loved to take care of others that she thought needed help. She and her second husband, Norm, took cookies and gifts to neighbors and shared what they had with others. Jeanette's life experience has helped me understand how childhood trauma has always affected our communities and the similarities between her experiences and my children's experiences are not that different despite the years between them. The nurture of a birth mother is hard to replace and the trauma of losing her has a profound effect on a child's understanding of the world around them.
I'm honored to be one that loves and cares for children to whom I did not give birth. I've learned so much about grace and unconditional love. There is joy in Jeanette's story and that she lived to share in the lives of others for more than 90 years.