(Nathaniel Grann/For The Washington Post)

Maria West
60, Bethesda, emergency room nurse

I am a quilter, and so was my Great-Aunt Georgia. I treasure two quilts she made, each one sized for the crib of a baby.

The pattern of one quilt is pink stars; the other, a somber palette of blues and browns in a complex pattern of squares and pinwheels.

My Great-Aunt Georgia died before I was old enough to be trusted with needles and fabric shears. Her craftsmanship — from the tiny stitches to the self-effacing signature block (“Made 1852 Clara St Clair’s mother”) — is reason enough to be grateful.

However, these quilts are special simply because they exist. My mother rescued them from the fate of Georgia’s other quilts: My father, innocent of any appreciation for family heirlooms, used them as dropcloths during a house painting project. My mother never cries, but she says she almost cried.

My quilts probably belong on display at the Smithsonian, but, for now, they are in my safekeeping, stored away in a dark and dry place. I unfold them occasionally, to admire the woman who made them and the woman who saved them.

Tell us about what you treasure and why: E-mail 250 words or fewer to WP Magazine. Please use “MINE” in the subject line, and include age, city and job.

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