The Quilts of Dust Bowl Betty was presented at Durant’s Three Valley Museum Friday afternoon.
Just before that presentation, Bryan County Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor Billy Olenick, Maintnenance Assistant Robert Welborn and County Commissioner Ron Boyer worked to remove the quilt from the Bryan County Courthouse wall.
It was Native American, but it wasn’t a tribe from our area.
It’s thought to have been presented to Judge Hatch years ago.
The quilt was removed and presented to the Three Valley Museum to be preserved into perpetuity.
This on the same day Dust Bowl Betty tells her story at the museum.
A full house was on hand as Betty Garrett, from Boise City, Oklahoma used her skill quilting as therapy to deal with the grief associated with the death of her husband John Garrett.
Boise City seems like the furthest west you can get in Oklahoma. It’s the tip of the panhandle and was near ground zero in the dust bowl days of the 1930s. Anyone who survived that time in life is rich with character and strength.
Her “Johnny” was such a huge part of her life that his absence left a void.
Quilting she said, has helped fill that void.
A rite of passage prior to the industrial age is a girl learning to quilt with her mother. All the things that went along with housekeeping have gone by the wayside as women entered the workforce in the last century.
Quilting is becoming a dying art because of computer technology.
Machines can make a quilt so much faster than the old fashioned way.
But still, a home made quilt has character versus a store bought quilt.
Many quilts are made with important, old used garments or rags that when sewed together, make a patchwork of life souvenir.
Nancy Ferris, Curator of the Three Valley Museum said, “Her unique style and intricate patterns are like none I have ever seen.”
It was a very unique show, as “Dust Bowl Betty” shared her personal experience of the dust bowl days in Oklahoma through words and the art of Quilting.
Her “tell it like it is style” was refreshing as the crowd giggled as she told stories from her past.
She told a story of how a man said she had a “flat bottom.”
She said being called “Dust Bowl Betty” is much better than “Flat Bottom Betty.”
Her depression after the death of her husband was a focal point of her talk. She said, “I was married 26 years, the last 8 years of John’s life, he was an invalid. When Johnny died, I was diagnosed with deep depression. It was physical. Something drastic had to be done. Old Doc Wheeler gave me some medication and said you need a complete change of scenery. You need everything new. I took a job that took me away from everything I knew.”
From there, Betty Garrett told her life story as it pertained to quilts and how they saved her, gave her a new goal and hobby.
Dust Bowl Betty is keeping the art of quilting alive with every story she tells and everyone she helps interest in the hobby.
On a cold night, there’s nothing that warms the should better than a heavy, hand made quilt made of familiar fabric, to keep you warm.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or firstname.lastname@example.org