Grandmother's Choice reminds us of Carrie Berry's mother Harriett Eliza Key (1830-1895), who was from McDonough, a small town southeast of Atlanta.
Known as Hattie, she married Maxwell Berry October 4, 1853 just as his family was settling in Atlanta. Eldest daughter Carrie was born in Atlanta in early August, 1854.
During 1864 the year of Carrie's diary and Atlanta's attack and occupation by Union armies Harriet Berry was raising five children under ten. As Atlanta was shelled and burned she was in the late stages of pregnancy, giving birth to her sixth child Maggie in December, 1864.
"This has ben a election day for Mayor and council men but the election was broken up. I had a little sister this morning at eight o'clock and Mama gave her to me. I think its very pretty. I had to cook breakfast and dinner and supper." December 7, 1864, Carrie Berry
Carrie as the eldest wrote often of doing housework, which is what ten-year-old girls often wrote about, but in summer, 1864 as her mother needed increasing assistance there was an added burden. The Union Army was bombarding Atlanta with explosive shells.
Diarist Cyrena Stone described the first shell she heard on July 21st, 1864:
"A horrid whizzing screaming thing came flying through the air."
The next day: "We have had to stay in the cellar all day the shells have ben falling so thick around the house. Two have fallen in the garden, but none of us were hurt...."
When I thought about the devastation and burning of Atlanta I thought of ashes and that made me think about my big stash of black and white fabrics. My small quilt group makes quilts to give to veterans at the V.A. Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. (in 2022 we gave 115 quilts!) The quilts we give are about 48" x 60" so twelve 15" blocks make a perfect veteran quilt. I've also been wanting to make an Eye Spy quilt for a veteran and these blocks have a nice little spot in the center for doing just that. Each month I use a different bright fabric in the center to represent hope for rebuilding after the war. The block this month has a cheeseburger in the center - what veteran doesn't want a cheeseburger? AND if you have a cheeseburger on a quilt then you know Elvis wants one too! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.