|"William Lloyd Volckening" 2011, by Nyima Lhamo|
At the time, she said she was sending a package to me with a quilt she made to include as part of the festivities of the Small Wonders exhibit at Latimer. She wasn't sure when the package would arrive, or if it would ever arrive. I'd pretty much written it off and come to the conclusion that the package had been intercepted during its long journey from India to the United States.
Yesterday was a rainy afternoon in Portland. I was on my way out to the grocery store, mind preoccupied with the ingredient list for cornflake crusted, baked chicken tenders, when I thought to check the mail. There was a small package in the mailbox, and for a split second I tried to remember what I'd ordered online that would be inside the package. A quilt book, perhaps? I pulled it out of the mailbox, and as soon as I saw all the stamps covering the back of the package and the handwriting on the front, I realized it was the long lost package from Nyima.
I hurried inside, scrambled to open the package as carefully as I could in all my excitement, and found her letter with several other small, wonderful things. There was a precious red envelope tied with gold thread and decorated with gold designs and tiny beads. I opened it and found her letter. The first page was a checklist with the contents of the package, dated January 23, 2011. It said, "Namaste, William Lloyd. Whenever these arrive will be a good day." (She was right). First item on the list was "3 Smaller Wonders Quilts" and I thought, "What's this?"
Before looking at the contents of the package I continued reading, and the first line of the second page said, "Yours I made first, although at first I didn't know it would be yours." I put down the letter, grabbed the plastic bag, which had three very small quilts. The one on top was about 8" x 10" and was quilted with the word "Small Wonders". So I flipped it over, read the label, and that's when the most unexpected thing happened. I began to weep.
The inscription said, "'William Lloyd Volckening' A Tribute Quilt by Andrea Balosky, 2011, Mungpoo, Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India." I was absolutely blown away. How extraordinary! You could've knocked me over with a feather, and I had to continue wiping my eyes to read the rest of the letter. There were several other wonderful things in the package, but I'll save those for another day. Even though I have more than 100 quilts collected over 22 years, nobody had ever made a quilt for me before. I'm not afraid to admit it brought tears to my eyes.