I brought this framed baby blanket along this weekend when I went to Saskatoon to meet my new granddaughter. The blanket belongs to her now. The blanket was made by Marie Gerbrandt Jantz my great-grandmother shown here around 1894 in Hillsboro Kansas with her husband Peter and their eight children. My granddaughter’s middle name is Marie so she shares a name with her great, great, great-grandmother. Marie and her family immigrated to Drake Saskatchewan in 1906 when this photo was taken. My grandmother Annie is standing closest to her mother. It wasn’t many years later that Marie’s husband Peter died. My grandmother Annie married Peter Schmidt and in 1925 they had a daughter Dorothy Marie who was my mother. The night my mother was born her grandmother Marie came to stay at her daughter Annie’s home. She brought along a beautiful blanket she had stitched for the new baby. My mother was given the second name Marie after her grandmother. Marie spent the rest of her life living with her daughter Annie. She died when my mother, her granddaughter was sixteen. Because she lived with my mother’s family for so many years Marie played an important role in my mother’s life.
My mother grew up, became a teacher and married Paul Peters. I was born in 1953 and my grandmother Annie passed on the baby blanket her mother Marie had made for my mother Dorothy Marie so my mother could use it for me.I grew up, became a teacher and married David Driedger. In 1979 when my son was born my mother had the blanket framed and gave it to me at a family baby shower. I hung the framed blanket in our nursery. I have kept it all these years wondering what I should do with it, but when my son and his wife decided to give their daughter the second name Marie, I knew that the blanket should go to her because it was my granddaughter’s great, great, great grandmother Marie who had made the blanket for her own granddaughter Dorothy Marie.
I probably won’t be around to know what happens to the blanket in subsequent generations. My hope is that even if the blanket itself doesn’t get passed on the love and sense of shared history it represents will be a reality for many generations of our family to come.