American story behind Nazi Germany quilt in Grand Rivers

It’s the second day of the AQS QuiltWeek. The vendors, the awards, the craftsmanship behind the quilts, it’s all drawing tens of thousands of people to downtown Paducah.

There are some amazing stories behind these quilts. Some quilts represent history. But historical quilts with stories behind them are not only in Paducah. There’s a quilt in Grand Rivers that grabs your attention, then keeps it with its story.

Quilts are celebrated for their handiwork and creativity. Tucked away in the corner of the Grand Rivers Quilt Show is one not admired for its stitches, but that does take you by surprise. It includes the Nazi flag. 

And then, you read its story. Joyce Tidwell’s husband, Boyd, fought in World War II. He captured a flag and sent it home to his mother, who stitched it into the quilt. She says her mother in law lived between the rivers, and there wasn’t much news. Tidwell says material was a valued commodity during the war
and, out of necessity, her mother in law stitched a piece of history.

"She wasn’t all that great a quilter," she says, "She tied her knots on top."

The family only took the quilt out on rare occasions. The rest of the time it’s been stored in a trunk at home. But Joyce says she never thought the quilt would leave her home.

But when Grand Rivers Mayor Tom Moodie learned about the story, he said there was no way they could keep this story locked away.

"It represents what our soldiers do," Moodie says, "It tells a story about families and war."

As to how much the quilt is worth, Tidwell told me she doesn’t know and it doesn’t matter. She told me it’s been in her family, and she’d like that piece of history to stay in her family.

The quilt show in Grand Rivers will be open Friday and Saturday.

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