published Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Woman hopes to reunite quilt with owner

By Amanda Simmons/The Gadsen Times
  • photo
    Donna Skaggs found this quilt in her back yard after the April 27 tornado outbreak. Other items she found led her to believe the quilt may be from the Tuscaloosa area, and she's hoping to restore it to its owner. AP Photo/The Gadsden Times, Marc Golden

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—The day after the April 27 tornadoes ravaged Alabama and the South, Gadsden resident Donna Skaggs and her two grandchildren searched through debris that was left by the storms in her backyard. There, among the shattered lumber and pieces of trash, Skaggs found a handmade, full-size quilt that she believes to be from Tuscaloosa.

Finding debris from Tuscaloosa was not uncommon for most Gadsden residents after the tornado outbreak. Skaggs said she found an old AmSouth Bank receipt from Tuscaloosa; a grocery list with Tuscaloosa written on the back of it; a pathology report with a name and address from Tuscaloosa; and a birthday invitation with an address from Tuscaloosa.

All of this led Skaggs to believe the quilt is also from Tuscaloosa. She said she hopes to find the owner.

Skaggs said she found the quilt in a puddle of water in the pasture behind her home, which is three miles north of downtown Gadsden. The quilt was so heavy from dirt and water that she had to have her son-in-law help her retrieve it. After deciding not to throw the quilt away, Skaggs washed it twice with Tide and Clorox.

“It came out beautifully, so clean and soft. I couldn’t believe it!” Skaggs said.

She said she approached neighbors, asking if they had lost a quilt in the storm, but none of them claimed it. Skaggs then decided to post a picture of the quilt on numerous Facebook pages, thinking someone would want it back.

Stunned to find someone else’s quilt in the mud in her backyard after the deadly storms, Skaggs said she and her family immediately wondered about the family it must have belonged to and prayed for them.

“It would be a joy to deliver this handmade quilt to its owner,” Skaggs said. “To find out if they are safe, if they lost family members, if they lost it all.”

The quilt has white backing with 10 applique blue and yellow cats, each about 15 inches tall, she said. It has pink paw prints in each corner, with yellow and pale-blue patchwork trim.

She said it’s “so soft” that it has to be handmade.

She believes the quilt didn’t sustain any damage from the tornado, but it has two small holes that appear to be old damage.

The quilt is folded up on her hearth, waiting for someone to claim it, she said.

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