Special to the Register
Gainesville Daily Register
Gainesville High School graduates of 1952 and 1953 held their 60-year class reunion on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 at the Santa Fe Depot in Gainesville. Members of both classes, spouses, other GHS graduates, and friends gathered to celebrate the event.
Letha Moss Ansley and Boze Ansley chair a reunion committee supported by Barbara Shaw West, Wilda Amaroso Terry, Patricia Martin Smallwood and Lila Beth Flowers Davis. Masters of ceremony for the event were Tog Rogers and Steve Rogers.
A highlight of the evening was the raffle for a quilt designed and made especially for the occasion by Margaret Miller Schafer, Gainesville native and member of the 1953 class.
Signatures of class members from previous class reunions surround the center of the quilt, and embroidered leopard heads embellish each corner, Schafer said.
There’s also some local history stitched into the project, Schafer noted.
“The quilt features a large embroidered and appliquéd image of the old Newsome Dougherty Memorial High School — the building which served as the local high school from 1923 until 1959,” she said, adding the structure was donated to the Gainesville School System by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Dougherty, long-time Gainesville residents, as a memorial to their son Newsome.
The Gainesville Middle School on South Lindsay Street now sits where the building once stood, she said.
The quilt is more than a symbol for a GHS graduating class.
Schafer said the quilting project also helped her through a difficult time.
“Making the quilt was a journey for me,” Schafer said. “After the last reunion in 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Working on the quilt bolstered her strength as she battled her illness.
Schafer said in addition to her quilting, her husband, four adult children and ten grandchildren were her lifeline, helping her take on the challenge of a lifetime.
“We find out a lot about ourselves when faced with something like that,” she said.
Quilting has long been a creative outlet for Schafer.
She retired from a hectic corporate job in Plano and “for the first time in my life had time for one of my passions — quilting.”
She’d always planned to share her sewing expertise with others.
“We talked about it at my church,” Schafer said. “There were two women who said they wanted me to teach them to quilt. Time passed and finally, one of them said, ‘When are we going to start quilting?’”
Twenty women signed up for the first class and ten years later, the quilters at First Baptist Church of Plano are thriving.
“We have 32 ladies now,” Schaffer said. “Some have come and gone, of course. But we are still here, still going strong.”
The group share of a love for recording history with stitchwork but also make quilts to share with others including veterans’ groups and agencies which help abused or needy children.
They craft approximately 250 quilts each year.
Of the hundreds of quilts she’s created, Schaffer said the GHS reunion quilt is special.
“It contains the signatures of several class members who have passed away since our last reunion and it’s good to know they are remembered,” she said.