“She hated that feedsack dress with a purple hatred,” said my grandmother explaining my mom’s embarrassment as a young girl for having to wear such a garment to school.

    “She did not want to wear that to school but I made her wear it anyhow.”

    Grandma’s use of the term “Purple hatred” seemed hilarious because both my grandmother and mother became Pentecostal preachers in the Ozarks a little further south and west in Adair County, Oklahoma.    

    So I asked, “Mom, I didn’t know you ever hated anything with a purple hatred?”

    And I laughed and laughed before my memory took me back to Grandma’s story.

    Grandma went on to relate how other girls began wearing similar feedsack dresses to school and my mom had company, which helped her come to terms with wearing clothing crafted out of necessity with available material.

    I, like the majority of my generation, never saw those feedsacks made out of cloth so the concept of creating anything that could be worn to school made out of the feedsacks we were accustomed to handling was foreign.

    The only thing we knew that could be dressed from our feedsacks would have to be a paper doll or maybe a disenchanted football fan, whose team has yet to win a game over several seasons bringing back memories of New Orleans Saints fans sitting in the Superdome with sacks over their heads.

    One may discover local history of the use of feedsacks in making quilts during Bonniebrook’s Festival of the Painted Leaves to be held today, Saturday, Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Bonniebrook is a museum, gallery and home of artist Rose O’Neill (1874-1944) operated by the Bonniebrook Historical Society located at 485 Rose O’Neill Road in Walnut Shade.

    Among her list of accomplishments, O’Neill supported the suffrage movement in an effort to gain women the right to vote. She illustrated posters, postcards and flyers that were distributed across the nation. That is something both Grandma and my mom could appreciate.

    The festival is free and features a variety of ongoing events throughout the day. Among the presenters, Annette Fitzgerald will give a talk in conjunction with the Ozarks Heritage Quilts exhibit. Attendees may view handcrafted quilts including a 1940s “Wedding Ring” quilt made from the aforementioned feedsacks.

    As I finally quit laughing over Grandma’s emphatic delivery of the “Purple hatred,” noun, one thing I know my mom absolutely detests came to mind. I can still hear her clearly stating in no uncertain terms after receiving a prayer request, “I hate the devil and all his works.”

    Each family has their own unique perspective and in American society enjoys a great freedom to express that.

    When a story contains valuable moments, especially those involving multiple generations the history should be written down. From art and poetry to spinning yarns, storytelling takes many forms at Bonniebrook for those attending the festival.

    At 11:15 a.m. published author Karen Nelson presents  “Spinning Yarns: How the Threads of Storytelling  Become the Fabric of Life,” as she demonstrates the actual art of spinning wool into yarn.

    At 1 p.m. Angel Wolf, great-granddaughter of Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey, narrates a slide presentation with readings of Mahnkey’s original poetry by Ingrid Albers.

    At 2 p.m. Steve Otto’s “Tales of the Ozarks,” relates how people of the Ozarks entertained themselves and one another through stories retold again and again.

    Additional speakers include: Susan Scott; Jean Cantwell, founder of Bonniebrook Historical Society; keynote speaker, Leon Combs, at 10:15 a.m.; and Lisa Pluth.

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