The inspiration for this quilt comes from my hometown, LeRoy, NY, the birthplace of Jell-O, which celebrates its bicentennial in 2012.
According to the book, “Images of America: LeRoy,” by local historian Lynne J. Belluscio, Jell-O was introduced by Pearle B. Waite in 1897. It was named by his wife, May, and they trademarked the name.
The first four flavors were lemon, strawberry, orange and raspberry. Two years later, Waite, a carpenter by trade, sold the rights to Jell-O to Orator Woodward, for $450. It was Woodward who perfected Jell-O, launched an advertising campaign, including the Jell-O girl, and sold it via horse drawn wagon to rural communities in Western New York. By 1906, a year after Woodward’s death, Jello-O was earning $1 million a year.
In 1964, the LeRoy Jell-O factory was closed and moved to Dover, Delaware. Now, a Jell-O Museum sits proudly on East Main Street. And, as the village prepares to celebrate 150 years, it is a key factor in the fun.
A part of the celebration includes a ‘barn quilt’ trail. Local organizers have invited residents to make their own barn quilts (painted quilt squares on a board or barn) and be part of the tour. The Jell-O Museum’s quilt square is aptly called Jell-O Jiggler. It’s bright and colorful and looks like triangles of fun Jell-O colors.
The Jell-O Museum’s barn quilt was the inspiration for this quilt. For many people, their hometowns are places they can’t wait to leave. I was no different. It’s only now, that I live more than 450 miles away, that I realize what a true gem it is.
LeRoy is a town small enough where you can walk to the Post Office, school, local restaurants and yes, even to the Jell-O Museum. It’s small enough that most people know you, or your parents. And it’s a town with a history – not only with its founding, its Jell-O ties, but my own.
My mother grew up in LeRoy. My grandfather father was a police officer and owned a hardware store there. My grandmother worked for the village. My great grandfather was mayor. My parents still live there. The streets are full of people who I either went to school with, or whose children I went to school with. The cemetery markers remind me where we come from. It’s personal and special.
So, to celebrate, let's do a give-a-way! Leave me a comment about your hometown, famous or not, what do you love about it? I'll pick a winner on Friday, April 13 (seems like a good day for a good-luck give-a-way, eh?)