I recently returned from Jupiter Island, Florida, where my family celebrated the life of my beloved grandmother, my “Gran”–Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham, the classiest woman I have ever met, and Quilting Arts’ #1 fan.

Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham

Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham


The matriarch of my family, she was an amalgam of Jessica Tandy’s character in “Driving Miss Daisy” and this lady that many of us “Downton Abbey” fans have come to adore…

downton abbey violet dowager countess

The Dowager Countess of “Downton Abbey”


Although petite in stature, my grandmother was a huge influence in my life. She is the one who taught me to stay firm, to never settle, and to follow my heart…even if doing so meant ruffling some feathers. You see, when she was just 17, she eloped with my grandfather, a no-name from North Carolina. When her father, a prominent Virginia businessman who served in Congress and was also the former Governor of Virginia (and not someone to be crossed) firmly told them they couldn’t get married, my grandmother trusted her instinct and my grandparents were officially married on October 2, which just so happens to be my birthday. They were married for 49 years until my grandfather passed.

She also loved to go exploring, and when my grandfather died–ever wanting to instill strength and adventure in others–she said to me, “Pokey, I am going to take you to some of the places your grandfather was too afraid for me to go.” So off we went to safari in Kenya, to visit Srinigar and Agra in India, to sight see in Hong Kong, and to go gorilla tracking in the densely forested mountains of Rwanda at 14,000 feet above sea level. She was 68 years old at the time.

Below is a shot of my first trip with her when I was 11, the same trip where after being so excited watching the Lipizzaners in Vienna, I went back to the hotel and started jumping on the hotel bed. Instead of reprimanding me, she joined me.

If you are wondering if my grandmother spoiled me rotten, you are exactly right…


Ristorante Alfredo in Rome, 1982
Left to right: Me, Susie Chatham, Gran 


She also traveled high and low to attend every grandchild’s graduation, whether it be from elementary school, high school, or college…even if said graduation took place in Yankee territory. (I’m kidding…sort of.)

BC Graduation

Boston College, 1993
Left to right: Gayle, Crockett (Dad), Me, Kathy (Mom), and Gran


And when it was time to celebrate, celebrate, she did. Here we are attempting to dance at my wedding. I remember this moment so well…


My wedding in Boston. (Hey quilters…notice the flower girl? That’s Lindsey Murray McLelland!)


Years later, when I got a crazy notion to start a quilting magazine, she was my biggest supporter. Although she never quilted, every time she received her copy of Quilting Arts, she called me to let me know how wonderful the issue was, and what her favorite articles were. One time when I went to visit her home in Virginia, she had ripped up all of her flower beds to rework them so they resembled patchwork blocks in my honor.

Ah, Gran, we all miss you. Just look at some of your legacy…


Charlotte and Mary Anne Groton


Chric, Heather, Davy, Pokey Mary Anne

Some of the Chatham cousins
Left to right: Chris, Heather, Davy, Me, Mary Anne


great grandkids playing

Some of the great grandchildren rolling on the hills of the golf course when the memorial service ended. Made so many of us smile…



Bud and Kelly

My cousin Bud Chatham and his family (in their 49er gear!)
Left to right: JC, Bud, Hyla, Kelly


Chathams and Jackie

Chris, Heather, Matt, Bud, Me, and Davy all rallying around Jackie Stone–my grandmother’s assistant, close friend, and champion until the very, very end. We are forever grateful to you, Jackie…


Love to you, Gran! Give Gramps a big hug and kiss from all of us. Thanks for so many wonderful years, for so many incredible memories, and for instilling strength in all of us.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone…