She's Patching Together Quilt Clues

Woman Tirelessly Tries To Track Family Heirloom That Fell Off Truck

April 28, 1991|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff writer

OWINGS MILLS — In her quest for a lost quilt, Suzanne Lentzner has launched a one-woman crusade, combing the hills of Carroll County, knocking on doors and looking for leads.

Although the frequent excursions from her Baltimore County home to Carroll have led to nought, she remains tenacious and tireless in her task.

Two years ago, the quilt, bagged with other belongings, fell off the back of a pick-up truck near routes 140 and 91 and scattered to the four corners.

That starting point for her search was established by way of a phone call from a woman, who had collected some of thespill

age. The quest continues to this day.

Lentzner has posted notices on telephone poles and in the Finksburg Plaza stores, contacted radio and television stations and advertised in the newspapers.

The 22-year-old mother of two has expended much more time and effort searching for the quilt than her paternal grandmother, Martha Housewright, ever spent making it.

"It's part of my heritage, and I won't stop until I know what's happened to it," she said. "I can't giveup on things I really care about."

Grandma's quilts are the threads that bind Lentzner's family history. Many contain scraps of her childhood.

"When we were little, my mother would send Grandma the clothes we had outgrown," said Lentzner. "She would turn our clothes into appliques for the quilts."

Housewright died about five years ago after spending all of her 99 years in the mountains of Tennessee. She taught herself to quilt, spending hours seated at the rough frame that filled the parlor of her home in Church Hill, creating her own unique designs.

Her skills earned her prizes at fairs as well as a mention and photographs in "Mountain People, Mountain Crafts" by Elinor Lander Horwitz.

She passed the quilts down the generations to her nine children and grandchildren. Pink with doll appliques or a blue with farmers in straw hats celebrated the arrival of each child.

Housewright made matching purple quilts to cover her granddaughters'twin beds nearly 20 years ago. Lentzner fell heir to the pair when she married. She kept one packed away and used the other on her infantson's crib.

When the family moved from Finksburg, Lentzner scooped the crib contents into a large plastic bag, and tossed the bag ontotheback of the family pick-up truck.

Now, the remaining quilt is matchless. Lentzner is offering a $50 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of her heirloom.

"It might not be worth a lot of money, but for me it's priceless," she said. "I want to have itto hand down to my daughter someday."

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