This rug is a tribute to my father’s youngest brother, Jay Valentine Souers, who died in a farm accident at the age of 28. I was just 10 years old at that time, and my Unlce Jay’s farm had been my favorite place in the whole world. I have no photographs of the farm, so all of the images are from the wonderful memories I hold in my heart. The layout of the scenes depicts the geographical layout of the farm as much as I remember it.
On the back of the rug, I included a photo of Uncle Jay, a copy of his obituary, and a key to the images depicted in the rug.
- “The Big House” where Uncle Jay and Uncle Art’s family first lived in an apartment in the back, and where Aunt Kay made…
- stacks of grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta cheese!
- Me picking Aunt Kay’s red currants. Yum!
- The swimming hole where the three brothers, Bob (my dad), Art and Jay, with kid help, dammed up a small brook.
- The girl who lived in the big house and I were chased out of the field after we tried to ride the horse bare back.
- Uncle Jay raised and milked holstein cows.
- I got to ride on the tractor sitting on Uncle Jay’s lap.
- David and I rode on the wagon when Dad and Uncle Jay gathered haybales.
- Uncle Jay was allergic to bees which flew all around.
- You can see these upper fields from the Taconic State Parkway in the winter.
- When Uncle Jay was milking, he would call us over to see the star on the cow’s teat and then squirt us in the face with milk. (Over and over again!)
- Uncle Jay, Dad and me on the bridge over the stream. Uncle Jay talked about ‘shit’ in the stream. Dad said, “Jay, don’t say that word in front of the kids!”
- Evelyn was Uncle Jay’s best producer. I was staying at the farm when she calved. Uncle Jay named the calf ‘Cherie’.
- Shooting skeet
- The block house where Uncle Jay and Uncle Art’s family lived.
- Aunt Kay’s vegetable garden
- David and me walking the fence along the driveway.
- Uncle Jay would hang a kid over a puddle or manure pile while we squirmed like a worm squealing with delight.
- The barn with stanchions and milking parlor where David and I learned to catch flies with our bare hands and saw a calf being born.
About the Artist:
When I was a little girl, my grandmother had a large rug frame set up in her living room. I don’t remember her hooking when we visited, but there was always a rug in progress on the frame. As a young adult, I was pleased to see that she had given my mom one of her rugs. When my mom died, the rug was passed to me. At the age of 50, I decided it was time to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps. I applied and was hired to make some punch hooked rugs for MacAdoo Rugs in Bennington. That career didn’t last long. A few years later, I met a woman named Linda Smith at a retreat who introduced herself as a traditional rug hooker. When she heard of my interest, she invited me to a rug social gathering in Wallingford, VT, cut lots of wool for me,and helped me purchase some tools and materials. I’ve been hooking ever since. Thank you, Linda Smith for getting me started, and thank you to the wonderful rug social women in Brattleboro, VT for their continued encouragement and support.