This panel was sent in anonymously, with only this story attached to it.
I have made a Quilt for a man whom I have never met. I don’t know anything about his life except for that which I have read in a book.
The book is called April Fools Day. You may have read it too. It is about a guy named Damon, written by his father, Bryce Courtney. Damon was a haemophiliac in an AIDS ward in Australia when he met Jhon. Jhon’s story made me very sad, I cried a lot as I read about his last days of life. That’s when I thought about who would remember Jhon, his parents didn’t seem to care, his friends were in Sydney, or in the Navy, and nobody visited him in hospital. So I thought his name could be remembered on the Quilt.
I know I’ll never forget his story.
Here’s what I have read.
Jhon was in the Navy, he hadn’t kept in touch with his parents, I guess because he couldn’t tell them he was gay. He ended up in the hospital with PCP. Damon was in the room next to Jhon’s and he heard Jhon crying every night, saying “Mum, Dad, please forgive me”. Damon thought he would get in touch with Jhon’s parents so they could be with him, so he called every Baker in the phone book and finally located them.
His parents came and, after hearing from the doctor what was wrong, they went to see him. His mum sat on one side of the room and his dad on the other, as far away as they could get. They didn’t touch him, they didn’t speak to him. They stayed for 20 minutes while Jhon cried, “Mum, Dad, please forgive me” just as he had done every night. He repeated it over and over in between getting oxygen. Jhon’s dad then said, “Come on, woman” to Jhon’s mum, and they left without even saying goodbye.
Damon went in to see Jhon, and Jhon said, “They wouldn’t even touch me”. He died shortly after.
I would have loved to have been there and given love, but I wasn’t, and it was the love of his parents that he wanted. So I made the Quilt.
Jamie had told his mum he didn’t really want a panel created, and she was not to do it. However, this was not said with conviction. Friends decided to create a panel for Jamie, alleviating the onus from his mother. Helen, his mother, helped by supplying information on colours, and so on.
Helen chose the colour red for his panel as it was his colour. The name in tartan ribbon for his Scot ancestry, and also for the Royalist Jamie was, as the tartan is that of Royal Stuart.
A friend, Audrey, purchased the scotch thistle brooch. She had been the main support person for Jamie and his mum.
The Tudor roses were created for two reasons. Firstly, the space looked blank without something there. And secondly, the roses could again be for the Royalist in Jamie, but red can be for love and the white for spirituality. Jamie studied theology and knew his teachings inside out.
Jamie was an only child and an epileptic, which made him and his mother very close.
Remembered and missed more every day.
‘No Tears In Heaven’
We have no information on this panel other than that it was created for the Wairarapa Quilt Tour in 1993 and presented at the Featherston Anzac Hall on the 3rd of October 1993.
Buddy (David Richards)
This panel was made by Alex Nicholls for his lover Buddy. “Trying to represent Buddy’s personality was a challenge,” says Alex. “He was ‘glitter’ and he was sombre, and towards the end of his life he got back into his Maori culture, so I wanted to portray that part of his life too.”
The blue background of the panel is part of the doona cover from their bed. In the very centre is a smaller calico panel which has his nick-name ‘Buddy’, his full name is David Richards, and the dates of his birth and death. The red stuffed heart between the dates is the first thing that Buddy ever bought for Alex.
The Charlie Chaplain figure, the clown brooch, and the gold fringing around this centrepiece represent the couples “warped sense of humour” and the fun times they shared together.
A button pinned close to the clown brooch says, ”when you love someone you love him as he is.” It is a reminder that close to the flippant side was this more serious aspect of Buddy’s nature.
Buddy loved music, and the white metal musical notes scattered around the panel are Christmas decorations he bought for a tree that they never got to use.
The two teddy bears symbolise different experiences. One teddy with his legs crossed recalls a time when they were both in the hospital together and were constantly being told off for lying in bed with their legs crossed – not good for that circulation! The other teddy says, “I love to shop”, a favourite pastime for both Buddy and Alex.
There is a poem called ‘Evening Falls’ written by Buddy himself; and a favourite Celtic blessing was given to Alex by his mother as her contribution to the panel. Buddy’s favourite flowers, white roses, are included and also white doves for peace.
In three of the four corners, there are Maori symbols. In the top left corner, there is a Tiki, top right a Maori symbol for peace. In the bottom left corner, there is a moko because Buddy “loved getting into a frock” and that represents the drag queen and entertainer side of him. And finally in the bottom right corner a heart with a love message for Buddy.
Alex says that this panel is a celebration of his time with Buddy.
This panel was stitched with love by many women who knew Lynn for her courage and constant love in the face of overwhelming odds.
The colours were chosen to reflect her serenity, calmness and harmony.
A Tribute wrote by his wife Jo.
“In 1986 Eddie tested HIV positive. At home in Dunedin on the 3rd of April 1993, in the arms of his wife Jo, and in the company of family and friends, Eddie lost his battle with AIDS.
A Postbank employee for 21 years, transferring from Wellington to Dunedin in 1978. Eddie’s biggest fear was rejection by employers and workmates. It was not rejection but the support he received from them, family and friends. Support for both Eddie and Jo. This made it possible for him to “get on with his life”.
Both became involved with Te Roopu Tautoko Trust i Otepoti (Maori Action on AIDS, Dunedin) in 1991. An acknowledgement in 1993 by the Group’s Chairman read, ‘Eddie was responsible for much of the growth of Te Roopu Tautoko Trust i Otepoti. He chose a strategy of educating people, firstly the Maori community and secondly the wider community; that was to go public with his illness. The effectiveness of this allowed him to reach the hearts of many people, breaking down the barriers of ignorance and prejudice, allowing people to see and view the issues of HIV and AIDS in an objective way.’
That same year (1991), they also became involved with a Dunedin based Maori Culture Club, Te Huinga Rangatahi O Nga Hau E Wha (The Gathering of the Young People of the Four Winds). Their involvement made it possible for Eddie to touch the hearts of parents, tutors and most of all, the children. These same children would have a vital role in returning him home to Hawkes Bay after his death. The warmth, kindness, love and understanding Eddie had etched in their hearts could be seen and felt in their tribute to him; a Guard of Honour while singing Te Hokinga Mai (The Return Home), as he was taken from Rakautatahi Marae. Their final tributes are the small but meaningful mementoes that have been sewn onto his panel.
“A panel made with all the care and love for a special person, Eddie, you will stay in our hearts and always be remembered.” I am personally grateful to two special people, Mrs Mary Parata and Mrs Barbara Namana for all the time, effort and aroha (love) they have put into making Eddie’s panel and to all those who contributed to it.
I believe God had a purpose for taking Eddie, now he is free from the pain and suffering. There is no anger, only treasured memories. Memories of our 17 years together (15 of those being married), memories which cannot be erased.
Eddie was a loving, caring, gentle, happy man with a beautiful nature and heart of gold. He was my strength, protector and advisor, understanding a woman and her feelings. Dedicating his time to family, friends, work, hobbies, Two Tone (our dog) and Rastus (our cat), to all that he loved. Capturing the hearts of many. I will always love him. He is my Guardian Angel.
Special thanks to all for their support and most of all friendship which was given to Eddie and me before, during and after his death. I feel deeply humbled and privileged to have such friends who helped me in so many ways. I will treasure the bond we have of all the many songs, poems and verses. I believe the following verse, written by one of his many friends, aptly describes Eddie:
“To have known Eddie was to have known a special man.
Eddie was a man of style
The class of a true gentleman
A heart full of aroha (love)
A smile to touch your soul
Laughter so rich and full of warmth
A touch soft and gentle yet firm
A true friend through and through
He loved and was loved by all….”
Eddie will be remembered by those who knew him, in their own special way. He was loved by all, NOT because he was a victim of AIDS, but because he was……..OUR ED.”
The ‘koi’ (Japanese carp) was always a fascination to Alex for its tenacity and beauty.
The cat ‘Caesar’ was with Alex for the last ten years of his life and was his favourite of all his pets.
The blue background signifies the sea which Alex loved, and the flowers and birds are a representation of his love of nature.
The whale was a contribution by Alex’s business partner and his wife and has special significance for them.
Japanese Business Communications (JBC) is the translation company Alex set up on his own and which was truly his crowning glory.
Hence, the Quilt shows some aspects of Alex’s life which, although short, was memorable.
Alex served on the Quilt Project Management Policy Committee between January 1992 and August 1993.
These thoughts come from some close friends in France:
Looking for you on the web, we reached that sad death notice 🙁
Once we became friends, in Whangarei, where Yannick my bother became your friend and so did I. You came to spend a stay to us in New Caledonia, a good souvenir of a very nice friend. You loved French, as your surname. We shall always keep you in our hearts.
We are sorry so many years have gone passed before finding you, life is so inequitable! We are so sad. Rest in peace Alex.
Love Fabienne Yannick and Gauthier family. Lots of love to your family and friends too.
Added February 2012
Dr. Buddy Brandt
Dr. Buddy Brandt
This panel was created by volunteers of the NZ Quilt Project as a result of a request.
The Project did an educational visit to Onehunga High School where an American exchange student (Arianna Nesbitt) was attending. She requested a panel be made for Dr Buddy who, she said, had been like a father to her. She wanted his panel to be on the NZ Quilt Project because she so loved her time here and felt that “New Zealand would be a perfect place for him to be.”
The tree is a spiritual tree with the names of all those who will remember.
Arianna’s tribute to Dr Buddy.
Dr Buddy was born on 9 April 1943 and died on 16 November 1990. He graduated from Texas A & M University with a degree in veterinary medicine and loved animals and children. He loved horses, dogs, birds, mules, and peacocks. He was a man that had a very big heart and cared about everyone.
In his first marriage, he had two children, Matt and Eva. He was remarried to Tina who had two children, Eddie now 17 and Kelly 14 (in 1993). Tina and Dr Buddy also had a child, T.J. who is now 9 (in 1993).
The maroon, white and black in the Quilt represent the school colours of Texas A & M which Dr Buddy was so proud of.
Other photos of this block
Panels in this Block
|Panel Name||Life Years||Panel Link|
|‘No Tears In Heaven’||View Panel ›|
|Alex French||27 February 1960 - 25 January 1994||View Panel ›|
|Buddy (David Richards)||1962 - 1990||View Panel ›|
|Dr. Buddy Brandt||9 April 1943 - 16 November 1990||View Panel ›|
|Eddie Thompson-Shaw||1951 - 3 April 1993||View Panel ›|
|Jamie MacRae||9 February 1965 - 7 October 1992||View Panel ›|
|Jhon Baker||View Panel ›|
|Lynn||View Panel ›|