It’s one hundred percent wool, a Hudson’s Bay blanket that at one time had the distinctive store label and binding in satin. More than eighty years old, it’s the kind of thing most people would repurpose as the dog’s bed. For me it is sacred. I was sure I was conceived under this blanket.
I suspect most people don’t give a lot of thought to their conception; it may be uncomfortable to think about our parents, um, doing it. While on staff at Holden Village, the church retreat center, I asked a young man where he was from.
“Cannon Falls, Minnesota,” he replied.
“Oh,” I blurted. “I was conceived there.” He was visibly nonplussed.
I remember this blanket being on my parents’ bed when I was a small child. I inherited it when they discovered the joy of a dual control electric blanket. Then, sorting through old family photos, the significance of the blanket finally dawned on me. It was prominent among a photo of my parents’ wedding gifts. Having read both parents’ journals from that time, I know how madly in love they were as newlyweds. Sleeping under that blanket held an aura of romance for me, warming not only my body but my heart.
While I was arranging the blanket for this photo, I finally did the math. I realized I was conceived in August. Cannon Falls is in southern Minnesota, where August is hot and humid, and the air does not cool much at night. Seventy-five years ago, no one had air conditioning. That blanket was nowhere in the vicinity when I was conceived. In fact, it’s unlikely anyone was conceived under it. My sister probably got her start in early September and my brother in July. My parents were clearly warm weather lovers.
So now what? It’s just another old woolen blanket. Give up and use it for dog bedding? No way. My heart is telling me that sometimes the mythology around an object can hold a deeper truth than the facts.
(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider the stories that make you treasure your own stuff–maybe even share them.)