Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ola Pola Goes Home

This is my friend and colleague, Daniela. She was born in Poland and became a lawyer and a judge before coming to America twenty or so years ago. She got a job at my company doing secondary work in the factory. She did not understand a word of English. She hurt herself and they put her on "light duty" in the front office, assisting the Costing clerk in Accounting. It didn't take them long to figure out she had a crackerjack brain.

I befriended her when I discovered her love of Art. My mom and I put together a paintbox for her when I found out she had had to leave all those things behind in Poland. It turns out we have some amazing things in common. Although Daniela is about nine days older than I am, she celebrates her Name Day - which is my birthday.  And she started working at our company on my birthday. We have sons who studied the same thing (computers) and attended the same college.

We came to be friends and we work very well together. I don't think at all the way she does, and she thinks that's great. Together we solve big problems. When she was learning English I used to berate our colleagues for talking down to her. "She may not have the language skills," I told them, "but she's freaking smart. Don't treat her like a baby. Just give her a minute to do the translation in her head and she'll catch up."

Daniela is now the Vice President of Finance, and actually, I work for her, but that doesn't get in the way of our friendship. We share shopping stories, cat stories, and sweets. Daniela loves chocolate.

I've been wanting to make her a quilt for a couple of years now, but each time I thought I had one she'd like, one of my family members would step forward to claim it. Last fall when I was beginning to work on this quilt (at the time it was called Snaps), Daniela told me that she wanted to buy a red couch, but her husband had talked her out of it. Daniela has her own terrific sense of style.

As the Snaps quilt grew, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would go to Daniela. I sent it off to be quilted, but that was delayed by events beyond my control. In the meantime, I needed a name for the quilt. I talked to my son, and said I wanted a name of some type of candy, because the colors were sweet, and Daniela liked them. None of the names we came up with really sang for me, so we turned to the internet. "What about names of candy from Poland?" I asked my son. Every time Daniela returns from a trip to Poland she always brings back some chocolates. Maybe we could find a Polish candy.

My son found Ola Pola, a chocolate wafer candy from the Ukraine. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was perfect. When Chris emailed me to say the quilt would be delivered to me at work on Friday, I knew my weekend would be spent finishing the quilt. I've never finished a quilt so quickly, or spent two solid days on the couch handsewing the binding down. Arthritis be damned, I wanted to give Daniela her quilt as soon as I could.

So I made a "ribbon" out of leftover orange fabric, tied it in a bow around the quilt, stuffed it in a plastic bag, and brought it to work with me on Monday. Needless to say, Daniela loves everything about the quilt, including the big floral print on the back.

Now, she says, she's definitely going to buy that red couch, and she won't let her husband talk her out of it.


Megan said...

Wonderful story about a wonderful woman (well, two wonderful women) and a wonderful quilt.

Sydney, Australia

JoZart Designs said...

That is such a wonderful story and it was really moving to read about Daniela and how she rose to succeed and use her knowledge and skills in America. It was also so lovely to read about your friendship and how the quilt evolved and it proves the special quality quilts have in life. Quilts are meant to be loved and valued and it is so good when we make them and know that they will play a part in the lives of our loved ones and also be part of their history.
Lovely quilt for a lovely person made by a very special you!
Jo x

Misty said...

What a lovely story a friendship! I am sure she will always treasure the quilt you made her.

Pat said...

I love that quilt even more now that I know the story.

Nancy J said...

A truly wonderful story, and from your heart to your dear friend. Friendships can be short, or long, my longest is from 1954, and is still as strong as ever. Your quilt, what a gift, and it will be treasured so much. Thankyou for sharing this.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I posted a comment earlier today from my iPad but I see it didn't "take" -- sheesh. I think Ola Pola is fabulous and I love the story of you and Daniela and the quilt!

Just Ducky said...

What a special story and quilt.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Quilt, Beautiful story, two beautiful ladies.

Dee W said...

This is why we make quilts. To share our love with our friends.

Preeti said...

What a sweet story and a gorgeous quilt - warm and happy just like you two friends!!! Love the pinks/oranges and the backing is darling. Where did you find that lovely floral?

DKM said...

Red couches make every day fun!

Anonymous said...

It is so cool to see her with her quilt! I know she HAS to know how special she is!!!! Love the binding! you just don't EVER drop the ball!! Hugs!

Louise said...

I love this story!