It all began with the first stitch
Helena Gondry
Hillsboro Library Friends

Norma Mikesell’s gifted presence in the quilter’s landscape was honored at the Hillsboro Library October 19 with the annual celebration of her birthday. A festive gathering of assorted storytellers pieced together her life’s journey as we eagerly awaited the winner of the evening’s drawings.
Norma Mae Kellison Mikesell – 1920 – 2013 – came back to her native West Virginia roots in her later adulthood years and settled in Hillsboro.
There, she experienced a sense of “nostralia,’ as they say in Italian, of belonging to a place. In her remaining years, she immersed herself in the crucible of education and the artisan crafts of sewing and quilt making. As an avid reader, she knew that a great library would make a vibrant community. As a skilled quilter, she was as colorful as her patterned designs. Her generous nature drew to her a circle of friendship that endures to this day.
Family members, with tears at the threshold of their hearts, expressed joy at having had her as a beloved aunt.
She continues to inspire us all.
When Norma was 19, she stood at the frontier of human history – World War II – and served as a Navy nurse. The core human values of integrity, compassion and spirited determination were her qualities and what we all know about Norma: “Once a nurse, always a nurse.”
She held a firm persuasion that hope and goodness would always prevail – if we do our part. This strong, invisible thread was a belief sewn into the fabric of who she was.
The evening included a drawing for two handcrafted items by Norma’s niece, Jean Jackson, of Jacox, – a table runner of galloping wild horses, won by Sherry Hudson, of Hillsboro, and a rainbow-colored afghan, won by Cree Lahti, our new Libraries Director.
Congratulations to the luckiest ticket holder of all, Dale Noland, of South Carolina, who now has a Norma original to keep her warm on the chilliest of nights.

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