How to Make an American Quilt (1995) Script

[Finn Narrating ] For as long as I can remember... my grandmother and her friends have been part of a quilting bee.

I remember sitting under the quilting frame... pretending that I was surrounded by a forest of friendly trees, and that their stitches were messages from giants... written across the sky.

I used to spend my summers with my grandmother and great aunt... who lived in Grasse, California.

My mother would dump me there when she took off with her latest boyfriend.

My parents' marriage didn't last very long.

They said they didn't love each other anymore.

Or maybe they were just afraid their relationship had become... just like everyone else's.

They eventually parted as friends, and I eventually stopped thinking it was all my fault.

The truth is, it's no one's fault.

Sometimes love simply dies.

[ Pounding ]

At this moment in time, I'm working on my third and I hope final attempt... at my master's thesis.

Whenever I'm about to finish, I decide to switch topics. I can't help it.

It seems the more I know about something, well, the less I want to know about it.

On top of that, my sweetheart Sam is taking our home apart... and putting it back together in some mysterious new form.

I've decided to go away for the summer.

This makes Sam nervous.

He thinks I'm leaving because last night he proposed to me.

Sam's great and I really love him.

And I'm 26. This is not an unreasonable age to get married.

Especially if you've found your possible soul mate.

[ Coughing ]

[ Whistling ]

But how do you merge into this thing called a couple... and still keep a little room for yourself?

And how do we know if we're only supposed to be with one person... for the rest of our lives?


The day Sam drove me to my Great Aunt Glady's house... the Grasse Quilting Bee was there setting up to make a new quilt.

They've always met here at Aunt Glady's.

My grandmother moved in after she lost her husband.

They've been fighting ever since.

So Arthur's stuff is junk? It's just piled up there.

Everyone defers to Anna who is the master quilter.

She used to work for Aunt Glady, but these days it seems they're all working for her.

My least favorite is Sophia. Come on, lift! Lift!

When I was a little girl, she always made me cry.

And then there's Em who's married to an artist, and for some reason that makes everyone feel sorry for her.

I always idolized Anna's daughter Marianna.

She had lived in Paris, which made her very mysterious to me when I was a kid.

She taught me French, made cafe au laits.

And the year I got my period, she gave me a glass of red wine.

Sam! I'm so happy to see you.

Let's move some furniture together. Sure. Sure.

[ Em ] I'm not lifting anything else. I'll do whatever, but no lifting.

Shouldn't you be using a computer? I don't trust computers.

They lose things. Not if you know what you're doing.

Sophia! What?

I made you a tape. All the songs have "road" in the title.

Great. Thanks.

Are you gonna be okay with this? Y eah. I'm fine.

I've got lots to do, so I'm fine.

So you'll come pick me up in September?

Maybe. Maybe not.

You better.

I will.

Bye. Bye.

[ Anna ] The challenge with a quilt like this... is each of these squares is made by different hands.

So I have to bring all these different squares together... in a balanced and harmonious... design.

[ Clears Throat ] First, we have to find a theme.

For this particular quilt, the theme is... "Where Love Resides."

[ Chuckling ]

You put too much sugar in the ice tea.

I did not. It's got like a teaspoon and a half in it.

-You put in a whole cup. I can taste it. -Give it a rest, will ya?

Bicker, bicker, bicker, makes a gal age quicker.

[ Finn ] What you're saying is that by harmonizing all these elements... you're creating... kind of a continuity in the piece? No. What I'm saying is...

I don't want to end up with some damn ugly quilt.

[ Women Laughing ]

Sweetie, explain to us again what kind of a book this is you're writing.

It's not a book. It's a thesis.

I'm looking at women's handiwork in various tribal cultures, and I'm showing how... making a basket, a blanket, a digging stick or whatever, -it's all done with the sense of ritual. -I thought you were writing... about the Victorians? No. That was a different thesis.

What happened to that one? I became more interested in this subject.

You didn't finish it? No.

Well, why not? Chill, Sophia.

By the way, I spotted a fella for Anna.

Oh!

Does anybody know Frank lpsey who comes by here with the eggs?

Glady, Frank has cancer.

So you got me a sick one too, huh? [ Women Laughing ]

Finn, when are you gonna start having babies?

My, God! I don't know.

Are you using protection? Sophia!

Sophia, you filth monger. Leave my grand niece alone.

So, this quilt you're working on, is this something you're making... for the state fair? It's your wedding quilt, honey.

Oh.

[ Chuckles ]

[ Em ] Here comes the bride [ All ] Da-da-da-da

[ Ladies Humming "Here Comes The Bride" ]

Do you mind if I put on some music? Hell no.

[ Tape Player: African Tribal Music ]

[ Drums Beating, Chanting ]

Hey, Finn.

Hey, Constance.

[ Chanting Continues ]

Mmm.

[ Music Stops ]

Sorry I'm late.

Quite all right.

[ Marianna ] Want a smoke?

No, I don't think I'd better.

[ Sighing ]

The hell if I know where love resides.

[ Glady Joe ] I don't know why your mother divorced your father... and then stayed friends with him.

If you still love each other, why don't you just stay married?

Well, some people like to get a new car every other year.

Here you go.

Oh, Hy! Look what you did! Well, we're all family.

Yech! When your mother and father got married, they were very immature, which isn't the same case... with you and Sam. You know what Mom said to me once?

She's so crazy. How'd she get so crazy?

Don't look at me.

[ Finn ] She said that as soon as I get married, I'm gonna want to have an affair.

[ Hy ] She doesn't know what she's talking about.

Well, that which is forbidden.

Ahh. Don't be such a cynic.

I'm not.

My grand niece wants to know... why the marriage vow is considered such a sacred thing, when, in fact, to most people... it means nothing at all. I took my marriage very seriously.

You were too young to remember your grandfather.

He and I had a... very special love for each other.

Which, I'm sure, even your Aunt Gladiola was aware of.

Very much aware.

That's what made the whole thing so stunning.

-Why are you bringing this up right now? -You brought it up.

Fine. You wanna tell her? Go tell her. I don't care.

Tell me what?

Was this a mistake, letting you two smoke?

Oh, no, sweetie.

If I weren't high now, I'd have your aunt on the floor beating her senseless.

[ Laughing ]

-You're gonna need a lot more than that. -[ Gasping ] Shut up.

[ Exhaling ]

All right. I'll tell you what happened.

But I'd like to say one thing first, with your aunt's permission.

[ Glady Joe ] Be my guest.

When you've spent your life with someone... and they start to die,

and you feel this terrible, terrible...

severing.

So you do things without thinking,

because what you have to face is so...

deeply unthinkable.


Could I use your phone, please?

[ Ringing ]

[ Ringing Continues ]

[ Phone Ringing ]

Arthur Cleary.

Where's Glady? I called your house, she didn't answer.

Hy, is that you? Y es.

What's wrong? Is Glady with you?

No. Glady... she must be out shopping. James didn't--

No. [ Crying ]

No, he's still here.

I just--

I need someone to come pick me up.

Uh, I've got to get back to the office soon.

What if I take you to our house? No.

All right. Okay.

I just... have to lie down before I go back.

You know, I'll find me a tree.

I need some peace before I go back.


[ Crow Cawing ]


I was at the hospital today. James didn't know where you had gone.

I told him you had to scoot off to town for something. He was quite upset.

I know. He told me.

I just find it hard that you just left the hospital without leaving him a note.

That you just took off for a ride... with my husband.

[ Chuckles ]


[ Sniffing ] Glady, what are you doing?

[ Sniffing ] Honey, what are you doing?

Come on.

Glady?

I don't want to hear a word out of either of you!

You stink of her perfume! Ah, shit.

[ Sobbing ] [ Arthur ] Glady?

Glady?

Can't we work this out?

If you want me to go away, I'll do that.

But if you want me to stay, that's what I want. Glady.

What's happened to our marriage?

It's been so long since we shared the same bed.

It's been hard on me, sugar. [ Wailing ]

What do you want me to do? But she's my sister! [ Screaming ]

She's my sister!

[ Sobbing, Glass Shattering ]

Glady? [ Glass Shattering ]

Oh, sweetheart.


[ Sobbing ]

Glady, what the hell are you doing?

I'm trying to find something I haven't smashed!

[ Humming ]

[ Humming Continues ]

Honey, I'm going to work now.

As you wish, dear.

[ Arthur ] Sweetheart, this is really kind of creepy, you know?

Can't you just toss all that junk out?

Self-expression heals the wounded heart.

Glady, for God's sake. Here. You can iron your own.

[ Humming ]

[ Knock At Door ]

Glady.

Aren't you ever going to forgive me?

You made your own bed.

Don't you understand why I did it?

Frankly, the reason eludes me.

Your sister was the closest... I could get to you.

Get out! Get out! Get out!

[ Finn ] Wow!

You must've been angry for a really long time.

[ Glady Joe ] Your grandmother won't come in here, so I'm stuck with doing all the laundry.

[ Finn ] Did Grandpa ever find out?

I had decided to tell him everything.

[ Glady Joe Narrating ] Let the man die enlightened.

I was crazy, Finn.

I would've done anything.

[ Whispering ] Y es, sweetheart.

That's my darling.

I brought ice cream.

Thank you.

Did you ever forgive Uncle Arthur?

Yeah. I forgave him.

That's what you do when someone dies.

Did you ever forgive Grandma?

Well...

I let her move in with me.

That is not necessarily the same thing.

[ Coughing ]

I'm sleepy. I'm going to bed.

Good night. Good night, honey.

Y eah.

By the way, it was so good of you to take me in.

Good night.

[ Typewriter Keys Clicking ] [ Tape Player: Tribal Music ]

[ Sighs ]

[ Music Continues ]

Oh, honey, it's too hot to work.

Come swimming with us. Huh?

I just have to grab my bathing suit.

[ Car Radio: "Cherry Cherry" Performed By Neil Diamond ]

Baby love me Yes, yes she does

Oh, the girl's out of sight, yeah

Says she love me Yes, yes, she does Come on!

Gonna show me tonight Yeah

She got the way to move me, Cherry

She got the way to groove me

She got the way to move me Cherry baby

She got the way to groove me All right

Tell your mama, girl I can't stay long Look at that! That old dog!

Dean, I'm watchin' you!

Just talking, Glady. Just talking.

[ Glady Joe ] Just talking, my foot. Nice 'do.

Hi. Cute hair, Em.

Em, you look beautiful.

[ Glady Joe ] Just imagine what he's talkin' about.

There you go. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Oh, man! What's goin' on?

Yeah. What's he doing up there?

I've been standing here. It's been about 15 minutes.

You know what I just did?

I just did 30 laps doing the butterfly stroke.

You know what my arms feel like now? No.

They feel like they could take off and fly.

Are you in training? Yeah. I'm gonna be an ocean swimmer.

Yeah?

What's your name? Uh... Finn.

Like on a fish? No. With a double "N."

It's one of those weird, hippie names.

No, it's a beautiful name.

Finn. That's the thing that slices through the water.

That's the thing that gives the fishes their speed.

Finn.

[ Boy ] How come I've never seen you here before?

Um... I'm just here for the summer.

You're from the city. Berkeley.

Oh, where the smart people live. Not really.

I can tell you're one of 'em.

Long line. Yeah.

I'm really hot. I'm gonna go jump in the water.

My name's Leon.

Oh, okay, Leon. See you later.

Who was that young man we saw you with?

Oh, just someone who wanted to talk.

Whoo!

[ Gasping, Coughing ]

[ Giggling ] Little girls!

That's not allowed!

Sophia's still scaring children?

That's how she's lived so long. [ Laughing ]

You should've seen her when she was your age. My God!

She had a stunning figure!


Well!

I'm Preston Richards.

What's your name? Sophia.

Sophia? Sophia Darling.

Did you say "darling"?

Yeah. Like the family in Peter Pan.

Oh, I thought-- I thought that-- What?

I thought that you called me darling.

Oh, God, no. No, no. Oh, God, no.

I like your name. I like it very much. Do you now?

When we get married, we'll break tradition so you can keep it.

Excuse me? Do you dive competitively?

No. Uh, I just do it for myself.

I like the sensation of falling.

You swim like a mermaid. I do?

[ Giggles ] What do you want to do with your life?

I don't know. Marry you, I guess.

[ Woman ] A college boy. Hmm, that's good.

But listen, honey, you let him do most of the talking... because men, especially smart men, they like a good listener.

Ma, don't!

It's all right to shine a little, though.

Men like to think that they've found a treasure.

It's only a date. I'm not gonna marry him.

Uh-uh-uh. You never know.

You never know if this is the one.

I love you, baby, but you're just not pretty enough to be on your own.

Good night, Ma. Good night, Mrs. Darling.

These bugs are gonna eat you alive!

You keep your delicate parts covered! I'll get my door.

It's a hotsy-totsy night tonight!

I made a dinner reservation for 7:0. Is that all right?

I've got a better idea. Be careful!

Good night, Preston.

[ Humming "Beautiful Dreamer" ]

[ Humming Continues ]


[ Giggles ] This is where I usually come to swim.

You like it?

I'm a geologist. That's my major: rocks.

God, I'm sorry. I didn't even ask. No, no. That's all right.

No. I shouldn't have been doing all the talking.

So, tell me more.

Well-- [ Sighs ] All right. This is what I'd like to do.

I'd like to travel over the whole planet and study every part of her, especially where rock is met up with water.

That's where you get the most spectacular effects.

That's when you get the Grand Canyon.

There's nothing like water to wear down a mountain... and open up its secrets to you.

You know, in Arizona-- Stay right there. Don't move.


[ Sophia Giggling ]


Let's go around the world together.

I'll study rocks. You can swim down in the bottom of the canyons.

Swim across the middle of old volcanoes.

Get me away from here.

[ Crying ]

[ Crying Continues ] Where are you going this time?

They want to send me up to Colorado to check out the site of a dam.

[ Crying ] [ Sighing ]

Shh.

Ahh. Shh.

Pres, I'm not gonna raise this child alone.

You have to get a job in town.

Sophia, I can't spend my life doing soil tests for farmers.

And I can't be left behind like some old bag.

Look, as soon as the baby gets a little older, you can come along too.

And before that, how do I know you won't run off?

Why would I do that? That's what you say now.

Sophia, this is crazy. Why would I run away?

Because... it happens.

[ Clattering ]

[ Phonograph ]

[ Giggling ]

[ Girl ] Are you gonna be away for very long, Daddy?

Not so long, sweetheart. About two or three weeks.

I want to go to college.

We can only afford to send one of you.

-It's more important for Pres Jr. to go. -But I'm the oldest.

A girl doesn't have to go to college. You can get married.

That's not what I want.

Well, we don't always get what we want.

What's that?

It's a pond...

for you.

I thought you could, uh, wade around in it, or keep fish in it or whatever you want.

I think it's deep enough.


What do you think about getting some goldfish in here?

Evie says she wants goldfish.

Remember when you took me to the swimming hole?

Why'd you stop going?

I became a wife, I guess.

Preston.

Pres?

Let's go down to the swimming hole.

Pres?


[ Door Closes ]

[ Car Engine Revs ]

[ Car Pulls Away ]

[ Finn ] So... what happened?

He never came back.

[ Horn Honks ] [ Hy ] Oh, look. Sam is here.

Hi, Sam.

So, how come you're here?

I missed you. And I wanted to go over the house.

Sam, are you staying to dinner? Sure... if you'll have me.

Oh, yeah.

Did you go swimming? Yeah.

I took this wall out here between the kitchen and the dinning room.

See this section here? That's for your office.

I told you I want a separate room. I know.

I tried to work it out, but the house isn't big enough.

What about this?

That would be a guest room.

Screw the guests. Let 'em sleep on the couch.

Okay. I just thought we should have an extra room for whatever.

If we have a baby, for work space or--

This is the baby's room? It's just a possible use of the space.

You expect me to have babies right away?

No, I don't expect you to do anything.

You just said, this is the baby's room.

Finn, we're just goin' over blueprints.

Okay. [ Clears Throat ]

Does that mean you don't want to have kids?

Well, not right now. No.

Uh... do you mean not right now or never?

Well--

Why is this something I have to answer right now?

If you don't want to have kids, we should talk about it.

Well, fine, Sam.

But this isn't something I want to be thinking about now. I'm trying to finish my paper.

Well, you went swimming. So?

So obviously you have time for other things besides work.

Oh, man! I can't--

I can't believe this. You came down here to spy on me?

I can't believe this attitude. You were supposed to give me three months.

Three months so I could get my head together.

And here you are two weeks later. That's bullshit.

And here you are two weeks later. That's bullshit.

You're gettin' cold feet.

Oh, man.

You are. I can see that look on your face.

What look? That look.

That same look your mother gets when she's gonna dump one of her boyfriends.

Oh, please. What am I doing with a carpenter?

Why don't I get somebody better, smarter? Somebody who doesn't even care about me?

You are so wrong. So wrong.

Am l?

All right, whatever.

Let's just do this.

I'm not like my mother, Sam.

Okay.

The extra room would be your office and you want, um--

Whatever. Um, want a built-in desk or shelves? What do you want?

I don't care.

Doesn't... care.

Will you be spending the night, Sam?

No. I don't think so.

[ Finn ] Sam!

Don't drive crazy just 'cause you're mad at me.

[ Typewriter Keys Clicking ]

This is Sam. This is the machine.

You know what to do. [ Machine Beeps ]

Hi. It's me again. [ Clears Throat ]

Are you there?

Are... you... there?

Okay. Well, uh...

I just wanted to call and say... that I'm really sorry about the fight we had... and, um, I'm just sorry for being such a horrible--

[ Machine Beeps, Dial Tone ]


[ Girl Giggling ] Hello?

Hello. Who is this? Shit!

[ Chatting ]

[ Sophia ] Hi, sleepyhead.

Wish I could stay in bed that long.

What's goin' on with her?

She was up all night trying to call Sam.

Some girl answered.

Oh, dear. That sounds bad.

Not necessarily.

[ Glady Joe ] I don't know. Everything-- I don't like any of these colors.

I don't like this color. I don't like that color.

Try this. I can't.

I don't like this, I don't like that. Why?

Honey, may I join you?

Oh... yeah.

I'm sure you know about this little involvement... between my husband and, uh... what's-her-name.

Uh--

This isn't the first time he's fooled around. No.

Dean is not a conventional man.

He's an artist. He acts out.

He's been acting out since the first month we were married.

Why have you stayed with him so long?

Well, I've lived all my life in this town, and being married to Dean makes me feel unusual.

[ "ll Trovatore" ]


[ Chorale Singing Opera In ltalian ]


[ Singing Continues ]

Oh, Dean.

[ Young Em ] Dean won't drink American coffee.

He makes us go all the way to San Francisco to the ltalian section... to get it. Where is he right now?

[ "ll Trovatore" ]

He's in the studio with a student.

[ Opera Continues ] Uh-huh.

What's that supposed to mean?

Uh... I'd just keep my eyes on him. That's all.

[ Giggles ] You sound like your mother.

Do you love that girl? No. No.

No, no, no, no! It was just physical pleasure.

Dean, stop it!

I'm sorry, Em. I'm an artist.

That makes me greedy and selfish.

You're a beautiful woman. I don't deserve you.

I'm a pathetic excuse for a husband.

I have to leave you.

What? I can't live like this.

I have to leave you. We have to get a divorce.

Yeah, but I'll die. Oh, Dean!

No, you should. You should leave me.

You can't trust me. You should find someone new.

But I'll die if you leave me.

Dean, what are you doing? Dean!

Oh! Get away! Please. Please forgive me, Emma.

Don't leave me. Please.

Beautiful Emma. I can't let you leave me. Stay with me.

I'll paint old men.

Fat, old, bald, warty men with all their clothes on.

Please? I love you.


[ Phone Rings ]

I'll get it.

[ Rings Continue ]

I... I do.

I need you. It's killing me.

You shouldn't call me here. I know, I know.

It's hard for me too, baby. [ Clanging ]

[ Em ] Oh, God. Oh, my God!

You son of a bitch! I can't believe you're doing this!

Why do you keep doing this? I can't control it.

You bastard!

Here.

[ Em Narrating ] And so I left him.

I went to stay at my parents' house. [ Chuckling ]

Which isn't saying much. They only live two streets away.

All the same, it took Dean three months to find me.

[ Grunting ]

Em?

Em.

What are you doing here?

Em.

What makes you think I should ever come back to you?

This one on top.

[ Em's Mother ] It's for the best, dear.

Unbelievable!

Well, I've come to believe that Dean is more typical than not.

It's a pattern of nature.

The female keeps the nest while the male goes out and flaunts his feathers.

Well, screw that! Yeah.

I've decided... finally to leave him.

Please don't tell anyone. Of course not.


[ Radio Announcer: lndistinct ]

[ Laughing ]

I beg your pardon?

[ Laughing, lndistinct Chatting ]

[ Hy ] Turn it up. I like that song.

[ "l Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" Performed By The lnkspots ]

In my heart I have but one desire

And that one is you I don't mean to bother you. I brought these for you.

Oh, thank you.

No, I'm about to take a break.

Go ahead. Sit down.

Did you grow these?

My family has a field. Oh.

I just picked these. They're still warm from the sun.

I don't want to set the world

On fire

I just want to start

A flame in your heart Here.

[ Anna ] I don't know what I'm gonna do about that yellow patch.

It throws the whole damn balance off.

Constance, what are you doing to me?

As I understood it, the theme is supposed to be "Where Love Resides."

Well, for me love resides in Chickie's garden.

You could've put some pink and blue flowers... in Chickie's garden.

Chickie's roses were yellow.

Constance, there are a lot of colors we all like to use, but we have to respect Anna's opinion.

Why are we being so strict? It's a love quilt, for God's sake.

It's for Finn, Mama. It's not for competition.

I don't care if it's for the First Lady or a whore in the street.

We will follow the rules of design.

Sometimes you have to break the rules to keep the work alive.

Une couleur vilaine n'existe pas. Don't give me that French crap.

I live with someone who's been breaking the rules for 30 years.

And I don't come here to have it rubbed in my face.

I show up here, and I sew.

[ Clears Throat ]

You know, Constance, Emma's been a part of our group longer than you have, and we're in a rather... and we're in a rather... uncomfortable situation here.

That's fine.

I'll leave.

I really don't care.

I think the hardest part about being a woman is having women friends.

I think the hardest part about being a woman... is not being able to just be friends with a man.

That's true.

If Howell wasn't buried here, I'd be out of this town in a minute.

I meant to write you last year when he died. I'm so sorry.

It's okay. I hate those condolence notes.

Here. You can do what you like with it.

I call it "Chickie's Garden."

When we were moving a lot, Howell got me Chickie... to keep me company while he was on the road.

She was a wonderful dog.

Very smart and elegant. Wasn't a yapper.

When Howell was home, the three of us would go for walks... and the kids in the neighborhood would keep us company.

Chickie made us popular.

Then the damn dog ate snail bate in somebody's yard.

Howell buried her under a yellow rose bush in my garden.

Why isn't this going in my quilt?

Because I've been spending time with somebody else's husband.

And it's absolute nonsense... because Howell was the love of my life.

Is it going? Y eah.

Hi.

Now, sweetheart, tell the folks the secret of our marriage.

[ Giggles ]

The real secret of our marriage is I haven't seen you...

'cause you've been on the road since we got married.

Tell the folks the secret of our marriage.

That is the secret. Turn it off. [ Laughing ]

[ Constance ] Start again! Do it again!

[ "After The Fire Is Gone" Performed By Loretta Lynn And Conway Twitty ]

Hi.

Em told me about Howell. I'm, I'm really sorry.

Thank you.

You all right? Anything I can do?

You can take me dancing.

What?

I'm sorry. Howell was a good man and I loved him.

But he's gone now, and I don't believe in grief.

How can you not believe in grief?

Either you grieve or you don't.

Yeah.

You want me to drive you home? No, thanks, Dean.

I feel like walking. Excuse me.


[ Knocking ]

Hi. Just thought I'd drop by, see if you needed anything done. No, I don't think so.

But come in.

The hair's still in his shaver.

I don't know what to do with it.

Do you want me to take it away for you?

Yes. Would you? Sure.

If you go in the bedroom, there's some jackets and ties.

They're laid out on the bed. Please take whatever you want.

I don't want to give it to the Goodwill.

Okay.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

[ Constance ] With Howell gone, I was thinking maybe I should move back East.

I miss the seasons.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night... and I wonder how exactly I got here.

Why don't you go?

Why don't you just go?

Why don't we both go?

Ain't dead yet.

It's getting late. I'm kicking you out.

Good night, Dean.

[ Whispering ] Goddamn it.

[ Radio: "Anybody Can Be Somebody's Fool" Performed By Nanci Griffith ]

[ Footsteps ]

[ Knocking ]

Hi. Forgot my toolbox.

Dean, are you trying to have an affair with me?

[ Chuckling ] Well... guess I am.

If Howell were alive, I might be tempted.

What do you mean?

Because I'd have him to go home to when I came to my senses.

Hmm.

Well, I guess you just saved us both a whole lot of trouble.

Mm-hmm.

Do you still want Howell's jacket? Y eah, sure.

It's on the chair in there. Okay.

[ Man On Radio ] It's 7:45... and as the sun goes down, here's an old favorite.

[ "You Belong To Me" Performed By Patsy Cline ]

See the pyramids

Along the Nile That... fits you.

Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle Hey.

[ Crying ]

I want you to relax. Just remember, darling

All the while

You belong to me

See the marketplace in old Algiers

Send me photographs and souvenirs

Just remember when a dream appears

You belong to me


[ Clears Throat ] Look.

Just so you know.

I'm engaged to be married.

So you just want a friendship thing.

[ Gasps ]

You look very pretty. Is there a special occasion?

I thought I'd go into town, see a movie.

[ Glady Joe ] Anna was gonna bring over her quilts to show you.

She'll be here in about 20 minutes.

She doesn't take them out for everybody.

That's right.

I had to twist her arm to bring 'em out.

[ Phone Ringing ] Mmm, I'll get it.

Hello?

Y es, Sam, she's right here. Just a minute.

Thanks.

Hello.

[ Finn ] Fine.

Y eah, I tried to call you, but-- Well, where were you?

It was nothing.

He ended up spending the night at his brother's... because he had taken the plumbing apart.

Oh. You see?

I told you it wasn't anything. Y eah.

Who was the girl?

Wrong number. He said I dialed a wrong number.

[ Doorbell Rings ]

I'll get that.

Hi. Hi.

You look very pretty. Thank you.

Um, look. I'm going to have to meet you somewhere later.

Okay.

I don't take these quilts out for everybody, as you know.

I just don't do it. Yes, I know.

Are you lookin' a little different tonight?

My Aunt Pauline passed this quilt down to me.

It was made by my great-great grandmother.

She called it "The Life Before."

It's a story quilt. It's meant to be read.

When I was a little girl, my Aunt Pauline... would tell me the story from the quilt.

How my great grandparents met.

My great grandmother was just a young woman when slavery was ending.

When she was finally free, she set out to look for her parents... who had been sold off years before.

[ Cawing ]

One day, after many months of travel, she saw a crow sitting on a fence.

Something told her, "Follow that crow."

The crow led her to a young man working his acres.

And my great grandmother, she knew in her heart... that she was supposed to stop right there.

It seems that the search for her parents... had led her to the man God had intended for her to marry.

Every night I'd listen to my Aunt Pauline tell that story.

And I'd think to myself, "Okay, I'm gonna keep my eyes out for that crow.

One day he'll lead me to my own true love."

During the depression we had no money to pay for shoes or schoolbooks.

So my Aunt Pauline... sold off the quilt to the woman she worked for.

The woman paid Aunt Pauline $12... and hung our quilt on her wall.

Where did you get this marvelous piece?

Pauline sold it to me ten years ago.

Pauline sold it to me ten years ago.

[ The Mrs. ] I got it for a steal!

[ Anna Narrating ] I felt like whatever I knew of the life before... was now gone.

[ The Mrs. ] Anna, would you serve the next course?

Don't let that son of mine laze around here all summer.

I'm expecting him to do some honest work.

Oh, don't worry. We'll have him cleaning out the stables.

Come on now.

[ The Mrs. ] We'll think of something for him to do.

Hello, Anna.

It's okay. We can talk as equals.

I don't believe in that servant-master sort of thing.

You think I thought you were my master?

Well, no, l--

Maybe I just didn't answer you because I wanted to be alone.

Touche.

Excuse me?

It's a French expression.

So, whatcha looking at?

Pegasus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia, [ Sniffs ] Hercules, the Herdsman with the star Arcturus in his knee, and--

Uh... sorry.

You're cold. I'm okay.

I once took my coat off... and put it around this girl.

She told me she could feel the heat from my body... still in the lining.

Can you feel it?

Yeah... it's there.

You ever been with a boy before?

[ Whispering ] This okay?

You scared?

Of what?

[ Rooster Crows ]

This is your quilt now, Anna.

And you must tell the stories to your child.

Won't you get in trouble? I'll pay her back.

[ Anna Narrating ] It was arranged for me to stay with the Rubens family, where I would do housework and mending... while I waited for the birth of my baby.

And it was there that I first met... your Grandma Hy and your Aunt Glady Joe.

Hy, Glady Joe, the church has sent us over another girl.

She will be staying with us until it's her time.

And as usual, I expect both of you to treat her with kindness and tolerance.

Now, Anna is a Negro so we must be especially nice to her--

Hyacinth, would you put down the magazine please?

Ow! Quit it.

Glady Joe, why don't you show Anna her room?

[ Phonograph: Swing ]

[ Knock At Door ] It's Glady Joe. Are you in there?

I was wondering if you'd ever read this. It's called Wuthering Heights.

Would you like to borrow it? It's the best book I've ever read.

Oh, my gosh!

This is very artistic! How long have you been doing this?

All the women in my family quilt.

Hmm. Gee, I'd love to learn how to do that.

Hy plays the piano, but I haven't as yet found an outlet for my artistic expression.

I've been reading about injustice and slavery in America, and it just makes me want to cry.

Everyone says how great Thomas Jefferson was, but he owned slaves just like the rest of 'em.

I brought this up with my teacher and she says, "Well, Glady Joe, everybody owned slaves back then. It was considered normal."

Can you believe that? Ah, what a dimwit.

I swear, this world is filled with ignorami.

Look, I gotta finish this quilt for my baby, and I'm kinda in a hurry.

Oh, all right. Well--

Um, I'll leave this book for you.

Tell me how you like it.

[ Piano Scales ]

[ Sighs ]

Anna?

Tch, you're sewing crooked. Do it again.

[ Groans ]

Glady? Mother!

[ Baby Crying ]

[ Mrs. Rubens ] You look much better, dear.

I made this for the baby.

Oh.

Now, Anna, some ladies from the church will be coming to see you today.

I'm not giving them my baby!

I'm raising Marianna myself.

But, Anna, don't you want what's best for the child?

Y es, ma'am!

That's why I'm keeping her.

[ Anna Narrating ] As Marianna grew, I told her the story from the quilt.

And I came to realize I had become part of that story too.

It wasn't the love of a husband I was meant to find, but the love... of my daughter.

Oh, God, look at that!

[ Anna ] I never liked full moons.

They give people an excuse to do foolish things.

Well, I'm young. I'm supposed to do foolish things.

And spend the rest of your life paying for them?

Well, it's better than spending the rest of my life wondering what I missed.

I'd rather wonder than kick myself.

I'd rather kick myself.

Fine.

You will end up with a deeply sore backside.

[ Sighs ]


[ Marianna ] This is Eric who made perfumes in Provence.

[ Laughing ] This... Michel.

He's a Frenchman. Fisherman from Marseilles.

Wow. Paco.

Paco raised bulls in Spain.

Luciano, who did marvelous things... with olive oil.

Ooh, la la.

I was a wild thing.

All these men trying to tie me down.

To marry me. Marry me... in five different languages.

I refuse to be tied down to anyone.

Good. Good for you.

Oh, you think so? Are you kidding?

To have that kind of courage.

Especially someone from your generation.

Really? You see, what they don't tell us... is that marriage is this anachronistic institution... created for the sole convenience of the father, who needs to pass off his daughters over to the care of another man like, "Here, here, she eats too much. Take her off my hands."

But now, now that we've gotten our independence, we earn our own livings, there's really no purpose in being someone's wife.

Why can't we love as many people as we want in a lifetime?

Monogamy is really a very unnatural state... that's been forced on us for centuries by screwed-up religious leaders... who are completely out of touch with their own sexuality.

You know what I mean?

Have you been talking to your fiance about any of this?

All right. Let me ask you this.

If you had to choose between marrying a lover or marrying... a friend, who would you choose?

[ Speaking French ]

I would marry my soul mate.

Who is it?

He's the only man I don't have a picture of.

[ Marianna ] I don't even know his name.

[ Man ] Mademoiselle?

[ Marianna Narrating ] I was in Paris. I had just turned 30... and my latest love affair was over.

The stranger sat down at my table... and ordered me some cake while I cried into his handkerchief.

Before long, I told him about my broken heart.

Then he told me about his poetry and his thoughts on love.

The afternoon became night.

I knew he had somewhere else to go, but I found myself asking him... to have dinner with me. Then have dinner with me.

Look, I already have a dinner to go to... with my wife.

This is what I wrote today.

[ Marianna Narrating ] As he left, he gave me one of his poems.

Read it.

"Young lovers seek perfection.

Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together, and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches."

You better get home.

I think the weather's changing.

Mom?

[ Gasps ] Babe!

Hi. Hey!

I thought that was you.

[ Giggles ]

[ Giggles ] What?

Ahh.

Your father and l are getting remarried.

What?

Your father and l are getting remarried.

Since when? Well, um--

We ran into each other... a couple months ago, and thought we'd have dinner and you know, catch up.

And... [ Sighs ] it just turned into one of those wild things, and we closed the restaurant.

And then we took a long walk, and pretty soon we were making out in the moonlight.

[ Giggles ] Oh, look, I got goose bumps.

Does Grandma know? Y eah!

What does she think?

Oh, she's fine about it!

Was Dad planning on letting me know about this?

No. He wanted me to tell you first.

And we want you to come to the wedding.

Oh... thanks.

That's an odd response.

Well, Mom, give me a minute here.

You can't expect me to make this instant switch... after you've been telling me my whole life what an asshole my dad is.

Honey, he was. And so was l.

But we've forgiven each other.

It would've been nice if you had done this forgiving thing 20 years ago.

We couldn't! We had a lot of growing up to do.

Well, I get to grow up with you telling me that marriage is bullshit.

Oh, I never said that! Yes, you did!

You did say that, Mom!

No. No, I didn't. You did, Mom!

We were sitting in your kitchen a couple months ago... and you were pouring me that awful B-Bachnia-- Bancha.

Banachia tea, and you said, I remember your exact words.

You said that "lifetime commitments were impossible to keep, and that serial monogamy was the only way to go."

Why would I say such a bizarre thing?

You say things like that all the time.

Well... I've changed my mind.

Do you have any idea how crazy you've made me?

Then you shouldn't listen to me.

Well, it's too late.

The imprint's been made. I'm a mess!

Oh, Finn, give it a break! You're not a mess.

And for a 26-year-old--

I was a mess. I was a mess.

At least you know what you want.

No, I don't.

Yes, you do.

You're just scared.

Maybe I've been a flake... and you want to tie me up and do a slide show of my crimes.

Fine. But then move on and... Iive your life.

Mom? What?

Do you like Sam?

Yes. Yeah.

Yeah, I do. I like him a lot.

So why don't you ever tell me?

'Cause it shouldn't matter what I think.

I've been fooling around on him. Oh, don't be stupid!

I know, I know.

Oh!

[ Sighs ]

Don't ever tell him.

Oh!


What in the world?

[ Glass Shattering ]

Shut the door, Mom!


Oh!


Finny, here. I found these inside. I'll help you out here.

I'm never gonna find them all.

I didn't even make a copy!

It's a year and a half of my life... gone.

I hope you're not saying that you're giving up.

My notes are everywhere!

I'd have to go back and rewrite it, reconstruct the whole thing.

I just can't do that.

You think it's easier to start all over again with something else?

I don't know. Y es.

Well... how nice to be so... unattached to something.

[ Dog Barking ]

[ Vacuum Whirring ]

[ Sighs ]

[ Hammering ]

[ Glass Shattering ]


[ Car Radio: Spanish "El Vicio Del Amor" Performed By Dimanchy ]

Just stay in your truck, Leon. Why?

Because if you don't, I'm gonna have to kiss you!


[ Finn Narrating ] That summer the Grasse Quilting Bee... did something they'd never done before.

Anna called everyone back... and wouldn't let them go home until they finished the quilt.

They all worked 73 straight hours... sustained by Anna's will and gallons of ice tea.


Glady? Mother!

That's good work.


Ow! Quit it.

Thank you.


You know... you're not as attractive as I thought you were.

Well, thank you.


Did you get the pages that I found in my yard?

I gave 'em to your grandma. Yeah, thank you.

They were wrinkled so I ironed them out.

I singed... one of the pages.

I think you're only missing a word or two.

Oh. Okay. That's fine.

It's really good, what I read so far.

I'd like to read the whole thing when you're done.

You're a good writer.

Thank you.

I was a diver.

I know.


[ Birds Chirping ]

[ Dog Barking ]


[ Caws ]


[ Panting ]


Finn!

I'm sorry. I'm early.

I was gonna wait until everybody got--


[ Finn Narrating ] I'll tell you what makes me happy about marrying Sam.

I know our marriage has as good a chance of being wonderful... as it does of missing the mark.

However, I'm banking on our love for each other... to weigh a bit heavier on the wonderful side.

As Anna says about making a quilt, you have to choose your combination carefully.

The right choices will enhance your quilt.

The wrong choices will dull the colors, hide their original beauty.

There are no rules you can follow.

You have to go by instinct... and you have to be brave.