September 27, 2010

Dale's Panel in the AIDS Quilt

AIDS Quilt block at the AIDS Walk 2010. Published in the Union Tribune, Local section, 9-26-10, copyright Photographer: Charlie Neuman: used without permission. Dale’s Panel in the upper right corner of the block.

It’s AIDS Walk time again, and while the Geezer and I were immersed in our meetings in the Valley, they marched and ran in Balboa Park. At the start of the ceremonies, they unfolded an AIDS Quilt block made by Stir M’s quilt makers in 2002 that includes a panel for my friend Dale. (Has it been that long?) This was the second panel I made for Dale.

The first panel for Dale on display in 2001.

The first panel was a many layered thing that told the story of his loves in colorful layers glued and sewn on. When it was done, we sewed it into a block that went off to AIDS Quilt Headquarters…which moved to Atlanta and changed the rules.

Being sewn and presented in a ceremony 6-2001.

When it became impossible for our small impoverished chapter to bring Quilt from Headquarters to San Diego, we decided to apply a little creativity….with permission. I duplicated Dales block, but this time I kept the background a solid color. Here it is finished in May of 2003.

Oh, dale would have laughed at me peeking over the top.

The new panel was sewn into a block made up of locals, and shown many times before the chapter was dissolved.

The Geezer is putting grommets around the edge of the finished block so it can be displayed on a special frame.

We brought the blocks home….four of them, and the Geezer installed grommets on our garage floor.

Here the block is on display for a Mama’s Kitchen Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2005.

Dr. Jay and I had just been talking about the continuing spread of AIDS yesterday evening. Then this morning, this treat in the paper. I hadn’t seen this panel I made for Dale since it was last used at a Mama’s Tree Lighting fund raiser. Then, this morning, there it was in black and white on an inside page of my local section.

“Look, Geezer, look,” I said with great surprise, “There’s Dale.”

I still feel passionate about his too early death, but I no longer cry when I see his name, I smile.


  1. What poignant story of of your quilt's travels. I remember years ago when it was announced on the media that soon we would all know someone with AIDS and sadly it's proved to be true. The numbers seem to be rising again and its important work to keep the word out for prevention and help.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I love to think that the Dale panel was a part of many moments and a longer journey. Also lovely to hear that your heart warms instead of weeps at the mention of his name.

  3. I lost a dear friend to AIDS a while back, too. It's such a sad memory. I can still see his smile. Your quilt block is beautiful. I know Dale is smiling down at you.

  4. ...and was that you sitting at the sewing machine at the top? Your talent really knows no bounds, you know?

  5. Oh, but that eloquent and beautiful tribute made me cry.

  6. The quilts are so spectacular. The memories just shine out of the panels. Good work to remember an obviously good man.

  7. A truly lovely tribute. But I am confused. Why did they change the rules? I don't understand.

  8. You should be proud of all your wonderful work. I'm really touched by your and Geezer's commitment.

    I'm also impressed by your ability to sew!! If I held up something I had sewn, people would be staring in wonder -- wondering what it was!!


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...