Published: Jan 19, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 19, 2013 05:06 PM
CHAPEL HILL - The weather forecasters said the hurricane would hit Miami Beach. The bird knew better.
The storm was still hours off when Christine Hodder’s parrot, Jaco, started flapping his wings and making noise in Kendall, southeast of Miami.
As the winds picked up, Hodder says the bird must have sensed the roof vibrations. As the bathroom ceiling started caving in, she packed him up and hightailed it to the second floor
“We knew the trusses were going,” she recalled.
Hurricane Andrew, the first storm of the 1992 Atlantic hurricane season, would prove one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The storm killed 65 people and caused an estimated $26 billion in damage.
But that pales compared to the storm that brought Hodder to St. Thomas More Catholic Church last weekend.
Members of the Durham-Orange Quilters’ Guild gathered Saturday to make quilts for victims of Hurricane Sandy, an even more devastating storm. Congress is preparing a $60 billion recovery plan.
The quilts won’t bring back the lost houses and businesses. But guild members said they wanted to show they cared.
More than 50 quilters spent the day sewing bright, patterned squares together, pinning and sewing the colorful quilt tops to soft cotton insulating batting and backing to create the three-layer covers.
“I had no idea,” donations chairwoman Mary Ed Williams said of the turnout. “I was stunned.”
The guild, which has about 200 members, makes small children’s quilts it gives to the N.C. Children’s Hospital. Saturday’s quilts, headed for New Jersey, were larger lap quilts, about 5 feet by 6 feet.
It can take two 8-hour days to make a quilt, and that’s just the sewing part.
“There is a lot that goes into making a quilt,” said Kathy Friedman, who sat quietly hand sewing blue binding around the edges of a quilt.
“But we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it,” she continued. “The fact that somebody I don’t even know is going to wrap up in one of the quilts I made is” – she paused and gently thumped her chest – “heartwarming to me.”
Several quilters were relatively new to the craft. Hodder came because she likes service projects.
“We lost all our furniture, we lost all our keepsakes” in Hurricane Andrew, she said. “We were in a third-floor apartment and the roof lifted off.” After the storm their apartment was vandalized.
But they didn’t lose everything.
Jaco, an African grey, one of the smartest and longest-lived in the parrot family, is 28 years old now.
Hodder expects to leave him to someone in her will.