‘Heart of Demopolis’ quilt hand-delivered back home

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 27, 2006

She won the quilt fair and square, so rightfully it’s hers for the keeping. But instead of displaying the quilt in her Milton, New Hampshire home, Mary Lou DeMeester made the decision to hand deliver it back to the city of Demopolis.

It was 2004 when DeMeester was named winner of the “Heart of Demopolis” quilt at Christmas on the River, but she had already left town when her name was called.

“I had a booth set up and I barely heard them call ‘Mary’ over the speakers,” her sister Gloria Buck of Demopolis said. “Then I heard them say ‘Lou,” so I kept listening and she started saying ‘De- De-‘ and I said DeMeester.”

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After accepting the quilt on behalf of her sister, the work of art created by south Alabama resident Marie Brooks was sent to its lucky owner.

“For stuff like that…if it helps a good cause, I’ll try it. I took a chance on the quilt and I won it,” DeMeester said, although her sister had taken chances on quilts at every craft show she’s been to and never won.

“I wanted it to stay down here, but I took it home because I had a brother I wanted to show it to.”

“It took her a year and four months to send it, but its here now,” Buck said. “It’s just too glorious for one person to have, so she decided to give it back to the city.”

It took Brooks a year and a half to create the photographic artwork, Buck said, which features pictures of famous strictly-Demopolis scenes such as Christmas on the River, the Gaineswood Belles outside the mansion, the Demopolis High football team the year it won the championship, the city’s water tower and the “Welcome to Demopolis” sign on Alabama Highway 80 East.

“It’s a very generous gift and it displays a lot of activities that go on here,” Chamber of Commerce president Kelley Smith said, “It’s a piece of Demopolis history.”

Although no one is sure where the quilt will be displayed, Smith said it will either be in the Demopolis Public Library, the Chamber of Commerce, or the Demopolis City Hall.

But wherever it is, Smith hopes it’s somewhere “where there is a lot traffic” and can be appreciated by the masses.