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RE: Thanks from New Orleans

Sent: March 14, 2006

Hi Stitchers -
Just wanted to share an email with you that I got from my shopowner friend over in New Orleans that we sent most of your "Katrina donations" to. As many of you know, we collected a lot of "stash" for "Sister Stitchers" who lost so much to Hurricane Katrina last year. My parents took a truck load (literally) to the shop over in New Orleans and they had a special shopping day this past weekend. Here is the email that I received about their day - I wanted you to know how much your donations helped so many people. I emailed Gayle to ask if I could share her message that went to shops and she agreed, saying that most of the stuff came from our stitchers! Read on but be warned - you may need kleenex!!
From Gayle:

August 29, 2005.Not a date many will remember, but one that people in New Orleans will never forget. It will forever be etched in our memory as the day Hurricane Katrina transformed the geography and the lives of the entire N.O. metropolitan area --- and the day the entire Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas experienced the fury of Katrina's far reaching winds.

March 12, 2006. A date I will remember as the day stitchers, whose lives and possessions were torn apart just six short months ago, came to shop for free replacement stitching supplies so generously donated by sister stitchers across our nation including many of you on this board. We called the event the Katrina FREE Shopping Spree and set the hours for noon-6 p.m. Sunday in order that customers who were living away would have the opportunity to attend. The event was only for stitchers who had lost their stitching supplies to flood or wind during the storm. We had no idea exactly how many stitchers would come.

Well, they did come, and they stayed for hours. I cannot convey the emotions of this shopping day except to tell you that I had the great honor of watching how the beauty of stitching affects the human spirit. Shoppers sat on the floor sifting thru box after box of magazines and books; stood around tables looking through kits and fibers; fabrics and accessories. They talked to each other about their Katrina experience as they sifted. When they found something that they had heard another speak of earlier, they couldn't wait to pass it to that person. When they found something that they had owned and were able to replace they cried. And we all cried with them, and laughed with them, and hugged each other, and healed another little part of the wound left by Katrina.

I re-learned from those who lost every possession they owned that life's important "things" are not those that have financial value, but those that are not replaceable such as a photograph of a deceased child or parent; finding a treasured possession in the ruins of your home; connections with people who have shared your history; and friends you come to know along the path of life.

How grateful I am to have been the "middleman" in this awe-inspiring experience. I thank each of you for helping to make this day happen. You contributed by having a shop that allows people to come and purchase a piece of this beauty; by designing beautiful charts, or fabrics; by manufacturing items that allow those less talented to participate in the joy and beauty of stitching; by teaching people how to execute a stitch thereby lifting their confidence; by importing materials for us to use; by so many ways that we'll never know.

I bless each of you with all of the beauty, peace and joy of life that you are willing to grab hold of today. As one of the shoppers said Sunday, "we're not promised tomorrow" so don't let this day go by without getting on your tippy toes and grabbing at least a portion of that blessing.

Laissez les bon temps rouler! (let the good times roll - and remember, even in the bad times, there is good to be seen and experienced.)

Gayle Horton, Accents Inc
3501 Severn Ave., Ste 1B
Metairie LA 70002
Please also tell your customers that we decided to raffle the Ott Light. Everyone who attended put their name into the hat and we drew a winner out at the end of the day. The winner was Mary Gleason, a stitcher who lost everything to the Katrina flood waters and is now living in a company (fema??) trailer just a block away from my shop.

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