Karl and Houston

Many of you have been following the saga of our son Karl’s student teaching stint in Houston, TX.  Well  he arrived there around the 13th of August.  He started going to teacher orientation and setting up the classroom on the 14th.  On the 24th they had open house and kids came and met their teachers.  They announced that there would be no school on Monday the 28th and the teachers didn’t have to be at school on Friday the 25th.

We had been watching the weather all along….We’re Iowa people.  We were born in Minnesota and moved to Iowa.  We don’t know a thing about hurricanes.  We talked back and forth with Karl.  We didn’t know what to do.  Right now he’s living with friends but wants to be careful not of over stay his welcome or be taxing on them.  When I went to sleep late on Thursday the 24th, the plan was to access the situation and make a decision in the morning.  All I could think about was the people in the Astrodome after Katrina.  I didn’t want that for Karl.  I didn’t know where he could go except out of Texas.  I had a couple blog readers write to me and say if Karl needs help when he’s down here let us know.  In the back of my mind, I thought if nothing else, I’ll ask a blog reader to house him for a day or two until the storm either happens or blows over.

Friday morning I woke to a text from Karl that said, “I left Houston.  I’m on the way to Dallas.  Can you find me a place to stay?”  WHAT?  I thought we were waiting a bit.  I was up and scrambling trying to figure out what to do.  Then I remembered that Cheryl, the blog reader that does all the charity quilts for House of Hope in Florida is in Texas.  Although our relationship is over the internet, I decided to take a chance and ask Cheryl.  I sent out an email and quick wrote a blog post in case things didn’t work with Cheryl.  She could have been out of town or not up to it.  I wanted to have my bases covered just in case.

A short bit later, Cheryl got back to me and all things were a go.  The plan was that Karl would stay for two nights and then decide what to do.  If the hurricane was indeed a problem, he would come home.  If it wasn’t, he’d go back to Houston.  Well, you all know what happened.  Harvey hit.


Cheryl was so sweet to Karl.  She did some good old fashion cooking for him which Karl loved.  I can’t thank her and all of you who offered help enough.  It’s so great to know that our family has friends near and far…some we just haven’t met yet.  THANKS SO MUCH from Hubby, Karl and me!!

Sunday, Karl made the LONG drive towards home.  He didn’t want to spend the money on a hotel so he drove from Dallas to about an hour from Des Moines where his girlfriend’s mom lives.  He made it in at about 3am.  He slept there and then made the last trek home to our house in Waucoma.

Karl was a real trooper.  He helped with childcare and tackled many of the extra jobs around here.  He even had some sewing time with me.


Well when Thursday rolled around Karl got word that school would be cancelled for another week.  Okay.  Now he will have missed TWO weeks of student teaching.  Would that be okay with his college?  Would he teach enough to still be credited for student teaching.  Friday he got word that if he was volunteering and logging that work, it would be counted towards teaching hours.

I had already started working on some charity quilts for him to take to Texas, this put us in hyper drive.  Karl started sewing and doing more jobs around the house so I was free to machine quilt.   I didn’t spend a lot of time picking and choosing what to quilt.  If it was on the pile and we had a quick back, that was the quilt I did.

This disappearing four patch made by Diane Vaclavick in Sweeney, TX was a joy to work on.  The colors were awesome and will be perfect for anyone….young, old, male or female.  It’s really the perfect type of donation quilt.  It is twin sized.


I worked up to the very last second and had only minutes to photograph these before he left.  I had wanted to take a picture of the quilt close up.  The cream backgrounds are not all the same.  Diane must have wanted to use up her muslin and cream scraps.  It is barely noticeable.  She did an awesome job on the quilt!!

The backing was quick but okay.  I had two pieces of fabric that coordinated.  I simply sewed them together!  No frills but very functional.


I used a cream thread on top and a brown on the back.  I found a nice gold for the binding that looked wonderful with the top.

Typically I don’t bind charity quilts anymore.  I send them off to volunteer binders and they send the quilt on to the charity of their choice.  In this case, I bound them.  I wanted Karl to be able to take them with him when he went.  By me binding them, he could and we could save lots of money in postage.

Next up is another quilt from Diane.  This one is a simple baby quilt.  See?This one I had machine quilted a month or so ago.  It was in a pile waiting to be sent out to a volunteer binder.


I am so happy with this one too.  It would be perfect for a boy.  So often the quilts I get are VERY girlish…  This will be a very needed functional quilt.  Sometimes we all get too hung up on designs and fabrics.  I often say, never underestimate the power of a simple quilt.  This is especially true with charity quilts.


A simple blue binding and blue backing was all it needed to complete it.


Karl and I managed to get three more quilts finished and I sent one of mine so we moved six finished out of my house and onto Houston.

Karl left yesterday.  He spent the night in Cedar Rapids and went out for supper with Kayla and Buck.  Today he’s up and on the road making the trek back to Houston.  I’ve asked him to take some pictures and do a guest blog post about how things are from his perspective later this week.  I hope he does as I will find that really interesting as well.

Before he left we started watching the news and looking ahead to Hurricane Irma.  Fingers are crossed at our house that it will simply turn and go out to sea.  Before Karl’s experience we were a little naive in our Midwest thinking….hurricanes don’t affect us….but they sure can.

As Karl got ready to go, I was sad all over again.  I like things so much better when the kids are close.  There are so many fewer variables to their safety….so much less to worry about.  Last time Karl left I told him Carver would be walking when he got back and sure enough a couple days later he was walking.


This time I told Karl that Carver would be saying LOTS more words by the time he got back.  Our other kids are planning to go and see him in Houston one weekend in October.  There were some super cheap flights from Chicago to Houston for $80 round trip including taxes and fees so their off to have a sibling weekend.  Hubby will be in the field harvesting so I opted to stay home and help take care of Carver so Kalissa could go.

Hubby and I might try to visit a different time…we’ll see what happens.

For now, all I know is that as you are reading this the Lincoln that he’s driving is somewhere between here and Houston and there are six charity quilts in the back seat ready for delivery.  I’ll tell you more about the other charity quilts tomorrow.



10 thoughts on “Karl and Houston”

  1. I missed 9 days of student teaching during the Blizzard Of ’78. My time still counted. Glad you got some time with your son.

  2. Karl will really get an initiation by fire in Houston. So many of the kids will be traumatized even if not flooded out. Not all the schools affected but enough to make it hard on everyone. He will learn a lot.

  3. Jo, thank you for sharing your story as I feel we all were wondering how it was going for Karl. Blessings to Cheryl as I bet she had a great time with him:) The charity quilts are all beautiful and will comfort those who receive them. Safe travels to Karl and prayers for him that mentally he can deal with all the destruction he will see.

  4. Jo,

    I seriously just had tears in my eyes. This is such a great heart ❤️ warming Momma/Son story, Yes, we live in Iowa. And yes, we are clueless about the destruction of hurricanes. But here in NE Iowa we know all too well the damage of floods, (Especially in the last 10 years.)

    But what I loved MOST about this blogpost is the many themes of the bond of a mother and her son, the community of quilters across this nation, and the charity that is alive and well!

    Thank you for the update!

    (I need to make a road trip with some more goodies, instead of mailing them from Manchester!). I also think it is time I signed up to be a binder!!

    Love and Hugs,
    Jean F

  5. So glad you updated us on Karl and his ordeal in Houston, hurricanes are a serious thing. Hope he arrives safely in Houston and that his school kids are doing okay. How wonderful of Cheryl to help him out, blessings to her. Our son was sent in after Katerina to help get the communications back up, the devastation was massive. He took so many pictures and lived out of his work truck for weeks. Hope Karl does write a blog to keep us updated.

  6. Mary Etherington`

    Oh, Karl – please take care and enjoy your student teaching! It was such fun to see you at Antiques in the Park. God’s very best to you!

  7. Thanks for the update with Karl. I hope that he will have time to give a guest post. The picture of Carver and his uncle Karl is a good one. Both look so happy. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you for the update! Karl might be going there to teach, but he is going to be learning a lot too. Drive safe Karl and prayers to all in Texas. I hope Karl does write a post, it will be interesting to us all. And a big hug to Cheryl!!!

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