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Geneseo woman, 95, makes 102 pillowcase dresses for Christmas boxes
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Geneseo woman, 95, makes 102 pillowcase dresses for Christmas boxes

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Norma Lodge

Norma Lodge, Geneseo, has been staying home and staying busy. She celebrated her 95th birthday on July 20, and recently completed more than 100 "pillowcase" dresses to be included in Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

GENESEO — Norma Lodge celebrated her 95th birthday, and though the current COVID-19 pandemic has kept her sheltering-in-place, she keeps busy in doing for others.

She completed 102 "pillowcase" dresses to be included in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Friends and family members remembered her special day by sending birthday cards in observance of her birthday on July 20, but the family celebration was put on hold.

She lives by the parable from Matthew 7:12, which reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and she said, “I think that is what the Lord wants us to do — help others.

She made many similar little "pillowcase" dresses that were sent to Haiti with the mission teams from her home church, Grace United Methodist Church in Geneseo.

“All of the little dresses are not made from pillowcases,” she said. “I have lots of material given to me, and I also use that for the dresses.”

Lodge also is among the faithful servants of the United Methodist Women at Grace Church who make what they call “ugly quilts” for people experiencing homelessness.

The quilts are warm and cozy, but are called “ugly” because of the variety of fabrics, colors and patterns used to make them. The project began more than 20 years ago when Lodge shared the idea with her Circle members.

The women meet at 9 a.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the church. They bring the quilts they have made and spend time together tying the layers of fabric.

The quilts are made in three parts — a sheet makes up the inside layer. The inside of the quilt is a clean, new or used blanket or mattress pad, used as a filler and adds to the warmth and the outside is the cover or the “ugly part,” made by sewing together pieces of scrap material. The 72-inch square quilts can easily be made into a sleeping bag.

“I hope other women will join our group, because we could use more help,” Lodge said.

She delivered 15 quilts to Humility of Mary in Davenport in June.

The group also remembers shut-ins twice each year with visits and “goodie cups” filled with candy and cookies. ”We took the ‘goodies’ in November and in April, but now with the COVID -19, we don’t know when we will taking any of the treats,” Lodge said.

Music has been an important part of her life too, and Lodge was a choir member at her church until she turned 90, when she chose to drop out “because it just became too difficult.”

Her late husband, Glenn Lodge, was a well-known area musician, and Lodge said the entire family enjoyed music.

“Singing is something we could do together,” she said. “We weren’t rich and that didn’t cost money.”

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