Mom’s smocked pillow

I absolutely love this smocked pillow mom made in the late 60s.

She died in 1973.  Dad remained in the family home and remarried. I can’t remember when I was given this pillow. Maybe, it was when Dad and Carole redecorated the livingroom. But that doesn’t matter. I’m just glad I have it.

I’ve noticed in the past few years that these smocked pillows are becoming popular again. I doubt I’ll ever try smocking, but then you never know!!


For years it sat on my recliner. Ace, our sweet baby who died several years ago, loved to sit with it.


But so did Puddin.


Shortly after Ace died, I noticed that it was getting kind of wonky. One of the buttons finally came off so I put it on my bookcase shelf.


Recently, I was straightening out the bookcase. When I grabbed the pillow I could tell the foam insert was crumbling. Here is what it looked like after I removed it. Yuck!


I ordered a 12-inch insert which measured only 10 inches, and sent it back. I ordered from another company. It was a little larger, but not big enough for this pillow. Finally, I ordered a 14-inch insert and that was perfect. Now to sew it back together.



Here it is. All ready for more sitting. I love this pillow. It shows one of mom’s sewing skills. Even though she’s been gone for almost 47 years, it’s nice to still have part of her around me.


And this brings me to more thoughts of family, the past, and the pandemic we are going through. While researching my family tree I came upon interesting information about my great great grandmother on my maternal side. I had never heard the story, and only found out about it through old newspapers.

Catherina Burk Haag was born in 1817, and immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1830s.  She and her husband George K Haag had seven children. George died in 1859 when she was 42, leaving her alone to raise all of their children, ages one to 20.

Catherine Haag
Catherina Burk Haag

In 1875 a Small Pox epidemic was spreading across the country. Unlike today where we can get news 24/7 about COVID-19, back then the newspapers contained limited coverage. Catherina was a farmer’s widow, so she depended on her sons to work the land. By that time, two of her sons, including my great grandfather, were married and out of the house. However, she still had three sons at home to farm: Carl 17, William 21, and George K 26.

On June 9, 1875 the local newspaper, The Evansville (Indiana) Courier and Press, printed an article titled, “Suit for Damage for the Loss of Three Sons.” Carl had died first of Small Pox while working the land several weeks earlier, and within a couple weeks, Catherina’s three sons were dead. In the article the newspaper gave the reason they didn’t report these deaths earlier: “We refrained from publishing these facts at the time of the occurrence, believing that it would revert to the injury of the city, knowing how these reports are exaggerated every time they are repeated.”

Catherina lived next to the county pest house which housed poor people. Many of that population were sick. Her boys were outside constantly plowing the fields. She believed the deaths of her children resulted from negligence on the part of the city and county and she sued. She lost her case, but she appealed it to the Supreme Court. They overturned the lower court’s decision, and won her case in 1878.

I admire this strong woman, and happy to know she was a part of my family tree. She ended up living another 20 years, dying at the age of 78. Her son, my great grandfather, Peter Haag, was also a farmer, so I assume that after his siblings died he helped his mother out. Or more than likely he and his brothers who survived that pandemic, were already farming the land. I wish grandma had told me this story.

So as we are hunkering down in our homes, we know we will get through this. If Catherina could, I sure can. Stay safe and stay healthy.