Although Alabama Route 5 in Alberta is now home to several important quiltmakers including Polly Bennett and Gearldine Westbrook, Mertlene Perkins is the only one who has spent her entire life there.
I was born two miles from here, in Gastonburg, and grew up in Alberta. My father was Isom Martin and my mother was Maggie Tripp before she married my father. Daddy worked on the railroad and Mama farmed. When I was big enough I worked in the fields, reckon I was about seven or eight years old, helped doing something in there. I enjoyed it. Anywhere my mother be, I enjoyed it, helping her. Raised cotton, corn, peanuts, potatoes. Had a garden. Mostly we ate what we raised, or give away.
I went to school in Prairie, went to Macedonia out there, stayed in school for nine years. Married Herman Perkins. We farmed around here, worked the fields, rented the land. Sometimes we come out ahead.
Making quilts was my enjoyment. I been doing that since I was old enough. My mother taught me. My grandmother, too. But I just make up my own quilts. I really don't follow nobody's ideas but mine.