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The Memory Stitch Story

The inspiration behind MemoryStitches.com

In January, 2012, a very dear friend of mine, Masa Goetz, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Masa was 84 and though some might think this as "getting on", Masa's spirit was so strong and vibrant that she still was running circles around most of us. Needless to say, this diagnosis was a devastating blow to all of us who loved her.

It did not take Masa long to decide that she would just let nature take it's course. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most formidable cancers. Masa had no desire to go through months and months of surgeries, chemo, radiation. Her cheerful pronouncement of "Halleluha! I now know my due date!" (she had been worrying if her money would last out her life time) left most of us bewildered and bizarrely feeling almost happy for her.  

Masa's life was rich in memories. Just the ten years that I had known her had produced many memorable occasions. It was extremely important to Masa  to leave a legacy of her life to her family and friends. One morning in early February, I woke up with the idea for a virtual memory quilt. And I knew I had something that I could do for this fantastic woman.

Cykic Software had already developed website builder technology that I felt could be used to build this quilt site. My idea was to make it a community project. Let friends and family create their own patches with their own memories to share. Patches would be created with a mini paint app we would develop using the latest Internet technology. Behind each patch would be the associated memories, be them photos, stories, video, songs, or a collection. Contributors could drag their patches around anywhere they wanted, allowing them to add to the artistic look and feel of the quilt.

It was extremely important to me to have this up and running for Masa while we still had her with us.  For her also. She was very excited about the idea and realized that it would give her a place to showcase all the memories of her life. It would be available to her family, her friends, and the public for years to come.  She confided to me once that her grandmother's fondest wish had been to see the family history preserved for future generations. The virtual quilt seemed quite perfect to her as a means to do this.

We ended up only having three months.  Masa passed away on April 23rd. But with myself and nephew Zach burning the midnight oil, her quilt was up and running. Not entirely bug-free, but working well enough to have all the most important memories up there. It made a huge difference to Masa and  family and friends spread all over the world. Everyone could celebrate her life.

Masa made me promise that we would take this idea and shape it into a site where anyone could build a quilt. For past and present loved ones, pets, and any kind of event where shared memories were important.

And, well, here it is..... dedicated to the one and only Queen Bee...  Masa Goetz!

September 23, 2012

Kit Gateley


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