| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    As she watched the presentation, memories began to overcome her. She started to remember these very stories and words. The stories of the unbelievable humans she heard of as a child, they were coming back to her. At the end of the presentation, she stood up and told the audience of how she was told many of the discussed topics by her Grandmother as a child. She is now at about the age that her Grandmother was when she told her the stories. She wants others to know them, so they can tell the stories when she's gone. Mrs. Charlene Ganga was a member of the audience during the anticipated presentation by Trish Chambers, a Civil War era re-enactor. The event, funded by the Woodbury Historical Society, brought the audience members back into the time of slavery and Civil War in America, or as Trish calls it, "a time in which portrays our country at its best and worst." The event which was titled "Freedom quilts and the Underground railroad" brought out over fifty people to the library and senior center in Highland Mills. Many who attended were extremely impressed with the event after the show ended. Jean and Rich Donnelly, who came from Tuxedo for the event, both thought that the presentation was fascinating. Jean, who owns a similar quilt as to the one Trish spoke about which contains codes, said "I didn't know about any of this, any of the symbolism, its great." Her husband Rich voiced a similar opinion, "I was very impressed with the presentation and I had no idea about any of this either. I thought, like anyone else would, that a quilt like this was just a quilt with a pretty pattern, but it's a lot more." The event, hosted by the historical society and organized by Dot Morris, the program chair, provided an afternoon which many present said they would never forget. This included the two children who eyes were fixed to Trish from the front row the entire time. Trish Chambers, who is an independent Civil-War re-enactor, was dressed in a complete outfit from the time period which would typically be worn by women when they went shopping or visiting friends. Chambers discussed how the "Underground railroad", which was a route of safe passage for escaped slaves from the south to the north, took place not only in the Woodbury area but the entire Hudson Valley. "There were hundreds of Hudson Valley ‘Conductors' who came to the aid of slaves who escaped slavery in the south, but it's not the type of thing people wanted to write down, so there are not many actual records of them." The most captivating part, according to Town of Woodbury historian Leslie Rose, was when Trish explained the quilt codes. "You could hear a pin drop" said Rose. "There was no movement and people were quiet because they were entrenched in it". Trish displayed a replica quilt, whose design contained different square boxes and various shapes. She translated the quilt's codes and poem as to the documents by Ozella Williams, a former slave who had translated the codes. "The codes were used to teach slaves survival," said Trish. These codes were used by caring whites and free-blacks who tried to give the slaves messages as they continued on their journey to freedom. The quilt codes, which were hung outside, told slaves valuable information. The information ranged from if there were bounty hunters in the area to if the escapee should come inside the house or wait in the back of the house on ladders until safe. The codes also gave tips to the traveling slaves which included, "follow nature" and encouragement such as "keep your eyes on freedom". After the presentation, Charlene Ganga told Trish and the audience about how she can relate to the stories told by Trish. "My grandmother told me stories of how people referred to as "Kasha's", could recite the entire Bible from memory". "All you had to do was name the page and they would tell you it because they couldn't read or write. Memorization was the only way." Ganga went on to say "Things like the Kasha's started to come back to me when listening to Trish. But, when my Grandmother told me them when I was young, I took them lightly." Charlene Ganga, who's Grandmother escaped slavery in the south to become a free woman in the North will not be forgotten by Charlene. However, "the future generations will forget stories like these if young people now do not learn their history" said Dot Morris, the event organizer. Charlene Ganga listened to the stories intently, remembering the words from her Grandmother, the Grandmother that walked from the South to the North on foot so that Charlene can live as a free woman today.