Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

In 1930, the town of Paris, Texas had some 15,000 residents and at least two fire stations. Raymond Fuston was the only fireman at Fire Station #2, where he lived with his family from 1929 to 1948. Almost fifty years later, Raymond’s son, Fred, and granddaughter, Karla, shared one of the quilts he made during that time, a bold red and white celebration of his career and his home at Fire Station #2.

ImageFred Fuston: Raymond joined the Paris Fire Department in 1929, in Paris, Texas.

Karla Poggen: He was a city fireman, not a volunteer fireman. He was the only fireman at the firehouse. Being that he was the only one, he could never leave. He had to be ready for calls. While he was there, he found plenty of things to do with his time. And he was always doing things with his hands. This is just one of the several crafts that he did, quilting. He’d made other quilts prior to this one, but this one was made especially–

Fred: For him. That’s what I was going to say. The fire department was his love and even though he made three quilt tops in his lifetime, this was his favorite. Now, if we want to describe it, the center of this is a white background with a red Maltese cross on it. And the Maltese cross is the international symbol of firefighters. On this, we have “Paris” at the top, and the “FD” fire department at the bottom. The #2 in the middle designates the station that he was at in Paris, at Station 2. And as Karla said this was a combination residence and fire station. And so Daddy, Raymond, was the only fireman there and his family […] The reason that he was a craftsman and had time to work with things – quilts, wood, horn, leather – this was a 24 hours a day, six days a week. He was relieved of duty on Saturday morning at 7, and at Sunday morning 7, he was back on duty.

JoAnn Pospisil: I have a question about the material. Do you know anything about his choice, why he chose red and white?Image

Fred: Yes, ma’am. It was probably the only material that Raymond ever bought. Red and white are standard fire colors whether that was bought at Ayre’s or Beall’s or Kresses’ or Woolworth’s, we don’t know. But his other two quilts were from remnants, from where our clothes and other things were made in the home, cut up, we know that. But I happen to know that this is the only material that Raymond ever bought, just because there wasn’t anything large enough, red and white, around the house.

The city sold the fire station in 1948 in Paris, and that was the first time we had to find a home. Daddy had a home, they built a new fire station, but it was manned by paid firemen… The fire station was on the right. The residence in the center and on your left is the porch were we spent a lot of our time. And Raymond did a lot of his sewing in his lap on that porch […] from 1933 to 1948 and then Daddy didn’t do any more quilts.


You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance site.


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager,  Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories


Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing the beautiful quilt pictures!

My dad was a city fireman (district chief in Boston, years worked 1941 1973. My husband was a volunteer firefighter (captain for a while) in our small town 1976 – 1996. Our son is now a professional firefighter like his grandfather, but in a large town where he is also a paramedic. Today, I volunteer as our “oldest in America still operating privately-owned and funded Georgetown, MA’s Erie 4 Fire Association’s” company clerk. Our firehouse covers the north end of our town, with an engine and a combination truck.

And it will be my exciting duty today to play Santa’s helper as Santa goes from house to house to visit children of the town whose parents have scheduled a visit with the fire department. I’m going to call myself “Nana Elf.”

I’ve made one firefighter’s quilt, for a volunteer member who passed away of ALS. I donated the quilt to the ALS society in his memory. Though I became a teacher, firefighting has always been in my family, and in my heart.

    Hi Terry,

    Thanks for your note! It’s wonderful that there are three generations of firefighting in your family and that you’re still involved in your local fire company.

    The quilt you made for the ALS society sounds like a wonderful tribute. There are a few other firefighter quilts in our Q.S.O.S. archive–this one by Eleanor Wilkinson is one of my favorites: http://www.allianceforamericanquilts.org/qsos/interview.php?kid=14-31-D66

    Emma Parker
    Q.S.O.S. Project Manager
    Quilt Alliance

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