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On The Light Side

May 28, 1988

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Leona Tennyson, whose prized quilt trails an Australian company in the race to be the world’s largest, donned a combat helmet as she joined the governor in declaring good-natured ″war″ on her stitching rival.

″The fabric of our state is on trial here,″ Gov. George Sinner said Friday in a brief speech on the Capitol mall that provoked frequent laughs from about 40 onlookers.

Among them was Tennyson, wearing a camouflage jacket and olive-green Army helmet with the legend, ″Battle of the Quilts - Gen. Tennyson.″

″This quilt represents the stuff - or the stuffing - that our people are made of,″ Sinner said. ″When it comes to quilts, we in North Dakota don’t cotton to having the wool pulled over our eyes by Australia.″

For months, Tennyson has supervised the assembling of the 9,000-square-foot quilt, which is intended to mark North Dakota’s 100th birthday next year.

More than 7,000 people were involved in making parts of the quilt, which contains material from all 53 North Dakota counties and is so large it was brought to a news conference in a moving van.

The Guinness Book of World Records certified the quilt in March as the world’s largest. David Boehm, American editor for the book, said Friday its size was recorded as 9,495 square feet.

However, an Australian quilting company, Hobbytex of Bracken Ridge in Queensland province, soon weighed in with a quilt measuring almost 200 square feet larger, Boehm said in a telephone interview from New York.

Tennyson says her quilt will be expanded in time to beat the Guinness book’s initial publication deadline in July.

Sinner compared the quilt contest to the America’s Cup yacht race between the United States and Australia.

Then he added: ″North Dakota’s quilt makers are set to do battle. They are quilters, not quitters. Even Crocodile Dundee can’t get the best of this crew.″

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ENID, Okla. (AP) - The double-breasted black and gray pinstripe suit Rusty Fuller picked to wear for his high school graduation might not be in the height of fashion now, but the suit is a family tradition for graduation.

Fuller graduated Friday night in the same suit his brother, father and uncle wore during high school graduations dating back to 1938.

Fuller said he felt obligated and honored to wear the suit because he shares middle names with his uncle Virgil, who died in Germany during World War II.

Virgil Fuller was the first to wear the suit - at graduation from Barnard High School in Barnard, Mo., in 1938. Then Fuller’s father, Cleo, wore the suit at his Barnard High School graduation in 1949.

Fuller’s older brother, Randy, wore the suit at graduation in Enid 14 years ago.

Will the tradition continue?

Fuller doesn’t think so. He says the suit that still looks new after 50 years probably will be retired now.

″Fifty is a good number to quit at,″ he said.

But his father may have a few other ideas.

″We’ve got some grandsons,″ the elder Fuller said. ″You never know....″

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