taking charge

I did go to the quilt meeting. Since Mary had specifically invited me and another former member, she made us sit in the front row. I would have preferred the back row and had planned to sit with my neighbor who was new to the group. It turned out she did know some people there and took a back row seat with a friend. I sat down in front and piled my two favorite (at the moment) quilts on the floor in front of me. Mary greeted everyone and, starting with the back row, had members bring their quilts to the front and tell about them. And there I was, close enough to help. The first quilt could not be shown by one person. I jumped up to hold a corner as the owner told her story. I sat down, and the next came. It was a slow process, refolding a quilt and waiting for the next person to come. I kept getting up and sitting down again.

It was then that the teacher in me spoke up. “If you are the next person, why don’t you be ready to come as soon as this person is done?” Chuckle from the group. Some of them knew me. I’ve been known to  “take charge” before:

I worked with a group of fourth graders after I retired. The teacher invited me to do a quilt project with them. They were reading about the Underground Railroad and had seen the quilts that were used as a guide for the slaves to move to the north. It was a wonderful chance to add hand work to the project.

Several of my quilting friends joined me with sewing machines ready. We talked to the kids and helped them cut and sew the fabric for the blocks. They were wonderful and the fun of watching kids working on those machines was wonderful too. We had four little old Singer Featherweight machines there. It was the boys who were the most intrigued by those machines, peering at them, trying to see how they worked and then putting their foot on the peddle and sewing. Wow… The machines we had were all black and very antique looking. They have become a machine of choice for many quilters taking classes because they are easy to lug around. I owned two and finally gave one to my little granddaughter a while ago.

I was in a large quilt guild at the time, some 200 members. In fact, this shy young person that I used to be, was now the president of that guild holding a microphone in front of me, “like an ice cream cone” I was told and leading the meetings. I decided these fourth graders needed a chance I never had as a kid. They were proud of their work. They needed to tell someone and who better than 200 old ladies who quilt.

The children arrived by bus and lined up along the side of the room, blocks in hand. When the time came each walked to the front and, with me placing the microphone in front of them, told the group their name and information about their block. Needless to say, they all got a standing ovation.

What a wonderful thing. I wonder today if they remember, if they have ever sewn again and what they are doing now. They are all finished with school by now, though they might be in college. I have moved away from there and yet, now, once again, I “take charge” even though I haven’t been invited to. Oh well.

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7 Responses to taking charge

  1. Ruth Ayres says:

    Some things about the teaching life we just never shake. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this story today.
    Ruth

  2. Tara says:

    What a great moment for those kids…they will always remember this project, thanks to you!

  3. Bev says:

    You’re right – once a teacher always a teacher. I am close to retiring – but looking for waht to do next!

  4. Wonderful to hear, Fran, both your new group & about the children. Don’t you think that some remember? You gave them such a lovely experience. We have a sewing class at school much of the time & those who sign up (boys & girls) just love it. Thanks for sharing your stories!

    • fran mcgown says:

      from Otterlanding @Linda
      There is a principal near here that started a quilt club in a middle school. I hear about it from one of my quilting group and I am thrilled for them. Baby Lock sewing machine company has donated machines.I understand they will continue the club at the high school.

  5. I chuckled reading your post. We are always and forever teachers in our hearts and minds, no matter whether we are still in the classroom or enjoying some unstructured time during our retirement.

  6. Why not share the gifts you have as a teacher when they are needed? :o) My husband always has to remind me at the beginning of summer that school is out and I can lay down the teacher role for a few weeks! I love your stories about quilting. Of course those students remember that wonderful experience!

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