I wasn't going to blog about our Farm Theme last week. I've done this theme before. But the little stories and the things I learned keep nagging at my brain. It's as if I worry that I'll forget these sweet stories... so I'll share.
Quite a few talked about having to feed the chickens or gather the eggs. In the past I've had to sit through some stories of chopping heads off chickens. No one brought it up this time. A few had the job of milking the cow and it made me wish I still had my big stuffed cow I owned as a child. That thing had a clinking bell as well as a plastic udder! It would have made a good tool for the few who kept trying to show me their techniques with their fingers!
Farm and Barn Music
It was the bluesy music that changed the tone of the group a bit. Some liked the foot stomping tunes better, but Dorothy wanted to hear Bo Carter singing, "The Country Farm Blues" over and over. Maybe Dorothy felt connected to the music since both she and Bo were from Mississippi.
Music Eases the Pain
He could remember his parents singing "Cotton Eyed Joe", which was a surprise to me. I associate that song with cowboy dance halls. But after getting home I researched the history of the song and learned it was first sung (with very different lyrics) by African Americans in before the Civil War.
I tossed in a few tiny things that could spur on a memory. The washing board wasn't really a farm tool, but many remembered clothes being washed with one on the farm. Ramona even remembered washing the clothes in the river. I had an apron to help us think of typical "farm woman" chores back in the day. I had no overalls, but Robert recalled in fine detail about all the pockets and loops on his overalls. I wish I had a small tractor in my prop collection, but we needed no props for tractor memories. I heard from men and women who could tell me all about driving those symbolic machines!
She loved her little sheep that followed her every where. "Like Mary!" I laughed and she agreed. She was giddy with the memory of that sweet lamb.
Some who had no farm history, had stories of vegetable gardens. And we all had a good laugh about living in Sugar Land, Texas. There was a lot of sugar cane growing around here, back in the day. Not when I moved here 17 years ago, but the Imperial Sugar Factory hadn't down closed yet. Dot didn't grow up in Sugar Land, but in Mississippi, her family grew sugar cane. She remembers big vats of sugar syrup being stirred for days at the end of the season!
info about silk tea and the song Cotton Eyed Joe and well water. I think I need to drive out southwest of Sugar Land and see a little of that cotton, before the season's over!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.