The Quilt's first stop was at the Community Center
So many in the group grew up in far away places. How do you have fun with summer nostalgia if the folks from Cuba and El Salvador don't recognize jacks and pick up sticks and Tiddledy Winks?
But most did!
And better yet, they all wanted to play! It was a wild one and a half hours of Tiddledy Winks flying across the table and jack spinning contests and trying to recall string games. If it hadn't been raining I'm sure they would have eagerly followed me outside with my chalk for a little hop scotch and jumprope!
Still have my key!
No one at the Community Center recognized the skate key that I used to wear around my neck, in case my skates needed tightening.
But a couple of the friends at Silverado did. Maybe their kids had the same kind of skates I did.
Thinking about Rainy Summer Days
It was still raining by the time I reached Silverado. That brought back cozy memories of board games in the summer. We even made our own. It was a vacation game and we couldn't agree on a California or a NYC destination, so there were 2 finish spots. Margaret used chess pieces as markers. She chose to end in California!
My mom went back and forth between the tiny Etch-a-Sketch and a puzzle.
Music set the mood
We played a little pick up sticks and looked through old photos of picnics and lawn games like croquet. In the background George Gershwins's Summertime played. What a sweet moment when a few sang along.
What do kids think of these old toys?
When I took the very same things to the children at the Women's Shelter, I expected some eye rolling from the older kids. About 10 kids gathered on the quilt and took turns playing tiddledy winks and pick up sticks. We talked about summers then and now. They were sure I never had a TV! They guessed my skate key was a bottle opener and they begged to play Chinese Jumprope. They had heard of the game of Twister wanted to play. So we used the squares on the quilt and used it like a giant quilted Twister board!
What I learned: Older folks (talking about myself here, too) never tire of remembering the simpler days. Toys bring back good memories. But what really surprised me was how eager the young kids were, to try out these old games. It's fun watching how differently the 3 groups enjoyed the same toys and games. For some the fun was from nostalgia. For the children...and those who don't remember, the fun was from trying something new!
Most everyone can tell you about a pet they remember. But with the Silverado group, it helps to have books and photos to prompt the memories.
Funny stories...and some sad memories, too.
Sometimes sharing about a missed pet can bring the mood of the group down. That can be okay for a moment, if the group is supportive and more positive stories follow. But sometimes we need a little distraction, like listing famous pets in movies...or talking about people resembling their pets...or some kind of project.
I thought a puzzle making project using old calendars would be a good plan. Once again, we could have fun making something and then I could deliver to the kids at the Women's Shelter.
But no one really liked the idea of cutting up these cute kitty pictures. So that idea didn't go far.
But the very best kind of distraction...
Is a REAL PET! Silverado has a lot of resident animals! Floppy is a recent member of the Silverado family!
We cleared all the books and clutter off the quilt...
...and spent the remainder of our group time letting Floppy explore one end of the quilt to the other! This is the first time the quilt has had an animal visitor!
Seeing and touching a soft and spunky bunny can quickly change the energy in a room! No more post lunch yawns when Floppy started hopping in all directions. Childlike expressions and mother like hands of caution...when the bunny got too close to the edge! We are never too old to be delighted by animals!
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.