Chairs Around the Quilt... and On the Quilt
This week, chairs were scooted and wheelchairs were rolled... right up to the Quilt-covered table for my first ever, Chair Theme!
My Chair Prep
For a long time I've been collecting photos of chairs. Recently I've asked friends, family and even a stranger (when I was buying a chair) to tell me their chair stories. I have learned if you give someone a moment (maybe while relaxing in a chair) they will come up with a good chair memory.
My Chair Memory?
I have many, but this wicker rocker could tell more stories than I ever could!
I have memories of this rocker and my 100 year old great grandmother. Later the chair moved with my family to Iowa and became a favorite for cartoon watching. Since Iowa, the rocker has lived in 5 more states and it's been covered in 4 different colors of paint and fabric since my ownership. My own kids were rocked in it and I'm sure future grandchildren will be.
More Rocker Stories
I didn't waste time with my stories, though. I heard about rocking chairs from storytellers who were younger than 10 and way over 90. My little rocker collection spurred on lots of discussion about the design of a rocker and what you can do while you're rocking... and what are the dangers of rocking chairs... and who uses rocking chairs more, young mothers or the elderly? And what's the best place for a rocker?
I guess my theme of chairs was almost too broad. We could have talked 2 hours about rockers!
I had my own fun before packing up my collection of 27 small chairs. When sitting around the quilt later, I showed the photo of my proud stacking accomplishment. They didn't think it was nearly as awesome as the picture of the circus performer, balancing on a jumbled stack of chairs.
Our Own Skills
I purchased a plastic chair-stacking game on eBay. Some took on the balancing task with enthusiasm, while some seemed confused. Dot questioned me in her Louisiana drawl, "Why are we doing this?" My answer of "For fun" seemed sufficient.
For a few, fiddling with the plastic chairs was yet another way to spur on a memory. Donna said, "I remember when my teacher asked us to help stack the chairs in the classroom!" A few started stacking the tiny chairs in a proper "one up, one down" fashion. Personalities shine through, when playing with tiny chairs!
Chairs for Relaxing
The most enthused discussion revolved around the chairs that help us relax. We debated over the best outside chairs from Adirondack to folding lawn chairs. "And when we're sitting in those heavenly chairs, what do we look at and what do we do?"
Robert picked up the Adirondack chair and told us he remembered sitting in a chair just like it. "I sat in it and read the bible." I liked picturing Robert lounging in a chair and reading, since most of his stories are about hard work on the farm or in the service.
Chairs With a Purpose
We had a great time comparing the chairs we enjoy while being pampered, to the chairs we dread, because they bring us pain. I meant the dental chair! I had not planned on discussing electric chairs... although my buddy Ken did bring it up. We all cringed.
Chairs in Books
The book of "397 Chairs" seemed to entertain Ramona and Wilma for quite some time. But we had a hard time coming up with a book or movie involving chairs. We decided "The 3 Little Bears" was the only book that seemed to have a spotlight on chairs.
Chairs in Music
We had some fun remembering the game of Musical Chairs, but it was harder coming up with songs about chairs. I found only a few recordings, mostly country songs with rocking chairs... some too sad to play.
I did find a duet with Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden singing, "Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me". When I asked my last group if they knew of any chair songs, Robert worked to remember the lyrics of the old Armstrong song. When I played the recording, it was fun to watch the whole gang begin to sway with the slow and bluesy duet. It made it seem as though we had all just gotten seated in rocking chairs, that rocked side to side...rather than forward and back!
Here's a Youtube video of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh9mereIx1o
Manners and Discipline
We brainstormed chair rules. "Don't tip back in your chair." "Sit still!" "Don't stand on that chair!"
I asked how many remembered chairs being used for punishment?" None of us ever remembered the luxury of a rocking chair in the corner. The portrait of me posing in a chair, nearly looks like a child being punished... or at least a Time Out Chair. But I don't think "time out" had been invented yet.
My mother had her own chair discipline. When my sister and I bickered, she put us in 2 chairs that faced each other. We weren't allowed to argue anymore, but we were encouraged to make faces. We knew Mom expected us to end up laughing, so we tried our best to not let her plan work. Our teamwork against Mom's psychology usually lasted a short while. And then the torture of suppressing giggles ended!
Pass the Rocker
I ended each group by passing a small rocking chair around the table. Each had a turn to describe a chair they remembered or a chair they would love to have.
Ken said they had a child-sized rocking chair in their home. "For a while, we used to loan the chair to a department store at Christmastime. They used it in their window display." That thought got the whole group thinking about rocking chairs near fireplaces, with a cup of hot chocolate! And Christmas music! Yummy food smells wafting from the kitchen!
Mother's and Rocking Chairs
Men in Rockers
I could picture the young father with his exaggerated expression as he hunted down the hall for the missing boy. "He would act surprised when he found him, and bring him back to his chair." She said this happened over and over and every time the young son returned to his father's lap, his smile got bigger. He had fooled his daddy.
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.