Hearts on and Around the Quilt
Five Wonderful Groups
I gathered with 5 amazing bunches this week. Each group had its own flavor and personality.
Each gang around the quilt had its own thoughts and stories. Each group shared a huge amount of warmth. Heart Stuff
We had a lot of obvious heart-shaped stuff, scattered on the table. Everyone recognized the heart shaped candy boxes and candy kisses and conversation hearts. We even had fun pointing out how many different fabric patterns on our quilt included heart shapes. That just got us started.
Hearts in Nature
The photo of the cactus got us wondering about where else in nature we might spot a heart shape.
We went from thoughts of heart-shaped leaves and flower petals to seeing the shape of a heart in a cloud or butterfly wings. We imagined the swirling texture of tree bark, showing a heart... or the old-fashioned image of a heart, carved into a tree trunk.
Love in the Movies
The images on these DVD boxes brought about some fun discussions. In all groups, the top choice for best romantic movie was Gone With The Wind. That wasn't too surprising. But I was surprised that the discussions were less about the love stories.
I told about long lines waiting to see the 4-hour Civil War classic. I heard about the shock of hearing that famous line... "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." And I was even more surprised that in 2 different groups I was reminded that Hattie McDaniel was the first African American Oscar winner, for her role as Mammy in the 1939 classic.
Many in my memory care groups were unable to share much detail about card making or giving from their youth. But looking through cards, from the lacy vintage to the silly retro, brought smiles and chuckles and comments to many.
There were some good stories about who the most special cards were given to! That got us off on first crushes and all the things we sometimes did to get the attention of that person! I won't reveal.
"What's your idea of the perfect romantic meal?"
I was surprised how hard it was for one of my groups to even imagine a delicious romantic meal. A few mentioned chocolate and one said wine, but most just mentioned their favorite foods. I should have realized these folks, mostly on limited incomes have not had many opportunities to even dream about elegant or romantic dinners. I asked one dear woman to just pretend she was given a free dinner outing anywhere... romantic or not. "Where would you go?" She strained to play this game.
"Well, I did go to Luby's with my daughter, once." I tried to encourage, " Oh fun! What did you eat?" She frowned while she waited for a memory to surface. "Oh!" She suddenly laughed. "There was a place in the Market in San Antonio!" She started listing Mexican dishes that I'm unfamiliar with. She continued, "I would go there! Oh, and they had men playing instruments!" "Mariachis?" I asked. She grinned and nodded and then her thoughts began to snowball. "And a margarita!" She added with a big grin at the end. The whole table cheered as if we'd all been invited to feast with her. I left that group hungry.
Love & Music
There are so many love songs, it's always hard to choose which to share. But, I've noticed in past years, that "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" is the song that delights every group.
I'm cautious about sharing songs that might stir up memories of a loved one who is no longer alive. But the recording of the 1910 classic, Sweetheart, made each group once again sway and sing along.
Love Me Tender
I was surprised how many Elvis fans I had in my groups. When I played "Love me Tender" in one group, I saw a secretive smile on one face. Without a bit of bragging, my new 83 year old friend began to tell the story of when she used to go to a club after work in Longview, Texas. It was in the mid fifties before Elvis was well-known.
Elvis was one of a few performers at the club off and on. She told us how he would often join her table during breaks, since she and her friends didn't smoke or drink. A few times he and a few others would go to her home after the club closed late at night. Her mother allowed it, because it was clear he was just interested in enjoying gospel music with his new friends. It was a sweet story and she told it shyly. She admitted she was a little older than him, so I'm guessing they were just friends. But it was certainly a story worthy of our Valentine discussion!
All Kinds of Love
As always, we tried to focus on all kinds of love and friendship from loving our neighbors, our pets, our kids and our spouses. We talked about different ways of showing our love from gifts to hugs. We passed this Norman Rockwell image around the table and I watched the smiles, as each face studied every detail of the hugging homecoming.
One woman passed the picture without even glancing. Her eyesight was too poor, she explained. It was a touching moment to watch the woman next to her describe the scene in full detail. "The man's suitcase is so stuffed, there are clothes hanging out. I think he was so excited to get home... and the faces of his children are beaming..." As she spoke, the faces around our table seemed to be smiling just like Rockwell's characters.
What Did I Learn?
The most ooos and ahhs came from the oldest stuff. The comical, retro Valentine cards were not nearly as loved as the lacy vintage cards. Hearing The Beatles sing, "She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" made most folks chuckle, but "Some Enchanted Evening" made them sigh.
I learned that we have a lot of sentimental folks sitting around the Quilt each week... and a lot of big hearts!
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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.