Scary Things in the Closet
I recently found a collection of puppets, when going through a closet. Even though some look a little creepy, I do have fond memories of crazy puppet shows with my siblings. Don't ask me why I still have them, but at least I sometimes follow the "Use or Lose" rule. I decided I had to use them or get rid of them. I figured I'd find a way to use them with the Quilt Groups... even the adults.
I can get away with doing lots of strange themes with my adult groups, if I add a little history. We talked about the history of shadow puppets in China.
We talked about the history of puppets in Italy. The story of Pinocchio was written in Italy... and Sicily is known for amazing puppet shows, with marionettes in shining armor!
I shared a lot of puppets, but I didn't lug my old, not-so-shiny Sicilian Knight puppet. I brought a photo instead and told the story of my family buying him in Italy, years ago. He's been an odd part of our family for since 1969.
From Italy to the US
Punch and Judy also began in Italy... but folks at the Senior Center were more excited about what puppets are well known in the States. They reminded me of Howdy Doody. I reminded them of my favorite TV puppeteer growing up, Shari Lewis and her Lamb Chop.
I reminded them of my favorite TV puppeteer growing Of course the kids I met with reminded me about Kermit!, Shari Lewis and her Lamb Chop.
Of course the kids I met with reminded me about Kermit!
The Best Part
Besides all the puppet discussion, it was the playing that was fun. We had an extra good time in my afternoon group, since a young friend joined us.
I expected this sweet little girl to just dig in and enjoy the "toys" herself. But she went around the table sharing the puppets. She helped her older friends, fitting their hands and fingers into the puppets. She showed them how the marionette knight could wave his arm. The seniors seemed pretty delighted with the nostalgia of the puppets, but even more delighted just watching the enthusiasm of a young face.
I told the group a story about my younger brother and my dad, years ago. When David was two, my dad would come home from work and take off his shoes and entertain my eager brother with his sock covered, puppet feet. We talked about the more common fun of turning a sock into a hand puppet. Then I brought out a collection of old socks and beads and a glue gun. We set to work making sock puppets for the kids at the Shelter.
We ended up with 20 very odd looking sock puppets. Some were much more elaborate than others. Many just had 2 eyes and a nose. I was a little worried that the kids at the Shelter might find these a little odd. It is 2013 after all. Who knows about sock puppets?
Sharing at the Shelter
It was the first week of summer at the shelter and the kids were pretty wound up by late afternoon. There were also lots of kids, so I was worried there might not be enough puppets to go around. But what an amazing surprise. Every child from age
3 to 12, wanted a puppet. There was no fighting over "the best ones" and we had exactly one for each child. Not one child commented on the odd faces.
At one point, some of the older girls rushed to get the bead bracelets, that they'd made earlier in the morning.
They finished up decorating their sock puppets, then added their homemade jewelry. I had to smile!
What I Learned:
There are still "summertime kids" in the world. The kids at the shelter remind me of my childhood, free of schedules and video games. These kids were eager to play with some silly sock puppets... that were made by some sweet older folks... who also remember summer days packed with more free time than planned time.
I like starting my summer with that thought.
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.