The Old School Desk
Everyone always loves the little school desk. So many remember sitting in a similar one as a child. A few went to 1-room school houses. Marie said she she started first grade in a small school where the eighth graders sat in front and with the youngest in the back row. Her inexperienced teacher started each day with the oldest students in front and never got to the back row. Sometimes Marie would sleep at her little desk and by the end of first grade she couldn't read. "My family moved and I had to repeat first grade in my new school."
We all remembered the apple as a gift you might give your teacher... to get on her good side. Few of us remembered ever really giving one.
One prop I don't have is a lunch box or pail. But just the thought of school lunch brought about lots of discussion. Very few bought lunch in a cafeteria and quite a few remembered walking home for lunch. Naomi remembered when her school started a hot lunch program for the first time. "Children had to bring their own spoon and bowl from home. " Naomi remembers the very first hot lunch served. "It was an alphabet soup, that made the lunchroom so quiet!" She laughed and told why. "All the kids were so busy trying to spell out their names in their soup!"
Friends and Bullies
Adelle has always had a playful sense of humor and I asked her if humor helped her deal with those kids. She hardly paused a moment to answer. "No." She answered softly with no hint of fun in her voice.
Dorothy told a touching story about her rural school in Mississippi. A medical bus arrived one day and the children were given of exams. The concerned doctor called her mother and she remembered the frightened look on her mother's face when the doctor shared news about her lung condition. I've known Dorothy for 2 years now and I don't even notice the tubes that give her oxygen. What I had never realized was that her health had been dependent on that oxygen since childhood. But Dorothy smiled as she remembered the doctor's kind words, giving her courage to not be afraid of her condition. "This is just the way I am." She said, with the same positive tone she always uses.
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.