On Valentine's Day...
I spread out the quilt and covered it with lots of pink and red. Then, I went to gather up some folks.
Keeping Things Light
I have to be a little cautious when we start sharing stories about Valentine's Day. So many have lost special loved ones. Emotions can surface easily. Instead, we laughed a lot and remembered famous couples and songs about love...and Romantic movie titles...
We all shared stories about exchanging Valentines, as kids. Of few of us remembered carrying home decorated shoeboxes stuffed with colorful cards and the occasional lollipop.
How I hated Valentine's Day, by the time I got to high school. I rolled my eyes when I passed the popular girls carrying carnations and heart shaped boxes. They always acted like it was no big deal.
We did a little "Name that Tune" with some old Beatles' love songs. I can't believe how many there are!
And then we made a little music...as close to what the cupids might make with their harps! A zither is one of those instruments you can't go wrong with. Everyone could pluck or strum a nice sounding piece!
We talked about other kinds of love. Love between parents and children, people and pets, friends and siblings...and how people express their caring... with hugs...or words.
Our Own Poem
"Poems are easy!" I assured the group. When I was 8, I stacked up 101 pieces of notebook paper and wrote on the title page, "100 Poems by Beth Meyer".
And I plunged in to work! I will admit, they were pretty lame poems, but I used the same determination to get our group of 8 to come up with words for a love poem. Harriet thought up the title, "Heart to Heart" and we went forth. We only had a few disagreements about whether to rhyme or not...or if using the word "never" in our poem was too negative. I was hollering over the group like an auctioneer..."Give me a word that rhymes with heart!! Come on, come on!" I don't think "Love Poems" are meant to be written by more than one person...but I'll say we did a pretty good job!
What I learned on Valentine's Day
Even though I kept things light, I still heard a lot of stories from both my groups on Valentine's Day. I was told about some special gifts, some crushes, a Valentine's dance...and one sad story shared privately. And as corny as it sounds, those stories were my gifts on Valentine's Day. Stories last a lot longer than candy.
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.