Another Telephone Theme
Every couple of years, I have to do the Phone Theme. It's just too fun, because everyone can relate. Although, everyone did not grow up with a telephone.
In fact, in my morning group there wasn't a single person who had a phone in their house, when they were very young.
First Phone Memories
Ramona remembered the first time she tried answering a phone. She was a young adult, working as a housekeeper, when the phone rang in the empty house. She laughed as she recalled the memory of fumbling with the receiver. Others began to share.
"I don't remember one until much later. Then it was on the wall and I was too short. I had to use a stool to reach it."
Gabbing on the Phone
My morning group had fun fiddling with the old phones and pretending to chat with each other. These two cracked me up with their conversation, using a cell phone and an old rotary. "So, when ya coming over?" "Well, I don't know. That all depends." They carried on, with good humor.
In the afternoon Sadie and Lois pretended to chat briefly. When they hung up, Francis laughed, "That was the world's shortest phone conversation between two women!"
My Small Group
My morning group was small, so the conversation was more relaxed. We ended up with some wonderful talking tangents.
We talked about how many kids were in our families, growing up. Quite a few had more than 10 kids. We determined it was just as well that none of their homes had phones. There would have all fought over using it!
We talked about happy phone memories... avoiding the opposite. A new friend to our group lit up, "Oh I talked with my grandson recently. He was calling from Guam! We talked on FaceTime and I could see his face while we talked!" Mr. Robert didn't know much about FaceTiming, but he knew lots about Guam... and Pearl Harbor from when he served in WWII. It was a sweet connection between the two.
After my morning group, I killed some time at an antique store before heading to my Memory Care group in the afternoon.
In a cluttered corner, my wandering eyes suddenly landed on two vintage postcards. The images looked so much like the two old photos of my dear mom, that I had shared that morning. I bought the cards to add to my prop collection, for the afternoon group.
And a Bank!
But before I got out of the store, I spotted a bank shaped like a telephone booth!
The bank and the old phone booth photos, got everyone talking. There was a discussion about Superman and even a quick mention of a scary phone booth scene, in Hitchcock's The Birds. No one remembered much about the old phone booth fad, from the 1950's. And no one guessed the US record of 22 people, in a phone booth!
Kids and Phones
We talked about how kids used to love pretending to talk on the phone. Many would mimic their parents when they played with a toy phone. I remember twirling my hair, or doodling on scratch paper, the way my mom did. A toy phone didn't need to have wheels and moving eyes to be entertaining. Two cans and a string made a pretty good phone!
What I Learned:
Even though we always bury the quilt under books and props, the quilt never is completely ignored. Our phone stories were sweet today, but Robert's quilt memory was the sweetest.
When my morning group ended, the folks headed to the dining room for lunch, but Robert lingered at the table. He sometimes helps me fold the quilt, from his chair. This time he did something he doesn't usually do. He began to sing. I listened as he smoothed the fabric with his hands. "Search me Lord, you know when I'm right..." He continued singing until the quilt was packed away.
When he finished, I spoke. "That was nice. What made you sing that song?" He began to describe his childhood home, where he helped his mother quilt, on cold winter nights. He described the fireplace and how they found ways to keep warm. Singing was something they did around the quilt, that warmed them.
Mr. Robert wasn't full of drama. He wasn't weepy with nostalgia. He just shared his simple memory. But, I had to take a breath to keep my emotions from gushing. Then I thanked him so much for giving me something wonderful to take with me that day. He nodded, "Yes Ma'am. I just try to be thankful and keep moving forward."
I left happy and later I searched the internet for the song. I found a few recordings, but no one sang it the way Mr. Robert did!
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.