Scott & The Quilt
Nearly 20 years ago, when I used an old tattered quilt, my son went along with my quilt stories and games. Scott (in the green) was not as easily entertained as the other children. He was used to being a guinea pig for all my activities. None of my costumes or props surprised him. He was used to hearing my songs and he knew all my gimmicks.
Years later, Scott ended up helping me with my Quilt gatherings. He helped me drag the quilt, Pickles the Puppet and other materials to the Fort Bend Women's Shelter. Singing and dancing were never his favorites, but he played along and the kids adored him.
Quilt Goes to North Carolina
In March, my husband and I headed for a visit to North Carolina, where Scott is an AmeriCorps worker at Centro La Comunidad.
He has taught us much about his community and the challenges it faces as one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation. He has a great deal of passion for the men, women and children he guides daily.
We knew Scott would be working during part of our stay, so we hoped he could put us to use. Scott encouraged me to bring the quilt to work with kids and he invited his dad to bring his Spanish skills!
The Kids Taught Me!
I only had 3 siblings the day I went to help. They spoke English well and taught me a little Spanish by pointing out pictures on the quilt. Even the 8 year old was enthused and playful with the puppets and songs. I marveled at how eagerly the boys sang, to wake up Pickles the sleeping puppet, even though their baby sister was the only one you would expect to show interest.
I was surprised to see how graciously these kids took turns. And when their little sister got restless, the boys helped her get Pickles into a doll stroller, so she was busy while they tried to learn how to juggle scarves.
Observing the Kids
I watched the brothers experimenting with the scarves. They wondered why some scarves floated down more slowly than others. They figured quickly how to squish the scarves small, to make them toss higher. They noticed how the colors overlapped and made new colors. And when I pushed them to be a little more creative and "bring them to life" with some music, they didn't sneer at the idea. In fact, when I realized I didn't have my I-pod for music, the oldest suggested we sing to make the scarves dance.
What I learned from my short time observing these young kids, is that they reflect a great deal of warmth, enthusiasm and intelligence. Scott has been eager about working with the young people in his community and now I know why. These children will help mold the future and from what I see, that is a good thing!
Icing on the Cake
One last thing before we left North Carolina...a spontaneous picnic just outside the Smoky Mountains. The quilt has been on many an adventure, but this is the first time it has played the part of a picnic quilt!
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.