I left my house with the quilt and everything I could find that had any hints of wind or rain. As I headed for the first of 4 Quilt Groups, it looked like it might just really storm!
Movies, Songs and Books
I was hoping for a crashing rainstorm as we sat around the quilt at Silverado, brainstorming old songs. Everyone knew Singing in the Rain and It's Raining, It's Pouring. Some even sang along with Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head.
We talked about stormy skies and rain clouds and about the kinds of clouds that don't bring rain, but bring hours of entertainment with the pictures they make in sky.
We looked at photos of clouds, which isn't quite as good as the real thing.
Everyone loved the bunny cloud.
At Atria, we talked about storms and I learned that 2 in our group had relatives who survived The Great Storm of Galveston in 1900. Catherine's mother had been a child when they lost their home. Dorothy's grandmother was so frightened by Galveston memories that in the years that followed, she always sat out storms in the closet. Dorothy chuckled to recall the image she had of her grandmother, sitting on a chair in the closet with her bible...and a hot toddie!
Children and Rain
All my groups of seniors shared similar memories of childhood, splashing in puddles and making mud pies. We remembered the yellow slickers and rubber boots that children used to wear. Some remembered being scared by storms and others remembered their pets running away during storms.
Lucille recalled living in East Bernard during the hurricane of 1932, when they lost their house, a cow, chickens and their cotton crop. "On Sunday we didn't go to church. We went out into the fields and searched for any clothes we could find." Luckily Lucille could find some humor in her memory. "We lost the barn, too. In fact the only thing left standing was the privy!" She laughed hard at that image.
We talked about the windiest places we've visited. Beaches and Chicago were high on the list. We talked memories of kite flying and climbing windmills. We listed images that show the wind, from blowing trees to clotheslines, smoke from a chimney and long hair in the breeze.
At Silverado, we created wind with fans. We ended up with a bit of a tornado when we got out some feathers and blew some bubbles along with the some fierce fan waving!
Then we talked about wind instruments and tried out some pan pipes with our own wind!
With the Kids
By the time I reached the Shelter in the late afternoon, the rain still had not come and the kids were extra wound up. They needed a rain game to use up some energy.
I didn't have a game, but we worked together and made one up. The pink cloud pillow turned into a magic cloud that could rain down anything you wanted. We passed the cloud around the group singing, Rain Rain Go Away. The child holding the cloud at the end of the song got to run around the quilt letting the cloud rain down on top of all the kids' heads. I guess I should have known I could not wear the kids out. They only got wilder. But it was so fun to see their little game come to life and to have a glimpse at what their perfect rain storm would be. Our cloud rained cats once and cookies twice. We had toys raining down and one little girl changed her mind and said, "It's raining God!"
What I learned:
My most successful themes seem to involve nature. Whether you are from the city or country...whether you are a child or an adult...rich or poor... you have experienced rain.
I fell asleep thinking about all the stories and opinions and words of wisdom that were shared. I love drifting off to thoughts like that. The only thing that would have made it more perfect would have been thinking those thoughts while a gentle rain pattered down on the roof!
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.