Jennie and Milly the Quilter

I had dinner with Milly the quilter tonight.  She has been such an important part of my classroom over the years.  Her quilts are works of art, and when she quilts with children somehow she creates a magic connection that all children feel.  It’s her soul.  She has the heart of a nurse and the joy of Santa Claus.  I have written about Milly on my blog a number of times (great stuff!), yet tonight was altogether new.

Milly and Jennie Photo

We have become good friends over the years with the same sense of humor and same outlook.  Tonight she told me about her recent trip to Francestown, NH where she was the featured speaker at a quilting convention.  I sat with my elbows on the dinner table listening to Milly tell her story.  She came alive describing how she told the audience, well, everything she’s done with quilting, including the quilts she made with my classroom (I felt honored).  Apparently she interjected plenty of stories and ‘brought the house down’.  She may be invited to be the guest speaker at a big quilting event in Peterborough, NH.  I told her I’d better be invited.  I just want to sit in the back row and listen.

Milly was shown a picture of a quilt made by the wife of Francis Scott Key.  It was a eureka moment for her.  I watched her face light up as she described the triangles in the quilt.  She was so excited to tell me details about how the triangles became a mathematical pattern.  I didn’t fully understand; I just listed and watched her, much like watching someone who got a birthday present.

Milly talked about that quilt with her quilting groups.  I’m sure they could tell how inspired she was, so they bought her a book that featured the quilt!  Then Milly began making the quilt herself.  She had decided to make the main part of the quilt, as making the full quilt would be a daunting task.  Then, she had dinner with her granddaughter’s husband’s family.  She was eagerly telling them the story of the wife of Francis Scott Key.  Low and behold, the husband’s family are direct descendants of McHenry…as in Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland…as in “The Star Spangled Banner”…as in Francis Scott Key.  There was no doubt that Milly knew she had to complete the full quilt.

Perhaps I write this story because this is just like me, often unexpectedly inspired.  Like Milly, I never know when a moment like seeing triangles might become the catalyst for an amazing path of learning in my classroom.  Emergent curriculum.  And the final word is the best part; Milly wants to make another Peace Quilt with my class.  I have just seen my very own triangles!  We’ll begin this new journey together in November.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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1 Response to Jennie and Milly the Quilter

  1. So I’ve been thinking about going back to school… Do I qualify to register at GCS? 😉 I want to make a peace quilt too!

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