The Big Day, Milly & The Quilt

I travelled with Milly, the master quilter, to the Massachusetts State House in Boston this week.  We presented my classroom’s Peace Quilt to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.  What a day!  This quilt has been two years in the making, yet the roots of our quilting go back much further.  Milly is a Fairy Godmother to the children, making magic happen.

This week, it happened like this…

We arrived at the State House, greeted at our car by Tammy with the Governor’s staff, and were walked to the Grand Staircase where the quilt presentation would occur.  It is elegant: marble and wrought iron, stained glass, with an adjacent rotunda.  Families began to gather, and I was put under the wing of Nick who coordinated how everything would smoothly fall into place.  I had a podium with a microphone.  A long table covered with a white cloth was ready to display the quilt.

Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito arrived. We shook hands and chatted, and he scanned the room for Milly.  When he saw her he stepped forward, then dropped to his knees and held her hands.  They whispered and smiled like two long-lost friends.  Everyone stood to watch; you could have heard a pin drop.

The event began!  I spoke about children, and how peace through their eyes is the real essence of peace, what matters most.  I talked about how the quilt began two years ago, with a Peace Book that the children wrote.  As I began to read the book aloud to the audience, Governor Baker quickly stepped forward to hold the book for me as I read aloud.

We then presented the Peace Quilt. After a standing ovation, it was the Governor’s turn to speak. He talked about hate, and how children learn hate.  He talked about the importance of peace and childrens’ visions, much like the image of the quilt- children looking out the window at peace, their heartfelt ideas: Playing with a friend, a new baby sister, a gingerbread house, dancing, reading…

The quilt was displayed for all to see.

The Governor spontaneously asked all the children to sit with him on the steps of the Grand Staircase.  What a great idea!

 After hundreds of hi-fives, photos, handshakes, and thank-yous, we slowly said goodbye, not really wanting to leave.  Words weren’t necessary; we were trying to hold onto what had happened and make memories.  It was that good.

This is not the first quilt Milly has done with my classroom. The first one hangs at the National Liberty Museum in historic Philadelphia.  The second hangs at the Fisher House in Boston. The last one hangs at school.   Lucky us!  You may enjoy the stories of these quilts on my blog, each one an equally exciting adventure.

Jennie

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.
This entry was posted in Diversity, Early Education, Imagination, Kindness, Peace, quilting, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to The Big Day, Milly & The Quilt

  1. Meg says:

    Goodness, Jennie. What an acknowledgement! Cheered when I read it. Loud applause from Down-Under. M

  2. beetleypete says:

    What a great day. Something for everyone to involved to remember for the rest of their lives.
    A real moment to treasure.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. I’ve got tears in my eyes!

  4. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Jenny’s experience this past week with her State Governor must be read. I find it uplifting – and it might bring you to your knees too! Please, read on…

  5. You’re welcome – such an inspiring story! Bravo!

  6. Barbie Pyles says:

    Jennie, your post is so heartwarming and pure. I’ve been with you at the Fisher house and how moving that was But this is soo special. I’m so happy that dear Millie was there to receive the accolauds so well deserved. Governor Baker was so gracious and he “Gets It”. A wonderful moment and memories to remember a very special day.
    Love , Barbie

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Barbie! We took Milly out to dinner after the big event, and she kept asking about a teacher she fondly remembered… you! Really!! This was the best reception and recognition for Milly. And yes, the Governor “gets it”. He was funny, genuine, and loved the whole thing. Isn’t that as good as it gets?! A very special day, indeed.

  7. Victo Dolore says:

    That is absolutely beautiful on so many levels. 🙂

  8. Breathtaking moment for all of you and for myself reading about it…God bless your class’ fairygodmother. Also impressive how the politicos acted and reacted. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Laura. I had no idea that the events would unfold in such a meaningful way. Milly is truly a fairy godmother. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

  9. I like this Governor – and I LOVE the project. Congrats to all of you.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  10. Di says:

    Hello Jennie,
    What a lovely event to have been a part of. A day to proud of for all of you and one the children will remember forever I’m sure. A very uplifting post, thank you 💐✨

  11. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Jennie Fitzkee, her pre-schoolers and Milly the Master Quilt Maker presented their Peace Quilt to the Governor, staff and guests at the Massachusetts State House in Boston this week. What an undertaking for these children.. their third quilt. The concept was ‘Peace’ and a wondeful example of children working together in harmony on such a beautiful project.

  12. Norah says:

    This is gorgeous, Jennie. What an achievement for you, Milly, and the children. Congratulations. May the children’s words be heard and responded to with peace.

  13. Jennie, it was so wonderful to see the children’s visions of Peace come alive through Milly’s artistry and collaboration with the Aqua Room at Groton Community School!!! Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and their staff were so warm and welcoming, and the Grand Staircase truly is grand! I am so glad classroom teachers Heidi, Naomi, and Katy could be there, and we were thinking of Sarah, too, at this proud moment, along with so many GCS families who made an adventure of traveling to Boston with their children. Groton Community School is very proud of you, Jennie, along with the Aqua Room Class, and the message of teaching Peace that we hold so dear school-wide. Our sincere thanks to the Governor and Lt. Governor for such an honor, and congratulations to all!!!

  14. What a wonderful event and such great photographs to remember it by. You and Milly both look radiant (love your beautiful blue dress) and that picture on the Grand Staircase–priceless! Thanks so much for letting us be a tiny part of this special event. Milly’s quilt turned out absolutely gorgeous and I’m sure your talk was brilliant, too. This is what makes America great, people like you stepping up and doing more than your share to create strong future generations. You all truly deserve the honors bestowed on you.

    • Jennie says:

      That is so kind, Marcia. Thank you! The event was better than I ever imagined, all the way around. I felt lucky to be a part. It certainly is one of my greatest moments in teaching. So glad you enjoyed the post and the photos. 🙂

  15. Rae Longest says:

    What a beautiful, inspiring experience!

  16. Christy B says:

    This is amazing! Wonderful you were able to be a part of it!

  17. What a great day for all of you, Jennie. The children will never forget that lesson! Hopefully, you’ve fostered a life-long appreciation for peace and the knowledge that each of them can make a difference. 🙂

  18. Jennie, I can’t help it, I just tear up at all the heartfelt and wonderful things you do for others. The quilt is beautiful and the meaning behind it even more so. Your graduation pictures are great with your students. K. D. 🙂

  19. The children won’t ever forget that day! Valuable life lessons with an amazing teacher. xo

  20. reocochran says:

    This was an amazing day for all included, Milly was indeed so special to have devoted two or more years working with the children. I’m sure this will always be a cherished memory.
    I think the Governor and Lt Governor were very lovely in realizing this was a momentous day.
    May peace, love and freedom reign in all our hearts!
    🕊 ❤ 🇺🇸 🌐 💞

  21. Oh God Jennie, I completely love this! YAYAYAYAY!! You and Milly and the kids did it! What an amazing governor to be smart enough to invite you to display this peace quilt, and more importantly the experiences of peace from your kids’ eyes. Wow. I am so touched. Thank you for being the gift you are both to your kids and to the larger community. I am privileged to have connected with you on this blog. Love to you Jennie. Debbie 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      A hundred thank yous Debbie. You are so kind. The Governor was amazing, indeed. It has been a great journey for the children and Milly and me. Wow!

      • I hope there’s a write up / article in the paper? Or other ways? Anyway, I’m sending you lots of Light and love. Feel free to share more with me anytime. So inspiring, Jennie. Debbie

      • Jennie says:

        I think there will be something in the paper. The State House will be sending me more photos, too. It was so inspiring, Debbie! Thank you for reading and following along.

  22. This is so Inspiring for the kids, for Milly, for you and for everyone who sees or hears about the quilt. This world needs more teachers like you.

  23. What a truly wonderful day for you all! I have to say it again: that quilt is so beautiful! And that’s a very lovely dress you were wearing, it suits you really well 😄

  24. shoes says:

    Wow – this is amazing!!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you! This was a big one for me, second to Jim Trelease visiting my classroom. I love emergent curriculum in teaching, because that’s when things (and learning) happen. Like the quilt.

  25. ren says:

    Oh my word! You just touch the hearts of all who cross your path. I can see and feel it. 😀
    I am so very elated for you all to have this experience and look forward to your next.
    Hug Milly for me when possible, while she hugs you for me.
    Bless you and thank you!

  26. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us, Jennie. What a great honor for you, Milly and the children! The kindness, respect and understanding that was shown to all of you by the governor and his staff is truly remarkable! I definitely want to move to Massachusetts!

  27. Darlene says:

    What a momentous occasion for you, Milly and all involved. It moved me to tears. I liked what the Governer had to say about hate. Posts like this make me feel optimistic about the future of our world. Thanks.

  28. I think I like your Governor. What a wonderful experience for the children and all those in attendance. Millie looks like a doll. I wish I could know her but I know her heart. So much love there. I’m still catching up and glad I did not miss this one. What a treasure to have all those quilts displayed.

    • Jennie says:

      Milly is terrific. You two would definitely be good friends. And the Governor was THE best that day. He is a great man, and a popular Governor. All those quilts are a story and an adventure in themselves. Tomorrow I visit Milly and bring her oodles of photos and albums. Can’t wait!

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