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.