In Part 1, children embraced the song “This Land is Your Land” as their own. They sang the song every day, multiple times a day. By the time winter arrived, they had ‘taken over’, and constantly used the book This Land is Your Land when they sang. The book brings American landmarks and history to life, and it also depicts humanity, the good and the bad. Children love the ‘sad page’, and the ensuing verse that gives us all hope and reminds us of what we can do, together. In my classroom, the song just keeps on going.
It was a regular morning in the classroom. Children were finishing snack. The routine is they get a book and have silent reading (or not so silent) while other children finish their snack. Of course there are a few children who try to eat quickly so they can have first dibs on a book. This Land is Your Land is always the first to get picked. And, it’s hard to read the book and not sing, or at least hum. On this particular morning, multiply that tenfold.
I remarked to Naomi, my assistant teacher, “The last time children were so vested in a song and couldn’t get enough was eight years ago. I had to do something, do more. Milly the quilter made a quilt.”
Lightbulb moment: Of course, a quilt!
I told Naomi all about the quilting adventure with Milly eight years ago.
“But Jennie, Milly died. We don’t have a quilter.”
“I think we might. Remember Donna? Years ago when she came into the classroom to make pasta with the children I asked her if she would be willing to be a Milly, a grandparent figure, if and when Milly was unable to do so. She is wonderful. And, she’s a quilter.”
“Donna really is wonderful. I had no idea she was a quilter. Wow. That would be awesome.”
Naomi took the children to the hallway to get their coats and get ready to go outside. I was in the classroom, feeling like I had found buried treasure, or solved the mysteries of Stonehenge, or something like that. And then I was hit by a tidal wave of feeling, not by me – by Milly. For a moment she was there, and I knew she was giving me her approval. I could feel her smiling. It was time to move forward and pass the torch. And then she was gone. Just like that. Well… I just said under my breath, “Thank you, Milly.”
This just doesn’t happen. Spirits aren’t real. But it did. And they are.
Naomi came back into the room. “Jennie, what happened? Are you okay?” I said, “Milly was here. She gave me her approval. She was happy.”
Next, I needed to call Donna. Her first words were, “When Milly died, I was waiting for you to call me. I thought you would ask me.” I told her everything. Donna knew Milly and always remarked about her quilts. Then Donna said, “I’ve never done anything like that before. I’m up for the challenge.”
Those were exactly the words Milly had said to me many years ago – was that an omen?
And so, we began a quilting journey. First, we gathered the children, and Donna, in a big meeting. To my surprise, Donna asked if ‘Gloria’ could come, too. Gloria was thrilled. So were the children. We sang the song while holding the book. Then came the big moment to introduce a quilt. I don’t tell children, I ask children, and I asked them if they would like to make a quilt about their favorite book. That was like asking them if they wanted to help Santa Claus deliver presents.
“Donna can sew the quilt. What should we have in the quilt?” Every child couldn’t wait. They had to shout out their ideas. They were so excited! Here is their list:
Gulf stream waters
Statue of Liberty
Ribbon of highway
The list is a wonderful collection of both the song and the book. The children were spot on!
Next, we made a giant sketch of all our ideas. Pen to paper. Ideas to paper. Heart to paper.
Stay tuned for Part 3.
Love that the spirit of Milly lives on 😍
Me, too! 😍
What a great song to make a quilt of!! Fabulous!!
Thank you, Opher!
I can’t wait to see the final product! I love that Millie approved. It was time for another quilt. A sweet moment. The enthusiasm of the children must be contagious. xo
The quilt is not quite finished. You will love it!! And Milly approved was the best- quite a surprise. The enthusiasm is very contagious. So wonderful! Thank you, Darlene.
Something to look forward to then.
This is so exciting, Jennie. I can’t wait to see the quilt that Donna makes with the children. It’s time. Milly told you so.
It really is exciting, Norah. Much more to come. Yes, it’s time, thanks to Milly.
I can’t wait!
You are so fortunate to have such great friends-of-the-classroom. I’m looking forward to Part-3. I love the way you bring out the kids’ imaginations.
I am fortunate, Dan. Thank you so much. Music can work wonders. Much more to come!!
I love the spiritual side of this journey, Jennie. It is going to be great.
Thank you, John!
What a wonderful idea!
Thank you, Anneli!
I am quite sure Millie did give you her approval. She is smiling down from Heaven. I am looking forward to seeing your progress with this project.
That is so nice, Robbie. I definitely think Milly is smiling down from heaven. Thank you for following this new quilting journey. More to come.
Great, I am looking forward to seeing your creation.
You got the “Milly approval”! Isn’t that one of the most grandest sensations? A quick ‘download’ of knowingness. Certainly, she will be with all of you, on your new quilt journey.
And I am very excited for Gloria’s participation in the quilt AND being on the list. Give her a hug for me, would ya?
That was definitely the grandest sensation. Big wow! And who knew Gloria would be on the list?! I will definitely give her a big hug. 😍. Thank you, Ren!
I am so excited for all of you. How wonderful for Donna to step up to the plate and make on for the team. Of course Millie was there giving approval. Energy never dies, it just changes form. Spirit energy is very real. I’m sure Millie is guiding all of you. Have lots of fun with this. 😉
Thank you, Marlene. I love your words, “energy never dies, it just changes form.” Yes, spirit is real. Donna is doing a fabulous job. The quilt is at the ‘long arm’ right now. Hand sewing when it returns.
Donna is the ‘next batter on deck’ to take Millie’s place. Good find, Coach Jennie. The saga continues.
She is very good. The change of hands has been quite different, and that’s exciting. Onward!
Wonderful Jennie and have pressed for later today… I wish I could meet your children in person… hugsx
That’s so nice, Sally! I wish you could, too. Thank you!!
Milly would so love this. And her spirit will live on in Donna’s new quilt. Wonderful stuff!
Best wishes, Pete.
She will, indeed. Thank you, Pete.
Quilters (he)arts are huge…even when spirited across the Great Divide.
And now, introducing – Donna, Gloria and the kiddos new venture into a classroom quilt.
They definitely are huge, Laura. Yes, a new adventure for everyone. I’m glad Milly is pleased. 🙂
Jenny, what a lovely new project, I so loved the one you shared about Milly in the past, and these children I am certain will love the process and the quilt will be awesome.. I am so excited for you..
love to you all ❤
Thanks so much, Sue. ❤️
THANK YOU for another uplifting — on so many different levels — post! Hurrah for engaged, heartful, passionate learning! I also loved reading everyone’s feedback/comments (especially “Energy never dies, it just changes form. Spirit energy is very real.”)
Thank you so much, Will. I, too, absolutely love Laura’s comment – great words. I’m glad you enjoyed this store. More to come! 🙂
Aww. I’m so excited for the new quilt. How lovely!
Thanks so much, Diana!
Jennie, I got goosebumps at your ‘Milly moment’. Spirits do work in mysterious ways. ❤
It was sudden, unexpected, and oh so wonderful. It seemed as if Milly waited till Naomi and the children left the room before she came. Her presence was strong. Spirits certainly must work in mysterious ways. Thanks, Debby!
Oh the energy of your classroom, it is so fabulous.
Jennie, this is simply wonderful!
Thank you, Charles!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Jennie, that extraordinary teacher, once again has given us a wonderful post!
In the “olden days” they believed that weavers had supernatural powers…I now think that descends to quilters (of which my mother was one)… They seem to hover with angelic embraces, just outside the corners of our eyes. Thank Heaven for quilters, who piece our lives with stitches of pure love.
I did not know that, KC. It really makes sense. The master hand quilter of today is the weaver of yesteryear. And they are the wise ones. Surely Milly and your mother have already met each other. They have the touch, and they ‘just know’. Really. No wonder their stitches spread love.
I can’t wait to see this creation coming together. I’m just wondering what inspired the last quilt?
The song, “God Bless America.” That quilt traveled to the Intrepid Museum in NYC and hangs at the Fisher House in Boston. Very cool! Thank you so much.
Next time we visit Boston I will go and see it.
That would be wonderful!
Aww – this is so sweet! How lovely that Milly visited you in spirit to let you know that she approved. And I’m sure Donna will do her justice! Can’t wait to see the new quilt!! 😄
Thanks so much, Sarah! It has been a wonderful journey. And having Milly there to bless the whole thing was a remarkable surprise. Part 3 this weekend!
Looking forward to it!! 😀
Hopefully tomorrow. Monday at the latest.