Going through my photos, I found this picture I took of the auditorium when Jim and I visited Piedmont Junior High School in Charlotte, NC, last year. I was on a pilgrimage to my past in observance of my 75th birthday year.
People who move away from their childhood hometowns are probably the ones who most make these kinds of trips to the past. For me as a storyteller, it's also a way to freshen the memories or find things that I have forgotten, which often leads the way to new stories.
When I pulled open the side door to the auditorium, I was transported across the years to 1949-1951. The room has been restored and it looks exactly as it did on the first day of the seventh grade. That felt so good! I remembered when our seventh-grade home room danced the minuet for a George Washington's birthday program. We had practiced the dance for a month and during class time we folded pink crepe paper into cherry blossoms to attach to a large limb that became the fabled cherry tree.
Miss Phoebe Reynolds was my seventh-grade homeroom teacher. It took me weeks to look at her first name and pronounce it correctly. Miss Reynolds was in charge of the audio-visuals—which, in that time, was a 16-mm movie projector. Several boys set up the projector, loaded the film and then ran the movie during the class period. I was fascinated by that movie projector. I aggravated the boys until they showed me how to set it up and load the film. When Miss Reynolds saw that I had mastered it, she recruited me to their team. She needed a girl to show the Kotex menstruation films for the eighth-grade home economics classes. Finally, she relented and assigned me to more than the "girl" films.
That year, I told my first true family story in Miss Reynolds' class. It was exhilarating to hear my classmates laughing as I told them some of my father's antics. It was a great feeling and I never forgot it. It was my start as a storyteller. I still tell stories about my father, who could be quite outrageous.
Oh, yes. I found fresh memory scraps for my "me" quilt.
How is your story quilt coming along?