Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: 70273 on the road

Inside Envelope 290: A Quilt Top!

The Engineer and I get out of a meeting early,
so we drop our bags at the hotel and head to Savannah
to visit many of our favorite spots.
First up is what I call The Savannah Hi – do you see it?

Maybe this will help. I call this our Savannah Greeter.

There are the trees. Oh, those trees. They restore my soul.

A surprise rain shower makes amends
by presenting us with a rainbow.

I brought along a new friend
for a photo shoot:  meet The 70273 Project Quilt #138
who arrived with this note attached:

Hi Jeanne,

I am not a quilter, but when I read about your 70,273 project, I knew I wanted to help. I started making blocks of different sizes, and after a while, I put them on the bed to get a visual of what it would look like. Lo and behold, without any adjusting for placement, they came together in a perfect rectangle! I took it as a sign and sewed them together, then added a border. I am forwarding the top for someone, who actually knows what to do next, to finish it. All together, I have commemorated 62 lost lives.

Kathleen K. Carfagno
New Jersey, USA

It was a sign, Kathy, it most definitely was! Thank you for commemorating these 62 lives so beautifully. And what a nice surprise to open an envelope to find an entire quilt top, ready to be finished! So glad and grateful to have you become part of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Now . . .  would any of you dear readers like to raise your hand to finish this or other tops for The 70273 Project? (Oh please say “Yes”!) Or maybe you’d like to piece the tops and quilt them? (Another “Yes”, perhaps?) Whatever your preference, I can set you up! We need to keep making blocks, of course, and it’s time to start turning them into quilts. Let me know if you would like to join the ranks of The 70273 Project Ps and Qs (Piecers and Quilters). And if you’re a member of a quilt guild or have quilty friends, perhaps you’d be so kind as to mention The 70273 Project to them and ask if anybody is interested in helping?

Thank you all for continuing to help commemorate these lives that might otherwise be forgotten. And thank you again, Kathy, for this beautiful quilt top.

~~~~~~~

Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

Quilt #5: Blanchard Valley Center, part 2

MARCH 6, 2017
MONDAY AFTERNOON
Read Part 1 here

Who can forget these faces of students at Blanchard Valley Center on block-making day in 2016?

Some learned to use a sewing machine for the first time

others – like Jordan – is already quite familiar with sewing machines,
using them often to make costumes and clothes for himself and others.

Here we see Jordan in one of his latest creations. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet Jordan
because he was out the day I was there, but what fun I had hearing about what he comes up with
and how he’s frequently known to dress teachers in clothes that are more to his liking.

Some drew their two red X’s onto the cloth

others painted

Tanya Weising-Pike, Director of Childrens Services, was one of the first people I heard from after launching The 70273 Project. “I want us to be a part of The 70273 Project,” she wrote. “We will have 100% participation. I’m already gathering supplies to make our blocks.”

And oh what a block making day they did have last year, sending a great big box of blocks that I decided needed to stay together in a quilt made just by hand of the staff and students at Blanchard Valley Center.

The Engineer and Cindy Maag get set up in the gym.

I contacted Tanya earlier this year to ask if The Engineer and I could deliver Quilt #5 to them to be on display for the month of March for Disabilities Awareness Month. Tanya gave my favorite answer: Yes, then introduced me to  Cindy Maag, the Community Relations Manager at Blanchard Valley, who turned a simple quilt delivery into a Very Special Event. It was wonderful, amazing, heartwarming. It was epic.

The suspense builds.

Students and teachers came.
Families came.
Randy Roberts, of The Courier came with his big camera to cover the event for the newspaper.

L to R: Tanya Weising-Pike, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, Mayor Lydia Mihalik

Mayor Lydia Mihalik came. (She’s the short one in the beautiful orange jacket.)

Tanya introduced me then called me up to say a few words. Students were running around the gym. Teachers were stepping in front of them to steer them in another direction, but never to make them stop. It was the mild chaos of people being who they are without anybody telling them to be somebody else, and it was wonderful. (Plus I didn’t cough – not even once.)

I told them about The 70273 Project, trying hard not to bust into quiet tears when I looked at the students and imagined how anybody could consider them “useless eaters” or “unworthy of life.” Over and over and over again I said a silent Thank you that we live today where there are places like Blanchard Valley Center and not in 1940 with Aktion T4 constantly lurking and looming.

Quilt #5. Blocks made by students and staff of Blanchard Valley Center. Beautifully, lovingly pieced and quilted  by MJ Kinman.

Finally it was time for what everybody came for: The Big Reveal. I asked (well, actually I told, but since she’s the mayor and since I was raised right, let’s pretend I asked) Lydia and The Engineer to come turn the quilt around. Honestly, I was a little nervous, a little afraid the quilt wouldn’t have the emotional impact the blocks and quilts usually do because this was one quilt in a big gym. I wasted a few minutes of my life that I’ll never get back worrying about that. When the quilt was revealed, there was a moment’s hush as everybody took it all in, the faces registering what was going through their heads, through their hearts. There were tears and smiles in equal measure, and we didn’t rush through this moment, taking time to let it soak in that any one of these students would have received two red X’s at the bottom of their medical records were we to dial back the calendar a few decades.

I fielded some really good questions. Perhaps my Favorite Question of All Time was asked by none other than The Mayor Herself: “What else do you need?” Isn’t that the most fantastic question? After blowing her a kiss, I told them I still need blocks. And people to piece and quilt the blocks. I need people to make quilts from their own blocks or make Middling quilts or Long Skinny quilts. I need people to tell others and encourage them to get involved. I need help getting all the quilts back to HEARTquarters to prepare for The Great Gathering and Launch that’s slowly beginning to take shape in the background. And oh yes, I need financial donations to help cover the growing expenses.

I’m very grateful to Randy Roberts and The Findlay Courier for giving me permission to use this good photo because I was too busy talking to take pictures, something I couldn’t’ve done anyway because I’d already used up every bit of juice in my phone’s battery taking photos all the rest of the day!

Then it was time for people to come up for a closer look at the quilt they made.

Who could forget this photo of her making her block,

and here she is looking for her block in the quilt.

L to R: Cindy Maag, Bobbi Morman, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, Tanya Weising-Pike ,and Ali Weising-Pike (who felt good enough to be there, thank goodness, else I wouldn’t’ve gotten to meet her!)

L to R: The Engineer, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, Tanya Weising-Pike, and Ali Weising-Pike (They both have blocks in the quilt.)

As the students made their way back to their classes to prepare to go home,
there was nothing left for us to do but take a few more photos,
give and receive a few more hugs,
and turn the truck towards home,
(with another spend-the-night in Kentucky).

The afterglow? Oh it’s still going on, y’all.

~~~~~~~

Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.

Quilt #5: Blanchard Valley Center, part 1

If I’ve ever called you “Sugar” to your face, you may have noticed this bracelet adorning my wrist. The symbol is called Sankofa, and it means “go back and retrieve”.  Because my calendar has been consumed with illness and travel, and most importantly because I am now feeling better, I thought we’d spend the next few days looking back and retrieving the stories I didn’t have energy to tell you about till now, beginning with delivering The 70273 Project, Quilt #5 to Blanchard Valley Center in Findlay, Ohio in early March . . .


MARCH 4, 2017
SATURDAY

Boone Tavern and Inn

The doctor assures us we aren’t contagious, though she urges us to stay in bed at least another week – and though, in hindsight, that might’ve been a really good idea, there is no way we will miss seeing our daughter off to Italy on Friday or delivering Quilt #5 to the Blanchard Valley School. So Friday, we peel ourselves off the sofa, grab our barrel full of cough drops, rake the meds into a suitcase and head on down the road. On Saturday, March 4, we sleep as late as coughing will allow then make our way to Berea, Kentucky where we spend the night in the Boone Tavern Inn, one of our favorite places. (Oh, I just thought about this: I bought the sankofa bracelet from some artists in Berea many, many years ago.)

MARCH 5, 2017
SUNDAY

barns: architecture’s workhorses

After a breakfast that includes spoon bread – a staple at Boone’s Tavern – we hit the road again, admiring the countryside and Ohio’s barns, structures I call architecture’s workhorses.

Tanya Weisling-Pyke and her adorable son, Silas

We make it into Findlay, Ohio late afternoon/early evening, where Tanya and Silas meet us for supper. Tanya says Silas acted his age (2) all day, making her a wee little bit nervous about him going to supper with us.

Silas charms Jeanne right off her feet

Now I don’t know what she did with The Daytime Silas and I’m not calling her a liar (I would never), but The Evening Silas I sup with is charming, hospitable, and adorable. Absolutely adorable.

 

MARCH 6, 2017
MONDAY

Tanya Weising-Pike, who’s Director of Childrens Services, kicks the day off by taking The Engineer and me on a tour of Blanchard Valley Center.  Notice anything about the classrooms? Ignore the walkers you see in the second photo, and the children, the teachers, and the classrooms look like any other classroom, any other students, and any other teachers, don’t they? (A note: all photos are taken by me and used with permission.)

This room is set up like a home, and all classes have access to it daily to practice living skills. Which reminds me, how many of y’all think we ought to bring back Home Ec and Shop classes . . . without the dreaded stigma, of course.

Within walking distance is housing for those who can live like Nancy does – independently, but with round-the-clock assistance.

As we walk to the car for the next stop on our tour, we pass the Blanchard Valley Center’s Free Library, painted by Jordan. You’ll hear more about him later.

Next stop is the Kan Du Studio, where local artists – I don’t even know how to say this, y’all. Let’s start over . . . the Kan Du Studio where artists with disabilities work and sell their art right alongside other artists from the community.  Maybe this: The Kan Du Studio where artists with all sorts of different abilities come together to create and sell their art. See what I mean? We need to get to a place where we talk not of abilities and disabilities but of people.

The artists at Kan Du Studio are well-known for stars – for being stars and for making stars.

The local newspaper donated these sheets of metal, and the Kan Du artists turn them into stars that you see everywhere . . .

. . . even in the women’s restroom in the gym.

Oh – and for those of you who sit with me around the The 70273 Project’s digital campfire (a.k.a. the Facebook group) where digital s’mores are served regularly, I want y’all to lookahere what they sell at Kan Du. If you’d like a place around The 70273 Project Campfire, come on over. We’ll make room for you, and I’ll try to steer you to a seat next to somebody who doesn’t tend to hoard their (digital) chocolate or steal yours.

One of the Kan Du artists creates his own world, making towns and everything you’d find in a town, including hamburger joints. He makes the towns by layering piece after piece after piece of paper, gluing the pieces together, and when he’s satisfied, he paints and positions it. He was absent the day we visited . . .  which is the only reason I got a “tour” of his towns cause he kinda’ keeps the proverbial gate around these towns, posting no trespassing signs everywhere by way of snatching pieces away from curious onlookers, and well, trespassers like me.

Tiles at the front door of the Main Street Deli in Findlay, Ohio

The Main Street Deli

Ceiling tiles at the Main Street Deli.

After Kan Du, it’s time for lunch at the Main Street Deli where the owner hires folks who’ve just been released from prison and those who are homeless. Not only do we get some of the best food ever, but the folks who cook it for us and those who serve it to us provide some of the friendliest customer service I’ve had in a long time. There was a good spirit in that little place, and Tanya says that the owner has never been disappointed by the people she hires.

Our stomachs full and our faces smiling, it’s time to head back to campus for the great unveiling of Quilt #5. Come back by tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it. Click right this way for part 2 of our time with the folks at Blanchard Valley Cnter.

~~~~~~~

Other places to gather around The 70273 Project water cooler:

Shop with Amazon Smile and support The 70273 Project.

Subscribe to the blog (where all information is shared).

Join the English-speaking Facebook group – our e-campfire – where you can talk to other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Join the French-speaking Facebook group – our other e-campfire – where you can chat with other members of The 70273 Project Tribe.

Like the Facebook page where you can check in for frequent updates.

Get folks to help celebrate your birthday by making blocks and/or donating bucks.

Follow the pinterest board for visual information.

Post using #the70273project on Instagram. (Please tag me, too, @whollyjeanne, so I don’t miss anything.)

Tell your friends what you want for your birthday.

And if you haven’t yet made some blocks, perhaps you’d like to put some cloth in your hands and join us.

Or maybe you’d like to gather friends and family, colleagues or students, club or guild members, etc. together and make a group quilt.