Sunday, June 8, 2008

Goodbye, Teacher

Last week was the final week of the school year for a young relative. We give small gifts to the teachers at Christmas break and at the end of the term. I wanted to make handmade gifts this June, not only due to our budget, but because I enjoy giving a personalized gift.

For the music teacher, I created a small hanging pillow. The front was white Aida, the back was black velveteen, and the hanging cord was gold trim from India. I cross stitched a black silhouette of a colonial violinist, from the book "Anne Orr's Charted Designs," by Dover Publications.

For one (male) teacher, I made a watercolor of his family coat-of-arms, which I had researched on the internet.

For the homeroom teacher, I wanted to make a sampler-type gift but knew I didn't have time to make a large one and frame it.

Thursday evening (June 5th) I was still working on her gift. I had wanted to make a sampler that looked like a blackboard, the same sampler that I stitched for one of my daughter's teachers many years ago. It was from an issue of the (now defunct) magazine "Cross Stitch and Country Crafts." Unfortunately, I couldn't find that issue, and realized that I'm missing 2 or 3 issues, not just that one.

I had to design my own sampler to be stitched with DMC floss on black Aida.
The sampler read, from top to bottom:
(stitched apple) Teacher's Name (in white thread) (stitched apple)
SCHOOL (white letters on green box background)
GRADE she taught(in white thread)
(x-stitch of a #2 yellow pencil)

below I stitched (in different colors):
math equations; an angle, a square, a triangle, a quadrilateral; math operation symbols; an outline of the continental USA, Alaska, and Hawaii; the sun, moon, Mars, Earth, and Saturn; a darkling beetle on oats, under a magnifying glass; and the word "SPARKLE" to commemorate a spelling game they played.

By this time it was midnight and I finished it as a small hanging pillow. The backing was green with a small black paisley-type design. The hanging cord was of white rick-rack.

I did not go to sleep until 2:30 a.m. Friday morning because it took me that long to do the watercolor coat-of-arms. I got up a few hours later, wrapped both gifts, and put them in a bag to be taken to school.

After school I was informed how much the homeroom teacher LOVED her gift, and that she wished she could have met me. Actually, I had met her several years ago, when I observed classes there for three days. She just forgot.

* * * *
This morning I began reading the local newspaper online.

I see her last name on the obituaries. I see the same first name as hers.

It states she was a teacher at the same school.

I cannot believe what I am reading.

I call the mother of one of the classmates and find that it is true.

She had a heart attack the day after school ended, the day after she announced her retirement, the day after she received my cross stitched gift--a gift that both acknowledged her teaching and brought her happiness.

All of you--my friends in stitching--la communaute des brodeuses, never underestimate the power of your needle and thread.

With needle and thread we create joy, we create friendships, we mark milestones.

Your embroidery may be the only cross stitched gift a person ever receives. Your embroidery may be the last gift someone receives.

Cherish your skills, pass them on, teach someone to cross stitch. Je brode, et vous?

Goodbye to a wonderful TEACHER

1 comment:

Lili said...

Hi!
I loved reading your comment on my blog. It's always enriching when people share like you do. Thank you.
Now, about this special post about the teacher: this is very touching and true.
When I learnt that my grandma's breast cancer was coming back after 47 years, on her 94th birthday, I stitched an angel to bring her courage and faith. She just loves it. She's still there, tired but not suffering -which is a great relief. The angel is attached on the drawer close to her bed.

Yes, your teaching can make wonders, in particular for persons who do crafts themselves, and thus understand how much love and care you put into your gifts.

I'm glad that your grand daughter's learning violin. This sort of makes up for your own frustration (I wish I had a better word to express it, but can't find it). My son is learning German now, and I'm learning with him. In French, we call it "boucler la boucle", sort of "close the loop".

Your Stitching is amazing and I'll come back to visit your blog with great pleasure. It's very pleasant to read.
Take care, "Trillium" (any other name I can give you or is this the one your prefer?).
Lili