Craft Day at Our Country School

It’s been more than a half-century ago, but I can still remember Craft Day at school. The older students were taught certain crafts and instructed in how to make certain items for that day. Our teachers were quite talented and taught us to make somewhat sophisticated items for our ages.

This is when I made the two-piece, red, plaid, cotton suit (by hand). There was no pattern. The teacher cut the dress pieces out based on a rough estimate of my size, and under her watchful eyes, I sewed it together.

We made sweet peas and roses flowers from crepe paper. Since I like flowers, I thought they were so pretty, especially the sweet peas that were strung with thread. Then we made waste baskets from newspaper, cardboard and white flour glue. Today, they call it decoupage. Once our “masterpieces” were all finished and dried, we painted colorful flowers on the sides of the containers.

There’s a story in connection with our home-made glue. The glue is actually made with only white flour and water. The same combinations make gravy, plus oil. Our neighbor and fellow classmate had made her pan of glue and set it to the side. Her brother, thinking it was gravy, began sopping it up with his hot-buttered biscuit until she screamed at him that he was eating her waste basket glue. Well, that was the end of his gravy-sopping.

My favorite craft items were the corner shelves that were made from plywood and painted different, bright, cheerful colors. There were corner shelves and heart-shaped ones. We called them “what-not” shelves, because that’s what house wives called the shelves where they displayed their trinkets and small collectibles.

When all our craft pieces were finally finished and ready to show, our teachers had “open house” and displayed the many childish but fascinating items we kids had made. The parents had a chance to see how artistic their children were, and we kids were equally as proud to show off our latent talents.

I’m a grown-up kid now and still have a flair for crafts. Only now, they are a bit more sophisticated like quilting, mosaics, and designing greeting cards. The seed, however, was planted those many years ago when our teachers took a special interest in bringing out our hidden talents. I’m a firm believer that any time spent with children – no matter how young they are – is never wasted. As the old folks used to tell us, “You never lose what you’ve once learned,” and “It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”

Published on Oct 10, 2013

Grit Magazine

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