The front porch on my childhood home was rather large and raised about two feet off the ground. It was the perfect "stage" for the neighborhood children. We performed many a theatrical production and song and dance routine on it. When we weren't doing plays, we were telling ghost stories in my backyard. There was a small wooded area right behind my home, and we were convinced that something "spooky" must inhabit it. Another favorite activity was "playing army". The boys, of course, were the warriors while the girls were the nurses who lovingly nursed them back to health. (It might be played a little differently now, but Womens Lib hadn't really taken hold strongly in the 1950's.) One time my cousins and I found a little dead bird in my grandparent's back yard. We gently put him into a shoe box and then began funeral preparations. We sat at my grandmother's long kitchen table and made dozens of Kleenex tissue flowers. We then had the service complete with scripture reading and hymns. His grave, of course, was covered with our beautifully created tissue flowers. Thank you, momma and daddy, for a magical childhood where my imagination could run wild.
Ms. Georgia was my fourth grade teacher. She was one of the most glamorous women I had ever known at that time. She wore straight skirts, her hair in a french twist, and tall high heel shoes. We performed the operetta "Cinderella" that year. I was assigned the part of one of the ladies at the ball. Well, I really wanted a larger part. My friend, Janet, was going to be one of the mean stepsisters. She wasn't really crazy about having a main part, and so we convinced Ms. Georgia to let us trade our parts. My mom made two costumes for me. One was a beautiful flowered creation for every day scenes and another one to wear to the ball. The one I wore to the ball was covered in chiffon, and momma sewed seed pearls all over it. I think Ms. Georgia was a little concerned I might "outshine" Cinderella. Another thing I remember about fourth grade was that Ms. Georgia read to us every day. She read just about all "The Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. At recess, the girls would play "Little House on the Prairie". I was living in the desert of southeastern New Mexico so we had a lot of rocks on our playground. We used the rocks to make the rooms of our prairie home. Ms. Georgia also strongly emphasized creative writing. She had us all write stories, and then she sent them to "Hornbook" where two of us had our stories published. My story was "Ali and His Camel". I earned five dollars since it was published. I still have the "Hornbook" with my story in it. I heard that in later years Ms. Georgia secured several sewing machines, and the children were able to sew and create from materials. Thank you, Ms. Georgia, for nurturing our imaginations.
I am so hopeful that our schools and our families will continue to nurture our children's imaginations. Some schools are cutting arts programs and this concerns me a great deal. Our children must be able to draw, paint, sculpt, dance, sing, perform plays, play musical instruments, and write creatively. These things are just as important as academics. I think most corporate officers will tell you they need individuals who can think creatively and get along well with others. What better way to achieve this goal than through the arts.
I hope something happens today to spark your imagination! May all of your dreams come true! Blessings to you, dear friends, and thank you for coming by today! I value and appreciate your friendship.