Make do and mend with Oh Sew Kitty
I was very lucky indeed to receive an invitation to attend a VE day at a local primary school. To enter into the spirit of things I donned some proper garb and dressed as a land girl, I reported for duty. As I stood in the bunting-filled corridor waiting for registration to be taken, one parent was quite taken aback when I moved slightly. She came up to me to check that I wasn’t a mannequin. I think I took that as a compliment…!?
The children had been busy planning and designing what they were going to be making. I’d spent some time with them in the previous week offering ideas on how to fashion things in the spirit of the Make do and mend era. Between us we came up with eight different ways to utilise a pair of old jeans. I was pleased that the denim jeans bag I had made, inspired some of the children to then go on and make their own version.
The morning was spent helping and guiding the children with their individual projects. My preconceived ideas of the boys not wanting to know about sewing were completely destroyed and my swiftly bought army sewing kit really wasn’t necessary. In fact some of the boys were so keen it was pleasantly hard work keeping up with them! I’m still not sure why the adult world of sewing is predominately female having witnessed all this enthusiasm and ability first hand, but in this case I’ll attribute it to the attitude of the can-do teachers.
I really don’t know where primary teachers get their energy from as I was quite wiped out after a morning’s work. When recounting the story to a colleague though, he did point out quite tactfully that I may have thrown all of my being into the project and consequently used up all my energy. I do suspect that he may be a tad right! The upside was though that I felt really fulfilled and appreciated. Children are so honest with their feelings and flexible in their thinking. They kept me on my toes and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Whilst the children went to assembly I helped the staff prepare one of the rooms for their VE party and lent my hand-knitted red, white and blue bunting for the occasion. I was glad that they were going to have a useful purpose before festooning my Xmas tree. There’s the possibility that they’ll be used in another craft fair venture, however the likelihood as with many decorations is that they’ll be hidden away for a year until next Xmas.
I could have stayed all day and watched the children learn to jive dance and make war-time food, but sadly it was time to go. I took off my land girl head scarf, wiped the red lipstick away, put on my sensible coat and got back into sensible mum character. With the sounds of appreciate clapping and the background music of “We’ll meet again,” I stepped outside and went back to civilian life and the twenty-first century. I hope that the children got as much out of the Make do and mend exercise as I did.
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Writer in Australia who creates characters that often don't like me.
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