Now the Party’s Over*

OK. Last night was the night. It’s when I finally saw the whole thing ironed out. We’re good. I really should trust my instincts after all these years, but there’s often that moment of uncertainty when I’m not sure it’s gonna work.

Before I ever started ironing last night, though, I packed a quilt up for Quilts=Art=Quilts so I could ship it this morning. And then I went to my quilt meeting…although I should probably stop labeling it with the word ‘quilt’ because half the people knit. Let’s call it a String Meeting. A friend I used to work with always asked me how my string things were going, because another friend at work knitted and I quilted and he could never remember which was which, but he knew they all used strings.

Because this quilt was at a stage that is not transportable, I took my handwork with me. I needed to get the wool pieces sewn down for April (yes, I’m working on May…I’m a little wombly sometimes). These are two of the three blocks, but there’s a bunch of pinky-red flower dots that have to be sewn on, plus I had to find the eyeball fabric when I got home. So luckily I’m still working on the May elephant block, because these aren’t ready. But soon.

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Then I headed into the studio and pieced a backing, shoved the ironing board and chairs out of the way (I should have kicked them out of the studio), and threw the whole thing down on the floor.

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Sometimes it’s a mistake to try to iron a big quilt down on the floor in there, so I do it in the entryway, but it was almost 11 and I didn’t want to mop the floor, because it was pretty dirty. Luckily it worked…I managed to line up the male’s head and gun with the hole in the chalkboard (note to self…no need for a hole there…if I’d drawn it all behind the gun, I wouldn’t have had to worry about it). I also managed to get everything else flat. Miraculous really.

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Midnight was no help.

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And then I spent about 40 minutes with a spray bottle and a hot iron, trying to make sure it would stick long enough for me to stitch it down…which I could start tonight, if it wasn’t gaming night. Surely I will start tomorrow.

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It’s hanging up there and it’s too big for the space, so that’s a seriously wonky picture. But it’s gonna work. Outlining in the quilting for sure. No way do I have a thread that color…so this weekend, check batting and backing, and buy thread.

I’m sort of amazed by how hard this has been to make. I started teaching at age 35, recently divorced, with two little kids. The school where I started had very little support for new teachers. I had another science teacher I connected with who helped me a lot, but she has since quit. Nine days after I started my first job, two students brought a gun on campus to kill a teacher who “gave” one of them an F. Another kid snitched. I hate that word. I love that she told someone responsible. But those were the days before lockdowns. I remember at lunch, alone in my room, seeing kids running for the back part of the school in a huge bunch, but no one told us what was happening. I went home clueless…until I was watching the news last night and they broke the story.

There was no shooting. As far as I know, the teacher never came back. The gun never made it into the classroom…it was hidden on campus. That was a Friday. Eventually they called an emergency meeting for Monday morning. And that’s when lockdown drills started here in San Diego…or soon after. It was 3 years after the Santana High School shooting, back when these things were not so commonplace. I had a hard time dealing with the situation. It was hard for me to think that I might not make it home to my own very small (at that time) children because of something like that. And I have to say, that feeling has never gone away. I do still go back to school every day. Why? Because of the kids.

I’ll write later about a conversation I had last year with my students…which is also what this is about.

Deep stuff. Stitch down this weekend. Then sandwich and quilting.

*Roxy Music, Avalon

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