Since my workshop weekend, I've been thinking a lot about closets, attics, and family relics. When Lita Judge talked about finding the dusty box filled with foot tracings, saved all those years, relics of her grandmother's relief efforts during World War II, I started thinking about my own grandmother. She loved to show us a metal box containing "important papers." What was in the box? The pardon her grandfather received from President Andrew Johnson so that he could own land and vote, a pardon for fighting in the Civil War (AKA to Southern school children of a previous era or perhaps still - The War Between the States). Also among her precious possessions- several Confederate dollars. I'm not sure what she thought she'd do with these, but to a child, they were fascinating.
I was also fascinated with her yo-yo quilt. Small circles pieced together to make a random pattern of vibrant colors. She taught me to sew those little circles. I taught my own daughter, and we even got so far as the doll quilt size. I still have my leftover circles, and my grandmother's. Yesterday's mail brought the new LL Bean catalog and guess what you can order? A yo-yo quilt, just like my grandmother's. Only my grandmother's is much prettier. Here's the pillow from the Bean's catalog:
At our SCBWI conference, Lita Judge also talked about discovering her story Pennies for Elephants while pouring through microfilm at the library. I spent a lot of time helping people search through that antiquated format in my days as a reference librarian, and I don't remember ever seeing a story like this one. But now, if I ever see an old newspaper with a large photograph of an elephant, I'll stop and read that microfilm for sure.
Great discoveries can be made in the most unexpected places.