Hope Blecher
Hadassah Educators Council

This Little Piggy Blanket Gets Donated

Photo courtesy of the author.
Photo courtesy of the author.
Photo courtesy of Hadassah.
Photo courtesy of the author.

This is me keeping my promise. I promised myself that I would make a blanket. That is a first for me, making a “no sew” flannel blanket.

It is going to be hard to give this away. It is a Linus moment. How and why did I make this promise? Here is the story and I hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time a young girl enjoyed “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White. Ah, to be Fern and roam the grounds, talking with the animals. It was Dr. Doolittle-ish, and I was enthralled.

Fast forward to 2020, a move to a rural area and there was Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary. Fern’s place was within reach. People talk to the animals, learn their languages. People smile, work hard, and have a community.

Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary, to me, is a cross between Rex Harrison’s “Doctor Doolittle” and the loving animals of Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton, and friends.

I offered to volunteer. This action, volunteering, is at the core of Hadassah, one of my many volunteer organizations. When you do an Internet search using Hadassah volunteering, you will see a Wordle that includes the words Hadassah, volunteer, connect, community and help.

Thus, in their green pasture, I began serving, helping, and chatting. The connection began. First, I was a poopy scooper. I walked the fields with a bucket and shovel to scoop the poop. It was fun. It was peaceful. It was a time to listen and observe and be as one.

Then, I became the piggy in the blanket “tidy-upper.” Gosh, did you know that pigs sleep under piles of blankets? I was completely unaware of  this arrangement. It is a pig-sized “Princess and the Pea” party each night in their stalls. Some pigs sleep within a pile of 15 blankets of assorted sizes.

Then, as situations changed, I became a tutor to one of the residents. I worked with “TD” to obtain various forms of ID that many of us take for granted. His goal was and is to obtain his GED. That tutoring, that teaching, is akin to the work years ago of the founder of Hadassah, Henrietta Szold.

Somewhere in the intervening months, I received a handmade, no-sew blanket as a gift. And a bit later, I was online ordering the material. The first time, well, that order was not quite right. That material is now somewhere at a theater in Philadelphia. The second time, well they sent what I ordered, however that was my snafu. A lot of fabric arrived. I left it in the box and occasionally thought about making the blanket.

In mid-November, the time came to begin. I started a “Play Your Way” class with Delphie Joy. I looked at the farm fabric and green fabric as play. The day came a few weekends ago in December. I gathered the supplies as if they were ingredients in a delicious recipe.

Two big pieces of flannel
A 5″ cardboard template
A 1″ cardboard template
A pair of good scissors
Floor space; and Viola, the feline inspector.

And, unplanned, as I was working on the measuring and cutting, my hubby was watching The Grinch on television. As his heart grew, so did mine, and yes, we sang along with Thurl Ravenscroft and Boris Karloff.

Now, the cutting and knotting are done. It is not a task anymore. It is a warm feeling of accomplishment. It is more, too. That is for another time.

Off to the day’s teaching, learning, donating, and planning. Off to donate the blanket to the creatures at Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary and to chat with the pig crew.

What is to become of me and the rest of the fabric? I will measure, cut, sit, and knot a second blanket to donate. Also, I am available to share stories with your faculty, staff, and students. We can weave together a day of professional learning.

What can you do? That is up to you. You may volunteer, donate, or create. You may join Hadassah or another such non-profit volunteer organization. The next step is yours.

I thank you for stopping by and spending these past few minutes with me and this story. May the New Year be filled with warm wishes, kind gestures, rays of hope, sunshine, and peace.

About the Author
Dr. Hope Blecher, a member of the Hadassah Educators Council and the Hadassah Writers' Circle, has been working in the field of education for 37 years. Currently, she serves as an English as a Second Language teacher for an adult education program in NJ. Recently, she became the founder of Previously, Hope served in capacities from being the first Middle School Curriculum Coordinator and Humanities teacher for a yeshiva in Teaneck, NJ, to serving in public schools as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and the Supervisor of English Literacy, Social Studies and Media Services. Dr. Hope Blecher holds multiple standard NJDOE issued certifications that she has used by serving as an adjunct professor, a teacher of high school students with special needs, English Language Learners K-adult, and those in the elementary age level classrooms. Along with friends and colleagues, Hope co-authored educational books and articles. She earned a BA in Sociology, an MA in Early Childhood Education, and an Ed.D. in Teacher Leadership. She has been a member of Hadassah for over a decade, first in the Southern NJ chapter and currently in the Lower New York State chapter.
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