The People Lover

Percy hangs next to the cabinet above our kitchen sink.

Meet Percy. Percy, the people lover.

My mom introduced us in the late 70s. For many years he had a paper tag, proving his title was not an invention of hers, but rather the name with which he arrived.

For as long as I can remember, in each of our houses, he has hung above the kitchen sink. I don’t remember exactly when I become his keeper, but I am sure it had everything to do with my fondness for him and was not at all a result of nobody else in my family being interested in displaying him.

He is not particularly attractive. Nor is he precisely crafted. But he does have charm for days and a wide open heart. As a people lover, Percy serves as a gentle, ever-present reminder of what we are here to do: love.

This week, I have been thinking about the ways physical objects (like Percy) shape, represent, and remind us of our identities.

In a recent class meeting via Zoom, a usually quiet student typed into the chat box, “Could I show you my bookshelf?” You can imagine how my teacher heart just about melted at the request. When he shared his books, his classmates responded with kindness and awe. It was such a gift to be given this tangible representation of who he is.

That moment prompted me to think differently about the following week’s optional invitation for my students to write and share. I remembered a regular feature in FLOW magazine called “Museum of Me.” In each issue, a different creative soul shares a photo layout of treasured objects with an accompanying annotated list explaining some of the backstory of each item.

In Issue 31, the introduction to the feature reads, “The story of your life is often revealed in small, personal objects.” I love that. We are longing for ways to connect, so I thought my students and I could try creating our own. Mine is below.

There is something special about opening your heart wide to others by giving and by being open to receive. My good friend Percy told me so.

10 thoughts on “The People Lover

  1. How wonderful that the student’s question opened a path to a personal invitation. When we stayed home from school, one of my first tasks for kids was to create a slide show called “Unpacking My Library” inspired by books with the same title. I like the idea of Museum of Me – I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it.

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  2. I love your little friend, Percy! What a wonderful invitation to write for your students! I so love this idea, and I can see how students would enjoy this too. This has me thinking about my own museum.

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  3. Percy, the people lover transports me back to my coming of age decade…1970s. Percy represents to me so many things about those times! I pause for a moment to savor my memories of those times and I smile shaking my head at the same time. I continue reading, “This week, I have been thinking about the ways physical objects (like Percy) shape, represent, and remind us of our identities.” I smile again with no head shaking this time.
    Your “Museum of Me” is fascinating to me like an archaeological dig. I am especially struck by the literacy legacy from your grandpa and mom. Only the Post-it notes didn’t surprise me.

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  4. Christy, there is so much to love in this piece, and such a stunning idea in the Museum of Me (can I really find a way to use that as a math teacher? Thinking….) but here is what I ponder on the most in your piece, and here is what I’D like to ponder–“This week, I have been thinking about the ways physical objects (like Percy) shape, represent, and remind us of our identities.” Very very rich. Thank you for that!

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  5. I love this and might make my own version as a blog post. I used to love a speech I had kids give where they described themselves for the class with 3 objects that fit in a small paper bag. Such a great way to make connections. I can’t wait to see what you find out about your kiddoes!

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  6. I love the idea from Flow Magazine and your idea to use it with your students!!! I’m trying to figure out how to curate an end of year art show virtually – instead of in our school Art Gallery. And, all the art work I have is the few we have done since we’re teaching/learning remotely. I have some ideas … but this is getting me thinking! Thanks!!! πŸ˜€

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