“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is a 1969 song recorded by Sly and the Family Stone, and it perfectly describes the reason I made this quilt. This project went to one of my all-time favorite high school teachers. Mr. Burrell, aka Mr. B, was a fantastic educator and an even more amazing motivator. He helped me through a very rough time, and I will always be thankful for him encouraging me to be the best version of myself (or mice elf).
If you look closely at this quilt, you will see apples stitched into it. I chose an apple stitch pattern (which is called a pantograph) because, of course, this is for a teacher. The bright colors of this quilt are a celebration of life and finding happiness.
The quilt pattern is from the Quilting 101 class at Fabricate Studios in Atlanta. I chose to use this pattern because Fabricate was where I learned to quilt. I had amazing teachers there as well.
The tradition of giving an apple to a teacher has a long and varied history, with several possible origins and meanings associated with it. While there is no single definitive explanation, here are some of the historical and symbolic aspects related to the practice of giving an apple to a teacher:
Symbol of Knowledge: One of the most common interpretations of giving an apple to a teacher is that it symbolizes knowledge. Apples have long been associated with knowledge and education due to their prominence in the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve. According to the biblical narrative, Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit, often depicted as an apple, leading to knowledge acquisition. Therefore, giving an apple to a teacher could be seen as a gesture of appreciation for the knowledge and wisdom they impart to their students.
Practical Gift: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rural students in the United States often brought apples to school as a practical gift for their teachers. Apples were readily available and considered a nutritious snack. Teachers, especially in one-room schoolhouses, may have appreciated the gesture, providing them with a healthy and easy-to-eat snack during the day.
Historical Perspective: In some regions, particularly in the United States, giving apples to teachers may have been a way to show gratitude and support for educators during challenging times. For example, during the Great Depression, when resources were scarce, parents and students may have given apples as a token of their appreciation for teachers who continued to educate children despite difficult circumstances.
Cultural Tradition: Cultural practices and folklore have also influenced the tradition of giving apples to teachers. In some cultures, apples are associated with luck, wisdom, or positive attributes, making them a suitable gift for teachers as a way to convey respect and good wishes.
Health and Nutrition: Apples have long been considered a symbol of health and nutrition. By giving an apple to a teacher, students may have expressed their desire for their teachers to stay healthy and continue educating them.
Teacher-Student Bond: The act of giving an apple to a teacher can be seen as a way for students to establish a positive and friendly relationship with their educators. It can symbolize a form of teacher appreciation and recognition of the teacher’s role in nurturing and shaping their minds.
Over time, the tradition of giving apples to teachers has evolved, and today, it is often more symbolic than practical. Many students and parents use apples as a heartfelt gesture to express their appreciation for teachers and their important work in educating and mentoring students. Regardless of its origins, the gesture remains a symbol of gratitude and respect for educators around the world.
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