Gypsy's Travels

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Linus Quilts

The "Peanuts" cartoon strip been a popular icon for many years. It appeals to the casual reader while imparting some philosophical ideas to anyone willing to search a little deeper. I am not sure that is what its creator, Charles Schulz, intended, but that is what has happened.

Along the way, we have grown to know and love the characters and, perhaps, even identify with one particular one. In 1995, Karen Loucks gave birth to "Project Linus" never stopping to dream of the potential impact of her acts. The name was based on the character of Linus from the "Peanuts" comic strip.

Linus Van Pelt inspired the term "security blanket" with his classic pose. He is the intellectual of the gang, and flabbergasts his friends with his philosophical revelations and solutions to problems. He suffers abuse from his big sister, Lucy, and the unwanted attentions of Charlie Brown's little sister, Sally. He is a paradox: despite his age, he can put life into perspective while sucking his thumb. He knows the true meaning of Christmas while continuing to believe in the Great Pumpkin.

Karen initiated widespread giving of handmade quilts, blankets, and afghans to children who seemed in need - hurt, abused, abandoned, sick, lonely - children trying to handle whatever life was throwing at them. It worked! The quilts gave comfort and security to children adrift in a world not of their choosing. They wrapped themselves in the love and concern given by strangers whom they would never meet. It was theirs. It was tangible. It helped. The tragedy at Columbine H.S. is a prime example of the power of love in the form of a quilt.

I am honored to have been on the construction end as well as the giving end of Linus Quilts. Our quilting group regularly makes and sends to a central spot, small quilts for small humans, and I have frequently given quilts to children in the Emergency Room (ER). Children who are brought in from car accidents, rushed to the ER in the middle of a cold night from their warm beds, and those just traumatized by adults who had no business having children in the first place.

An incident was related to me by a paramedic who transported a 6 year old girl from school to the ER.
"She asked to hold the flowered, stuffed bear that was hanging above the stretcher. So I gave it to her."
"What is her name?" she asked.
"Whatever you want to name her, " he told her.
"I want to call her Mrs. Flowers."
The child talked and played with the bear all the way to the ER. When they arrived at their destination, she handed the bear back to the EMT.
"Will you look after her and always call her Mrs. Flowers?" the girl asked.
The EMT handed the bear back to her and told her it was hers to keep.
"Really? You mean it is really mine to keep forever and ever? My very own bear?"

Yes, child, it is really yours. This was early in the history of the "Linus Project." What a shame we had no quilt then to wrap around you with love. Many people are striving to make sure no child is left out.

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