I enjoyed conversations with parents who actually wanted their children to learn. I can spin and talk and keep an eye on a child all at the same time. The really little ones are so curious, and I spun slowly, ready to stop on a dime if a little hand came in too close. But one little guy’s reach for the action took me totally unaware and I barely stuck my hand into the flyer ahead of his to stop it. Five hooks gouged my palm and there was blood, to the great consternation of the mother. The little boy announced “Boo Boo.” That was no one’s fault but my own.
One time I was spinning and had a pre-teen boy for an audience. He watched intently, but could not be engaged in conversation. Then his karate chop stopped the flyer cold. There surely was pain, but no blood. He grabbed his right hand and ran, but appeared shortly thereafter with his irate mother who demanded I pay for a trip to the emergency room for an x-ray. I told her I’d see her x-ray and raise her a custom made, recently karate chopped cherry flyer. They stormed off. That flyer is still cracked across the base.
My best defense against unsupervised and stupid children was a good offense, and an order to leave. One young lady disengaged herself from her group of very young teens, walked into my booth, into the center of a clothing rack and commenced turning in circles, twisting the clothing into a rope about herself. I said “Out. Out. Out.” Loudly and not politely. She ran, but returned, bawling, with parent. “What did you do to my daughter?” from the angry parent. The girl sobbed, pointed at me, hiccupped. I said to her “Tell your mother what you did.” After a few minutes of these two sentences being exchanged over and over, mom took sobbing child and left.
In recalling these two incidents, I’m still troubled for these children. I can recall rude and stupid things I did as a child. I knew they were rude and stupid when I did them. I knew I would not do that again, and only thought of parental intervention the two times I had to be taken for stitches. To the best of my knowledge, my parents never berated the parents of the other children involved. The two children I mentioned would thirty or more by now. I hope they learned to take responsibility.
Those two are my “bad kid’ instances. And they were totally trumped by the good kids. I was demonstrating weaving at the St. James Court Art Show in Louisville and into my warp, weft, shuttle and shedd talk to an audience when I heard a young voice yelling “She’s not going over and under! She’s not going over and under!” A young girl was running across the street and stopped beside me. “You’re not going over and under!” A quantum technical leap. I gave her the bench and shooed her embarrassed parents into the audience. She was a natural and after two minutes was demonstrating changing shedds, throwing the shuttle, beating on the open and closed shed, and making neat selvedges as I stood up and talked. I bet all weavers started on potholders, over and under. I hope she got a loom and lessons.