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Judy Spooner: Creativity can continue with age

Some people believe that only children and artists have creative minds. I can testify that it's not true. Creativity stays with you throughout your life.

Daughter Margie will be 40-something in a month. In pondering what to give her for her May 12 birthday, I thought about a gift certificate for a craft and fabric store because she is very creative. It started when she was very young.

At 3, I found her in the bathroom sprinkling her baby sister's talcum powder into water in the sink. "What are you doing?" I asked, a phrase I've said thousands of times since.

"I'm making 'spearment," she said, and I remembered we had watched a science program about "experiments" the day before.

I bought her Play Doh, but she wasn't interested in molding it like other children. When I wasn't looking, she put it in the oven. It gets very hot and dries out. Then she wanted to see if it stuck to our cat. It does for a short time. It also irritates the cat.

Margie wasn't misbehaving. She was exploring the world, even when it sometimes exhausted my patience.

As she was growing up, there were more 'spearments, such as trying to achieve the perfect tent in the back yard. I lost an entire bag of clothes pins and several screwdrivers that were used as tent pegs.

Margie loves Barbies, but, unknown to me, she beheaded them and dropped them out of her second-floor bedroom window.

"After three months in the snow, they turn green," she told me when I discovered them in the spring.

She gave me a poem in July of that year. "Summer is nice place," she wrote.

Some years ago, Margie learned to make some very tasty fudge. One batch didn't harden the way it should. She poured it into canning jars. She bought restaurant-type spoons and decorated the handles with clay art. When the spoons were attached to the necks of the jars with colorful ribbons, they became "personal fudge." It made great gifts that Christmas.

When she was learning to make pottery in junior high, Margie wanted to dig up her own clay. I rented a post-hole digger for that project.

She let her coil pot partially collapse and glazed the inside of the pot to make me a pencil holder. The teacher gave her an "F." She told me the teacher's opinion didn't matter because she was a bad teacher.

Last week, we talked about her creativity as she laid out skeins of wool on the dining room table that was covered with newspapers and sheets of plastic.

She mixed concentrated Kool-Aid and sprinkled it over the yarn to dye it. She washed the wool and hung the skeins on the front porch to dry.

"What are you doing?" I said.

"You need to take a picture of the hanging yarn. It looks cool," she said, laughing at her play on words.

Margie explained that she's crocheting a purse. When she washes it and puts it in the dryer, it will shrink. "It's called felting," she said.

"What's with the Kool-Aid?" I asked.

"I'm making 'spearment," she said.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600