I started work on a new project yesterday. Organised by Arts Uplift under the title Suitcase Stories, it’s an 18 month reminiscence and music project for people living with dementia and their carers in the Wyre Forest, Redditch, Bromsgrove and Wychavon districts running from November 2018 to March 2020.
Yesterday we held a taster session in Redditch, singing familiar songs and looking at objects from a suitcase containing all sorts of things to trigger memories as a starting point for conversation and songwriting. Here are some lines I wrote using what one of the participants told me:
Grandma’s little slipper-shaped box
I’d never seen her take it before,
so it came as quite a shock
the day I saw my grandma
open up her little box,
pinch out the yellow powder
and push it up her nose
then try to hide her fingers
behind the dominoes.
Her handkerchiefs were horrible –
stained by that yellow stuff
but the little box was beautiful,
filled with grandma’s snuff.
© Heather Wastie
Here is a link to more information about the project. There are places available, should you know of anyone who may be interested, and there’s a mentoring opportunity for music students too.
Tonight I’ll be performing in Malvern with four other Worcestershire Poets Laureate. Happy National Poetry Day!