WATCH ⇑: Q&A with Marilyn Pettigrew about lap blanket donation, and why she chose Wilson Street School
MANCHESTER, NH – Marilyn Pettigrew has crocheted 60 “lap blankets” for the students of Wilson Street School, her way of letting them know someone cares. She has her reasons, and they’re all sentimental ones.
“I knew that this was the last year for Wilson Street School – it’s closing after this school year,” Pettigrew said a few weeks ago when she was met inside the school by school administrative assistant Deb Savary to deliver the colorful blankets.
Savary said the blankets will be distributed to students who could use an extra layer of comfort and warmth as identified through the school nurse or those receiving in-school therapy.
In the video above, Pettigrew explains that each blanket comes with a little note attached which reads, “A comfort lap blanket because someone cares about you, to believe in yourself. Love, Maggie Now.”
“Maggie Now” is her alter ego based on a book by the same name that was recommended to her by a parish priest when she was young. Pettigrew says the novel relays the struggles of a woman named Maggie Moore, navigating her own challenges against the needs of others, and in many ways embodies her own life – and the reasons she likes to serve the needs of others.
Pettigrew was most recently a crossing guard for the recently closed Hallsville Elementary School. Prior to that she served as a foster grandmother at Hallsville. And before crossing guard duty and foster grandmothering, Pettigrew worked as a lunch lady at both Central and West high schools, until finally retiring.
Her reason for choosing Wilson School as the benefactor of her comfort blankets goes a little deeper than simple kindness.
She explains that she was one of five children – three girls, two boys – who were placed in an orphanage “when she was little,” during a time when her parents were unable to care for them.
“We didn’t understand it at the time but my father was a veteran and suffered from PTSD, so he drank a lot. My mother had mental illness, so we had to go to the orphanage,” explains Pettigrew.
“When we came out of the orphanage they sent my sister [to Wilson Street School] and I know they’re closing, so I said I want to go put something in their hearts to comfort them. So that’s why I decided on Wilson Street School,” Pettigrew said.
Each blanket is made from one skein of 4-ply yarn. Pettigrew says she welcomes yarn donations from anyone who might have some around they aren’t using. She can be reached at email@example.com.