School days: Reading, writing, and now some recipes
Monday, August 27, 2012
Jane Lawson in grade school at Fairview Elementary.
Everything about being a teacher fascinated me, from the grade books, to the stickers, to the bulletin boards in the classroom. I recall going into school on Monday mornings to find my classroom teacher had spent time putting up a new bulletin-board displays complete with colorful corrugated paper borders.
My mom found two student desks for me at an auction, and I had them in my basement play area. If I could talk a friend into being the student, I was the teacher. I had stacks of old extra worksheets from my teachers. At the end of the year, any freebie the teacher offered was stuffed into my book bag.
I loved so many aspects of school. I enjoyed being part of a class for a whole year, and I adored my classroom teachers. Reading, writing and spelling were definitely my favorite subject areas.
I used the money I earned delivering newspapers to buy things I wanted, and I wanted books. I was an avid reader and would pore over the book orders given to me by my teachers. I would circle and star the books I wanted then carefully add up the prices to see which books I could buy. The day our books and the free gift (if you ordered so many items, you received a free gift, which was usually a poster of a cute, fuzzy animal) were stacked on our desks, was an exciting day for me. I couldn’t wait to begin reading.
As much as I loved to be in my classroom I also enjoyed going to specials. Specials were a time to leave the classroom and do something different. My friends and I used to rate our specials by giving a thumbs-up for our favorite special, a thumbs-down for our least favorite and a thumb stuck out to the side for the one in the middle. At recess or lunch we would compare our ratings.
I also enjoyed any kind of special event at the school such as the track meet, and I especially loved it when the “big kids” from the middle school or high school came for a visit to the school or to perform for us.
I was especially fond of the spring carnival held in the school gym. Back then children were let loose with friends to play games and win prizes. I tried my hand at as many games as I could. The cake walk was something I never missed, but unfortunately that cake shaped like a bunny covered with snow white coconut flakes was never mine to take home.
This is Part 3 of 3 of my memories of Fairview Elementary.
Bus Driver — Mrs. Gifford
I attended PM Kindergarten which meant after my usual lunch of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup while watching “Betty Lou and the Magic Window” my mom hurried me off to my bus stop to wait. My bus driver was Barb Gifford, and I adored her. Barb said all of us were so little we almost needed a step stool to get onto the bus, and we all sang songs while she drove us to school.
One day as I approached the bus, I saw there was a child sitting on her lap as she drove. Barb explained the child was upset about going to school. My wheels began to turn. I, too, wanted to sit on her lap and help steer that big bus.
A few days later I had a plan. As the bus came to a stop, I quickly shooed my mom away, and the tears began to flow. “I miss my mommy,” I wailed. I don’t know if Barb knew of my ploy, but it worked and I sat in her lap with a smile on my face all the way to the school.
Microwave Caramel Corn
This is a special treat that Barb’s kids and grandkids all love. The secret ingredient is pancake syrup. Barb said it’s much easier to coat all of the popcorn if it’s divided among three or four bowls.
5 bags microwave popcorn, popped
2 sticks oleo
2 cups sugar (can use all white or all brown sugar, I use a cup of each)
½ cup pancake syrup
Bring oleo, sugar and syrup to a boil in the microwave and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Pour mixture over the popcorn. Then spread popcorn on cookie sheets and let cool. Then break it up with your hands.
Art Teacher — Mrs. Schapman
The art room at Fairview was a “sunshine-y” place for me. Art was always my “thumbs up” special. The room had a window that brought in bright sunlight, and Mrs. Schapman’s enthusiasm for art was constant.
We sat on stools that spun and worked at tall tables using smelly Mr. Sketch markers. As we worked, Mrs. Schapman sketched at her special drawing table.
I remember one fall Mrs. Schapman created a haunted house in her kiln room. It was very spooky to me, especially the guillotine. Every spring Mrs. Schapman selected certain pieces of art to be hung at the annual art show. As we walked through the art show I was so proud to show my family I was an artist.
As fall approaches, Ann says comfort food is hard to beat. Ann and her husband, Dave, like to make a large batch of meatloaf and freeze it to use later. They enjoy fried slices of meatloaf with cheese on bread, and they also use crumbled meatloaf as a pizza topping.
Soak 4 slices of bread, cut into cubes with a mixture of 1-2 eggs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning, and ½ cup milk for 5 minutes.
Add chopped onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese to bread crumbs.
In a large bowl thoroughly mix together 1 ½ lbs hamburger and ½ b lItalian sausage or chorizo seasoned with Emeril’s Original Essence. Shape into small loaves for individual size or medium or large loaves depending on number eating or freeze for additional meals. Place all loaves in a 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Tip pan to remove excess grease.
To make glaze, mix together:
¼ cup chili sauce or catsup
¼ cup light corn syrup
Spoon over loaves.
Music Teacher — Mrs. Severin
The last year I spent at Fairview was the spring of 1987, but I can still remember the words to many songs taught to us by Mrs. Severin. We sang in our seats as she played the piano. Since Mrs. Severin plays the piano like it is second nature to her, she was always able to keep a watchful eye on her students.
If Mrs. Severin was going to show a filmstrip, she chose the student with the birthday closest to that day to push the button to advance the film.
We prepared for weeks for our annual music program. When I was in about second or third grade, Mrs. Severin asked me to perform a dance to a Japanese song called, Sakura (cherry blossoms). She even found a kimono for me to wear.
In fifth grade, Mrs. Severin announced there would be auditions for the upcoming operetta about a sorcerer and his wife. I was ecstatic to be selected as The Good Fairy. Luckily I had a white lacy dance recital costume from the year before that worked perfectly. I said my lines and sang my solo as planned during the dress rehearsal that afternoon. However, during the evening performance I got a tickle in my throat and coughed through my entire solo.
This recipe comes from Helen Schawartzenbach, a former sixth-grade teacher. Ellen makes this meal for her grandchildren and neighbors as they are quite fond of it.
2 lbs ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 (8 oz) cans tomato soup
8 oz small noodles
1 cup cottage cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup butter
In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion. Add tomato sauce. Cook noodles according to package directions. Mix all cheeses and sour cream. In a buttered casserole dish, layer half of the noodles, half of the cheese mixture and half of the meat. Repeat layers. Dot with butter. Preheat oven and bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. If frozen, bake 1 hour or until bubbly.
Ellen’s note: Sometimes I add fresh chives to the cheese mixture, it adds a nice touch.
Librarian (3rd-6th Grades) — Mrs. Nissen
In third grade, students moved from the pods in the south part of Fairview to the north side of the building. This section also contained the library in the middle of all the classrooms.
The library was a place I wanted to be. Each week Mrs. Nissen began library time by sharing a new book with us. I was always excited to hear her summary of the newest book being added to the library.
The magazine room was near the circulation desk, and I used to go in there to pore through the issues of my favorite magazines — Teen, YM (Young Miss) and Cat Fancy. I would always reserve the current issue to take home as soon as it was available for check out.
Grandma Ostebee’s Pineapple Pie
Many years after Marlene’s grandma passed away, her father mentioned that he missed his mother’s pineapple pie. Marlene asked her mom if she had the recipe so she could try her hand at making it. The pie was a huge success. Her father loved the pie. It has since become a family favorite at holiday time even in her husband’s family. Twice a year the Nissen cousins get together, and Marlene usually bakes one to take along.
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple (juice too)
1½ cups cream or carnation milk (I use cream)
3/4 cup sugar
3 heaping tablespoons flour
Mix together. Put filling between two pie crusts. Preheat oven and bake at 450 degrees for 15 min then at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate.
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