Saturday, October 6, 2012

In Memory of My Beloved 3rd Grade Teacher

This week I got the news that my beloved 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Stookbury, died after a valiant fight with cancer.  It saddens my soul that this bright shining light in the world has passed on.  I know her family and close friends must be aching with loss.  I heard that her last months were painful and debilitating.  And in light of this fact, I am glad that she no longer has to suffer.  I'm so thankful that I got to be one of her many, many students in her years as an educator.

I have been thinking about her all day.  I have only fond memories of her.
She was SUNSHINE at Sequoyah Elementary School.  She was an ANCHOR in my childhood.
Mrs. Katherine Stooksbury
Now that I am a mom and have had children this age, I feel even more indebted to Mrs. Stooksbury.  What a significant influence teachers are in the lives of children!!  

Two years ago, when Asher was in 3rd grade, I wrote a thank you letter to his teacher letting her know how significant my 3rd grade teacher was. I expressed how important and memorable I know she will be to my son.  I also wrote a letter to Mrs. Stooksbury to let her know that now I have a 3rd grader of my own.  I reminisced in the letter about my favorite memories of her.

The most significant was how she stood at the classroom door and welcomed us to the day.  She offered hugs and bright shining smiles.  I loved it.  It was such a comfort.
At one point in the year, she had been on a diet and had lost a substantial amount of weight. None of the students were happy about that, as she was not nearly as “squishy” and soft when we hugged her!

I remember her reading aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, over a couple of weeks. We were captivated.  It is still one of my very favorite Christmas books.

I remember she was a safe place for me.  My cousin died, tragically, during that school year and it was my first death to experience.  I remember her being so in tune and compassionate. 

I loved her great big smile, twinkling eyes, and wonderful laugh. 

When I wrote to her a couple of years ago, she wrote a 3 page letter in response.
It was such a treasure to hear from her.  She wrote about the fond memories she had of our family at the school during those years.  She reminisced about her years of being in the classroom. It was so fun to hear from her.

It's hard to believe her life is over.  She will be missed and forever cherished. 

I want to continue to show appreciation to my kids' teachers.  They give so endlessly to their students.  I am so grateful for all they do.  I am astounded by the indelible mark that a teacher can make in these impressionable years. 

I try to love my teachers through notes, and prayers, and baked goods.  These Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies are ones I made for Lainey’s teacher a few weeks ago. (Lainey is in 3rd grade this year).  [Of course, at our school, I had to attach a note with a warning that “THESE CONTAIN PEANUT PRODUCT”].  The recipe is from The Peanut Butter & Co. Cookbook,  a cookbook filled with peanut butter recipes from the peanut butter sandwich shop in NYC.   I think these cookies are terrific!  They are crispy yet chewy, rich and chocolate-studded.   I can’t think of anything much more comforting than a Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie.  I wish I knew what Mrs. Stooksbury's favorite kind of cookie was so I could make it in her honor! (I may just have to start calling these the Mrs. Stookbury cookies in memory and honor of her.)

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (or more) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda and set aside. 

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Add the egg and continue mixing.  Add the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until the dough is firm.  If the dough is too dry, add water by the Tablespoon (but no more than 1/4 cup) until it is moist and easier to work with. (I haven't found the need to do so, but it depends on the kind of peanut butter you use.  I use creamy natural.)
Fold in chocolate chips.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap in a log OR in in covered bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and cut into 1/4 inch slices (if a log) OR scoop with spoon or scoop.  Place cookies on a cookie sheet at least 1 inch apart and bake for 10 minutes or until fully baked.  Allow cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes, as they easily break when hot.  

Allow to cool before serving. 

I encourage you to LOVE A TEACHER THIS MONTH: a teacher from your past, or present – or your child’s teacher or grandchild’s teacher, or neighbor-friend who is a teacher.  Give the gift of GRATITUDE and maybe even some cookies!

1 comment:

  1. Julie, Thank you so much for not only sharing your yummy recipes but your sweet memories of your teacher. You have a beautiful family. I cannot wait to try some of these yummy recipes.