"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thanks For The Memories Mrs. Okimura!

My Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook was a Christmas gift to me in 1972 from my parents. I had a hope chest to put it into until I married and left home. When I was growing up and during the first years of my marriage this was THE "go to" cookbook for me. It contained all the recipes and how to's I needed, even a chapter on table settings and etiquette for serving! This book contains so very many memories. Memories that start way back in Hale Kula Elementary School at Schofield Barracks , Hawaii where I attended 3 years of school. My favorite teacher of all my school years was Mrs. Okimura, my 4th grade teacher. Look at this page of my cookbook!(click on picture to enlarge and read recipe) It has the very first recipe I baked all by myself thanks to Mrs. Okimura. I don't remember the occasion, but our beautiful teacher ( yes, she really was the prettiest and nicest teacher in the school and all us kids wanted HER to be our teacher, I got to be in her class!) decided we needed coffee cake to serve to someone visiting, I think. So she allowed me and a few other students to mix up this coffee cake batter and pour it into pans to be baked in the school cafeteria. WOW! I was allowed to do this with little help, she thought I could, and I did! When I went home later that day I showed my Mom the recipe in our cookbook and Mom allowed me to bake this. I baked it many , many times over the course of my growing up years and when I received this cook book as a gift I immediately marked the recipe with the date and place I first made it. I have also baked this simple coffee cake more times than I can count during our children's growing up years. I would whip it up for surprise company, or a quick dessert . Now when I make it I add a dash of instant coffee crystals and almost triple the topping recipe, so much better...but still reliably good baked just as the book requires. Our granddaughter came over for her weekly reading lesson with me and I thought back to my good experiences in learning, what made and still makes me happy and I immediately remembered Mrs. Okimura. Well then, today MN and Grandma would start the lesson reading a cookbook recipe and baking it. And MN was delighted! Look at her smile. ( BTW, when she comes over she requires that BOTH of us go upstairs to my bathroom and put on our "whipstick", hence the lovely red lips)
MN cracked the egg, added the ingredients and mixed the batter up all by herself. Then poured this mix into the baking pan she had greased by herself.
The brown sugar & cinnamon topping is yummy!
Look, butter and sugar coated hands!
Better finish off the batter left in the bowl before washing up, can't waste this!
And before we move onto more of our reading lesson while we wait for the cake to bake she washes the dishes. MN thinks THIS is the best part of all, washing the dishes and cleaning up. Really. She then offered to help me clean my entire house, yes, really! I decided we needed to continue on with the reading lesson instead.
The cake was done just as Poppa came home from work so the three of us had cake and coffee or hot chocolate.
This is what MN thought of her cake! And I was thinking about Mrs. Okimura, and how she affected my life for the good all those years ago and how special people like her give the gift of memories that affect people for the better for all their years. Thank-you for the memories Mrs. Okimura, and I suspect our little MN will thank you too.
"Memories: The state of being remembered; a living continuously in the minds of men." Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary


Candy Duell said...

Wouldn't Mrs. Okimura be so proud to know how much one lesson helped 2 little girls :) The cake looked delicious!

Debbie said...

Kathy, this was such a heart warming post. I've meant to say before that MN has a wonderful smile and could give lessons on smiling, so the 'whipstick' is merely guilding the lily. What a joy she is! Your grandchildren are all blessings. All little girls should have 'Mrs. Okimuras' in their lives. She must have been a wonderful teacher. I too have this cookbook, and both my daughters. Of course theirs are newer and different. I got mine in 79. It is not quite as well used as yours, but well stained and with some loose pages. MN will remember the cake and the recipe, but they will be even more pleasant because they will evoke memories of you and your experiences together. What a lucky girl. And a lucky grandma!

LindaSue said...

My first real cookbook was from Mrs. Davina - 9th grade home ec teacher (before that I'd used my mom's recipe box) - I still have it - a ring binder Betty Crocker cookbook and it is my "go to" for simple food with no mixes involved. Aren't we blessed to have sweet memories and you are a blessing to be passing on those sweet and tasty memories to your grandchildren! Coffee cake looks SO yummy

The Tiquehunters Wife said...

Dear Kathy,
Your post today was a fabulous way for me to start the few moments I have on the computor! It is heartwarming! So special and meaningful,this teaching time with your precious and beautiful granddaughter! (What a beautiful, joyful, smile!) A truly priceless gift in so many ways!
Makes me thankful too, for those who are true, caring teachers, leaving a lasting impression for the good, on those the Lord brings into their lives!
What a privilege!
Have a wonderful day!
With Love from the Cabin!
Claudia O.

Southern Comfort said...

That is a very special reading lesson. She has such style, preparing herself for cooking by first applying pretty makeup. Being able to read and follow a recipe is a valuable skill and it is even more valuable to do it by your grandmother's side. She will never forget these times, just like you've never forgotten Mrs. Okimura.

Connie said...

Passing down memories through cooking lessons is a wonderful way to spend some time together! Love MN's smile. That coffeecake looks delicious too!

Karen said...

I feel all warm inside from reading your post. What a great experience.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Kathy, What a blessing to have this one on one time with MN. She resembles you, I think, and you both have a beautiful, friendly smile. I have fond memories of baking and cleaning up w/ my grandma. I wish I had photos of our times together. Blogging is a great way for MN to share these pics/memories with her children. Thanks for such a sweet post today.

Timi said...

Your cookbook is as old as me...almost...:o)
I like the photos and the story! Thanks for sharing!

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Loved reading this post! Your little granddaughter is so precious and now she will have the wonderful memory of baking with you! How blessed you are. I have the same cookbook! I also have a Betty Crocker's which is just about as stained and tattered! These books are such wonderful helps for the first time cooks. Have a wonderful weekend. blessings,Kathleen

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a lovely post. Your granddaughter is very sweet. As are the memory you will all share one day.

Wilson Clan said...

I love this post! I think it's so great that you get one-on-one time with each of your grandkids, and you've got the energy and creativity to make each visit so special!! Awesome memories for both of you!

Julie Harward said...

Oh, she is so cute and it looks like she's having so much fun with grandma! I too had a dear teacher that taught me how to make Taffy..I still love it today and have great memories of her too! Come say hi :D

Wobegon Cottage said...

My cookbook is falling apart so when my mother-in-law passed away I took hers. It is intersting to see how they have changed the format over the years and even a few of the recipes. I think you will be a special memory to yur grandaughters.

A. Joy said...

MN is sitting here reading this post with me and says to say " I love Grandma. " I'm sure Paula Deen would agree, you should always put on your lipstick before baking! Thanks for the memories!

noble pig said...

What a great story, oh my goodness. Wonderful memories that are carrying on through your grandchildren. Wonderful.

Jan Iwase said...

Thank you for sending me your blog about Mrs. Okimura and her impact on you. What a delightful page you have! I feel like I've made a new friend, and I hope you don't mind if I continue to check out your blogs and your photos. I loved your blog about literacy as well . . . so many wonderful quotes about reading! MN is lucky to have you teaching her to read using so many fun activities.

KathyB. said...

Candy, I think she would too.She was just as encouraging in all other areas of teaching too.

Debbie, I am blessed with our grandchildren, but as you know, the blessings come because of prayer and appreciation for the children and grandchildren, yea, the family, God has graced us with and we don't take them for granted. MN does have a great smile, her smile has been her trademark since birth. She doesn't talk much in a group of people but she seems to always be beaming.

Betty Crocker , Julia Child, and Better Homes and Gardens were the cook books almost every American consulted. Why if the recipe wasn't in the recipe box or in one of those cook books it was not available. I do LOVE being able to find any recipe, any time on-line now!Do you still consult your Betty?

Teeny Tiny Cabin, I e-mailed Hale Kula School in Hawaii to see if anyone knew anything about Mrs. Okimura's where-abouts...they e-mailed me back, and maybe someone will find her so I can write to her my thanks.I have often thought about the few teachers that made a big impact on my life, for the good, and never actually thanked them. I hope I am a blessing to MN, she does love me something fierce!

Southern Comfort, maybe MN has a point...a lady should look her best when doing something she loves for people she loves! And you might note MN had her hair fixed special and was wearing her jewelry.

Daisy, the coffee cake was delicious, and MN got to take the rest of it home to share with her family..and she was all smiles when she walked into her home to show off her cake and tell about her day.

Karen, thank-you very much.That means a lot to me.

Mildred, of all our grandchildren, MN is the only one who strongly resembles me as a child...except for her beautiful complexion. And for most of my childhood I wished dearly to have thick, coal black hair and brown skin. I actually think my beautiful teacher Mrs. Okimura and my few years living in Hawaii made me yearn for this tropical beauty...alas, bright blue eyes and skin that sunburns are what God blessed me with. So for me to have grandchildren with tropical island looks and Scandinavian looks is beyond all I could have wished. Thank-you.

Timi, you are a young thing then! I am glad you like the story. You can enlarge the recipe by clicking onto the picture and then have your daughter make it. Let me know if you do and how it turned out, please?

Kathleen, thank-you. Which cook book do you prefer, if the Betty is stained I presume that one is the book of choice. I have never owned a Betty though.

Wilson Clan, thanks. Although I have discovered I don't have as much energy as I used to..I need longer naps the day after I have grandchildren here.I know your Mom and MIL have a lot of energy for your special son, their Grandson, and both of them are loving, talented and probably begging for lots of time with him!

Mary, thank-you. I remember my Grandmothers teaching me how to make and bake special foods, almost as if it were yesterday, and I do hope to give all my grandchildren such memories and skills.

Julie, thank-you! You know, I have never made taffy. Do you still make it, and have you made taffy with your children / grandchildren?

Alice, I noticed the format has been changed too. Some of the recipes have been changed to of course accommodate the new technology we have in the kitchen and also meet stricter health codes.I do know YOU have made an impact on my daughter with your baking and goodies, and of course the way you appeal to little ones.

A.Joy, I love MN too, very, very much! Paula Deen knows a lady has to look her best. Maybe I will take MN up on her offer to help me clean next time..with a hand written note to follow~

Noble Pig, thank-you. I do know there will be a few Noble Pig recipes to whip up in the future too.

KathyB. said...

Principal, thank-you! Very , very much, I am honored!My few years at Hale Kula Elementary School are highlights in my memories of my younger life...and as I wrote, Mrs. Okimura was very special. My 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Galang was also a kind and good teacher, and I remember her well too. I started the last half of 2nd grade there and do not remember my 2nd grade teacher.I guess it sometimes takes many years before we realize just how much our actions and life can impact just about anyone we come into contact with, I hope Mrs. Okimura has been able to realize that.

Julie Harward said...

I don't know why google reader would not be up dating me on your list either...I usually add peoples address right to my blog list on my side bar,and then I check at my dash board list to, every once in a while I miss someones update, by I try to recheck...it can be crazy! :D

Glenda said...

What a heartwarming, meaningful post. I also wish my parents had given me a cookbook when I was newly married. =)

Deanna said...

I received the same cookbook for a 1974 wedding gift and I still have it. I have used it and used it and used it!
Still use it.

This was one gift I needed because I was a tomboy and needed all the help I could get.

Your little Grand is darling!!!

Have a great wk-end,

Mary said...

Thumbs up!!!!

I had a cookbook just like that one, Kathy. It, too, was looking very aged. I am not sure what happened to it! It was a favorite, given to me in 1975. :)

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

What a sweet posting about your granddaughter and you cooking. Wouldn't Mrs. Okimura be happy to know you used her cookbook? I sure would love a slice of that cake. It looks so delicious.

Carol............. said...

Oh, I loved your story...and the pictures are absolutely wonderful and totally compliment the post!

Robin said...

I received a Cookbook just like yours but it was a Betty Crocker. Got it when I got married and it was the only one I had for many years. Mine is in the same condition as yours but since then I seem to think I need 150 more.brings back memories

KathyB. said...

Julie, I know I need to be checking more by clicking onto the blogs, I just got used to thinking Blogger would keep me updated, thanks!

Glenda, now a days I noticed my husband and I read cooking blogs or search on-line for particular recipes and end up with so many options it is daunting to pick just the right recipe!However, I have come to the realization ( for myself ) the basics of all the recipes one could want can be found in a few simple but thorough cookbooks. My B .H. & G. is the one for me...and then all the other cookbooks and cooking magazines, and cooking web sites, and blogs, and shows, and ...but my first cookbook is inscribed by my parents and I cherish it.

Deanna, I would love to see a picture of your cook book and any recipes you've marked or stained with use!

Mary, you must have it stashed away somewhere! Do you remember your favorite recipe in it?

Brenda Kay, after I posted this, I looked up Hale Kula Elementary School on-line and e-mailed the principal asking if anyone knew about Mrs. Okimura. The Principal e-mailed me back and left a comment ( see 'Principal' above) I would love for Mrs. Okimura to know how much she meant to me.

Carol thank-you so very much!

Robin, you and me both! Where do I think I can store all these cook books and will I get around to most of the recipes, especially when I have been cooking and baking recipes from some of my favorite cooking blogs!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

"whipstick"...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! What an absolutely AAAdorable imp! You're making memories that will last a lifetime of generations. God bless you, Kathy!

Penny said...

What a cutie your little MN is ... that bright smile and those snappy dark eyes are gorgeous!

It makes me happy to see gifts like baking and reading being passed down the generations!

KathyB. said...

This Shepherd & Penny, thank-you! She does love to spend time here and for me to know she loves to be with me, to learn, play, and work is beyond priceless ( is there such a thing?) !

Katie Aiken Ritter said...

Hi, Kathy,
So many comments you've left for me, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate them.
I so rarely get a chance to read myself - this changing careers thing took away almost all of my spare time - but I wanted to just tell folks how much your support and comments over the last few months have meant to me.
I loved this post of yours, especially 'whipstick'...I remember those days!
What a wonderful bunch of folks the blogging community is. I am so grateful to Kate at CoaCG for introducing me to you.
Thank you and a big ol' hug,