Just Hanging Out with My Eighth Grade Home Ec Teacher!
Here’s a story that I can’t get tired of sharing, and that just keeps getting better.
When I was in the eighth grade, you know, OVER 30 YEARS AGO, I had a home ec teacher who I thought was pretty cool, and she somehow thought I was pretty cool (even though I was a bit, uh, mischievous). She taught home ec for just two years, saving money to go get her master’s in business, which then led her to become a big executive at a major company doing things I will never understand. We stayed in contact a bit through high school and even saw each other maybe once when I was in college, and then, as these things go, we lost touch.
Fast-forward to 2012. My first cookbook, The Mom 100, had just come out, and I was in Chicago doing a pr/fundraising event where I saw a familiar person walking toward me, arms outstretched (though somewhat cautiously). It was Linda, my old home ec cooking teacher, who had decided to Google me out of nowhere, just because I popped into her mind and she was fondly remembering a young me, and it turned out that, lo and behold, I had become a cookbook author, and even more lo and behold, I happened to be in Chicago, where she lived. And so she had decided to attend the event and see if I remembered her.
There was hugging, there were tears, and in the ensuing four years a very deep friendship cemented itself into place. If you had told me back in eighth grade that I would someday be listening to the dating stories of my home ec teacher, I would have been pretty stunned. If you had told her that she would be organizing a trip for my teenage kids to visit her in South Carolina (where she lives now), she would have been skeptical.
Now lest you conjure up images of a fragile, white-haired old lady, I will tell you that Linda was all of twenty-three when she was my teacher, and so now she and I are in our fifties and forties, respectively. And although she is the picture of fitness, Linda is in fact going to be using a cane for several weeks because she just had knee surgery at a hospital in my hometown, New York City, and will be staying with Gary, the boys, and me while she recuperates.
All of this is to say how happy, grateful, and still (maybe always) surprised and delighted we are to have each other in our lives. And here’s (possibly) the funniest part: Linda gave me a C in home ec cooking. She adamantly denies this, and I can’t find my report card to prove it, but I know it’s true and I’m sure I deserved it, because I was usually goofing off in class, and once I had a big flour fight with Tom Lewis, who I had a crush on, and she got rightfully pissed.
Anyway, it’s kind of hard to find a point or moral of this story. There really isn’t one. It’s just one of those wonderful “who could have known?” moments in life, and now I’m off to make dinner for my home ec teacher.