Jane Lawson in grade school at Fairview Elementary.
Jane Lawson in grade school at Fairview Elementary.
Monday, August 20, 2012

Fairview Elementary School is the place where I grew and learned the most. Over the summer I contacted those who inspired me to become a teacher and asked them to submit their favorite family recipes.

This story is second in a series of three and is about my early elementary years at Fairview.

Beginning in mid-July, my best friend, Sarah Tan Creti, and I would begin checking to see if class lists had been posted on the front doors of the school. We would anxiously ride our bikes down the long stretch of 18th Street from Terrace Drive to Grant Road, hoping the lists were posted. With fingers crossed we would frantically search for our names to find out our teacher’s name. Then we would read through our class list to find out who would be our classmates for the upcoming school year.

Third Grade — Mrs. Edwards

In third grade, students moved from the pods in the south part of the building to the north side. At that time third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades were all together, with three sections of each.

I was assigned to Mrs. Edwards’ classroom, and I liked everything about it. Mrs. Edwards had a very kind and nurturing approach to teaching. I felt comfortable in Mrs. Edwards’ class and felt like she really cared about her students and their learning.

Once in awhile the three sections of third grade (including Mrs. Otto and Mrs. Eyerly’s classes) gathered in one room to watch filmstrip movies. Back then this was a real treat as VCRs were not in most homes.

Cheese Potatoes
Sandy Edwards

Sandy always thought she was given this recipe by her sister in Virginia, but when she asked, her sister thought she got the recipe from Sandy. Sandy thinks the recipe actually originated from her old friend, Anne Witowski. Sandy’s grandchildren always say, “We want Nanny’s cheese potatoes!” when her family gets together.

In a 9 x 13 glass casserole dish, mix together:
1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
Add 1/4 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion salt, and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Lastly, add 1 bag of shredded hash browns. Combine altogether and cover with foil. Preheat oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Fourth Grade — Mrs. Barrett

I remember being interested in everything Mrs. Barrett did as a teacher. Her grade book on her desk was especially intriguing to me. Mrs. Barrett was polished, professional and organized. She seemed like she had it all together and teaching was like clockwork to her. The times I liked best in her room were when she sat in her chair and read chapter books aloud to us and when she told us stories about her four children, what they were doing.
During the mid-’80s, computers were slowly being introduced to elementary classrooms. I recall someone brought a computer to the classroom to show us how it worked and let us play Oregon Trail, a game that taught children what it was like to be a 19th century pioneer.

Do Ahead Sausage Fondue  
Ruth Barrett

Ruth is an expert at this recipe. She has served it hundreds of times for her family for breakfast or brunch. This recipe was passed on to Ruth by her mom, Pat Happe. Her mother was given this recipe by Jo Drees, who was a dear friend and neighbor. Jo acquired the recipe from her sister-in-law, JoAnn (Drees) Fangman. JoAnn and her husband, Al, ran the first drive-in restaurant in Ames, called The Nibble Nook. In later years, the Fangman family moved to Clear Lake, and JoAnn’s great interest in cooking prompted her to study French cuisine at the cooking school La Varenne in Paris.

JoAnn then opened her own cooking school, La Petite Ecole de French Cuisine (The Little School of French Cuisine) in her home in Clear Lake. She taught more than a thousand students the secrets of French chefs.

The following recipe is featured in JoAnn’s cookbook “The Mousse and Me,” compiled in her memory by her family and some of her students.
2½ cups herb croutons
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1½ lbs link sausage
4 eggs
2½ cups milk
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
Place croutons on bottom of greased 9 x 13 in pan. Top with 1½ cups grated cheese. Brown sausage and cut into bite-size pieces. Place on top of the cheese. Beat eggs with 2½ cups milk and seasonings. Pour over the croutons, cheese, and sausage and cover. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, dilute the mushroom soup with ½ cup milk. Pour soup mixture over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Preheat oven and bake covered, at 300-325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Remove cover the last 15 minutes of cooking and increase the temperature to 375 degrees. Cook until set.

Fifth Grade — Ms. Olson

In fifth grade I discovered my love of writing. Ms. Olson inspired me to put my thoughts on paper. She gave us journals and a little time each day to write down our thoughts. Ms. Olson made me feel like my thoughts were important as she took the time to respond in her cursive handwriting to what I had written. She wrote responses, and questions in my journal and I was always excited to see what she had written back to me.

I also began to explore creative writing in fifth grade. I was an avid reader and loved writing stories modeled after the styles of my favorite authors. I recall writing many stories in Ms. Olson’s room. I was so proud to “publish” my stories.

Creme de Menthe Cake
LaJean Olson

LaJean’s mother, Ardella Olson, made this cake for special occasions. Today, LaJean does the same and digs out her mother’s recipe and thinks of her. LaJean followed in her mother’s footsteps as Ardella was also a teacher. She taught in country schools around Osage, teaching all grade levels through eighth grade. Ardella would often tell LaJean how good she had it teaching. In Ardella’s days, she had to walk to school, start the fire in the stove, and be the teacher, principal, disciplinarian and custodian in a one-room schoolhouse. LaJean even has her mother’s first teaching contract, which states she must carry water to the schoolhouse every day.

Dump a yellow cake mix in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons creme de menthe, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup and two tablespoons water, and 1 pkg pistachio pudding. Beat mixture for four minutes. Pour half of the batter in a greased and floured bundt pan.

Pour 1 cup of the remaining batter into a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup Hershey’s syrup. Pour this mixture over the batter in the bundt pan. Swirl around and add remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before removing from pan.

In a small saucepan, mix together 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon water, 1 tablespoon Crisco oil, and 1 tablespoon corn syrup. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar and frost quickly.

Sixth Grade — Mrs. Tilton

In many school districts, sixth grade is now considered middle school. Even though we were still in elementary school, Mrs. Tilton treated us like we were mature students. She exposed us to music by Neil Diamond (her favorite), the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach and lots and lots of poetry. She allowed us to be poets and share our thoughts through writing. Mrs. Tilton’s love of the arts was evident to her students.

Mrs. Tilton also gave us the opportunity to make our own decisions. I remember our class was split into committees to plan the holiday parties and it was up to the committee to decide what to serve at the party.

Reva’s Baked Fudge
Cleo Tilton

Reva was Cleo’s high school friend and college roommate. Reva battled brain cancer while pregnant with her first son. Cleo thinks of Reva’s courage every time she makes her brownies.

3 squares unsweetened chocolate 1 stick butter Melt together. Cool slightly.
1½ cups flour
2 cups sugar
Add the butter/chocolate mixture to above.
Beat well 3 large eggs. Add eggs to above, stirring well by hand and add 1 tablespoon vanilla (Cleo always uses Watkins).
Dough will be stiff. Spread into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake about 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake.
*This recipe is made by hand, a mixer is not used. The fudge does not need frosting, but sometimes Cleo’s adds her mother’s cooked frosting.