I transferred to a new high school my sophomore year & knew no one. My chattering classmates came to complete silence and attention when a tiny woman came into the room. My new English teacher had arrived on stylish wedge heels with an air of “you may be bigger, but I AM in charge.”
She had a sense of humor and a passion for what she taught. Her vocabulary was impressive. She often used words during her lectures that behooved the use of a dictionary by the lunk-heads she was trying to teach.
We were adolescent know-it-alls that were going to learn in spite of ourselves. She would see to it.
The school was offered a weekly column in the local newspaper. I joined the staff, eventually becoming the editor in my senior year. I loved the manipulation of words and sentences, especially the use of run-on sentences. I had much to say and no restraint in the saying. :-)
Every article submitted was subject to Mrs. Denley’s proof-reading and editing. She returned my “literary masterpieces” covered in red marks. Sentences were reworded or, horror of horrors, omitted altogether. But it was obvious that they read better and were more succinct and polished.
“Would I ever get back an article in the same shape as when submitted?” I wondered. Well, one day I did. I was thrilled by that accomplishment!
Years later I saw Mrs. Denley at a school reunion. I gave her a copy of my cookbook, and a story of gratitude I had written especially for her. (I hope she didn’t grade it. My punctuation may be a little rusty…& I STILL love run-on sentences.)
I will probably never write the great American novel (don’t really want to), but because of Mrs. Denley, I can better express myself in everyday things-a thank you note, or a sympathy card.
Encourage the teachers in your life with my Apple Dumpling recipe. And to Mrs. Denley…Thank you for red marks.
2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks Butter
1-1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cinnamon, To Taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew Soda
Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.
WARNING: Prepare this dish at your own risk.