Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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meme answers for Mary

I think, due to time constraints today (we're out of the house today), I'll have to answer each question set separately.

Here's Mary's:

1) Do you have high arches or flat feet?

You know, I don't know. Are there normal arches? If so, that's me :). I suspect my arches are more high than flat, if I had to guess.

2) Will you tell me about your favorite teacher?

This is a hard one; I can narrow it down to two. But I think I'll tell you about Mrs. Bell. She was really the first person who I knew believed in me and saw potential in me and told me about it. Later, I've had teachers from my early educational years remark on what a smart girl I was and how I could do anything I wanted, or that I was the smartest girl who ever graduated from my high school (which really isn't true, I can assure you). But it was Mrs. Bell who told me she believed in me when I was a teenager and life was really hard.

When I was a junior in high school, I took Fantasy Literature (a senior literature class) from Mrs. Bell during my first trimester. This means, of course, I took my English classes out of order. (I took my junior level English classes during the second and third trimester.) She thought this showed potential and told everyone about it. (I thought it was humorous.) So we read cool books and talked about them. She said things that rang true to me, vocalized things I believed in and cared about. Things no one else had ever discussed before, e.g. the relationship between science and religion, thoughts on ignorance and racism. And she found true value in my thoughts and ideas.

One day, at the end of the trimester, when all the seniors were doing some senior-y thing, Mrs. Bell and I were left alone. She asked what I was going to do with myself when I graduated. I told her I was going to be an archaeologist. She told me, essentially, that that was a dumb idea; I should be a writer. Now, I ask you, how many high school teachers are going to tell a sixteen-year-old that they should be a writer? I persisted, though. I was going to be an archaeologist. And then she found the link that satisfied her. "Like Jeff Spender?" "Yeah, like Jeff Spender."

During the summer when I was eighteen (just after my world had blown apart) I ran into her at the local video rental place and she asked me where I was going to go to college. I told her I was going to the state university. (It was close to my family; I thought it would be best to be nearby.) Because of what happened with my family and some stupidity with an independent study coarse teacher who disappeared the May I was to graduated, I graduated in August. It was going to be hard for me to get into a university on such short notice and my dad thought I had grown out of the local community college I'd attended during my Senior year, but the state university would pick me right up, i.e. I graduated one day and the next day I was accepted to the university the next and didn't need ACT scores or anything along those lines. Also, I could afford them. (No time to do scholarships and financial aid.) Mrs. Bell was appalled. She told me I could get into much better schools. I could get scholarships.

And she was probably right. But I stayed, in the end, because the university had a fine Anthropology program and a great American Indian Studies program.

And now I'm not an archaeologist. I stay at home with my kids (which I never thought I'd do, but it makes me happy) and I write, just like Mrs. Bell said I should.

Recently, my mother retired as a speech/language pathologist and audiologist from the school district, as did Mrs. Bell. My mother, in her "goodbye speech" mentioned I was writing and selling stories. Afterwards, Mrs. Bell came up to her to ask about me and tell her how proud she was I was writing.

She remembered and cared. I really should write her a letter.

3) May I have the recipe to your favorite dessert?

A hard question. How about my favorite cheesecake recipe?

Serves 12-16

2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 8 ounces)
2 eggs, separated
5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
cherry topping

Stir together crumbs and two egg whites until thoroughly blended. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 2 1/2 inches up sides of lightly greased 9 x 3-inch springform pan. Chill.

In large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon peel and vanilla at high speed until fluffy. Add 5 eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in cream. Pour into chilled crust.

Bake in preheated 500 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack. Spread cooled topping over top of cake. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours, or overnight.

To serve, remove rim of pan and cut into wedges. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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