Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Photo of the Day- My friend Gail

This maple tree is right outside the door of my classroom.  It was planted in memory of my dear friend and colleague Gail Walker.  Gail was a force to be reckoned with and well-loved.  She passed away 10 years ago and rarely a day goes by that I don't think of her.  There is a certain stretch of sidewalk at school, between the office and the library, where I still expect to encounter her and stop for a bit of gossip.  Gail knew everything and could always be counted on to share a tidbit or two in passing.  She was easily one of the most creative people I have ever met.  I often wondered if she slept at night ... I could picture her getting up in the middle of the night with an idea for a lesson for her 8th grade language arts classes and scribbling it down in her notebook.
I give full credit to Gail and several other mentors for taking me under their wings and helping me become the teacher I am today.  A group of us girls used to get together for lunch every summer, thanks to MCB, who was the hostess.  I am so glad that I kept this photo.  I am now the only one in the photo still working at DA.   Gail is sitting on the sofa, on the right, in the bright blue dress.  (Arles Lucy is there too, on the other end of the sofa!)

Back in the day, we always had a faculty Christmas party.  At the middle school, we played Secret Santa as a faculty, too.  Gail drew my name one year.  She gave me recipes.  Luckily, I was able to find a couple of them in my old, rarely used recipe box this morning.

Just looking at her handwriting brings a smile to my face.   Will technology completely erase handwritten notes, letters, and recipes?  I hope not...
Gail always brought her special punch to our faculty parties.  I've written about her before and shared the punch recipe in this post.
Gail may be gone in body, but our dearly loved ones never leave us in spirit.  Even something as simple as a brilliant red-orange maple leaf on a clear November day can bring them back in the blink of an eye.
I will share her recipe for bread pudding, a favorite dish of mine since childhood.  Mama Mildred used to make it often for her four little crumb-crushers.  She didn't use chocolate chips, but she did add cinnamon and raisins.

Gail's Bread Pudding

5 slices Pepperidge Farm Original bread (thickly sliced bread), broken up
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 quart milk
1/2 c. mini chocolate bits

Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Place bread in baking dish.
Beat eggs and add vanilla and milk.  Beat and pour over bread.
Dot with butter.
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Bon appétit, to beautiful fall days, maple trees that change colors, and friends that are never forgotten!

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