Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sharing A Memory

Sylvia Hansen was the Relief Society president when we moved into our ward. She was a former elementary school teacher--the kind that every kid and every kid's parent hopes they get. She had also been very, very ill a couple of years before, but through a miracle of modern medicine, regained her health.

That was the first year I was teaching preschool. Sylvia had been wonderful to share lots of ideas and lots of really cool "stuff" with me (my puppet show, everyone!). For Enrichment Night, Mary Ann got all the stuff so we could decorate gingerbread houses. Sylvia told me that she used to make graham cracker houses for all of her students and let them decorate. I must have looked at her like she was out of her mind, because she said, "Don't be a lazy teacher, Aundrea."

Yup, I am a sucker to peer pressure. Every year for the next six years I made about 20 graham cracker houses so that each preschooler could decorate a house. It took me (and various family members) all day on the Saturday before. We used 5 or 6 bags of powdered sugar, at least two cans of meringue powder, a couple of large boxes of graham crackers, and a couple of cake decorating bags and tips. Then I hid the houses in far places so they didn't get broken.

The kids' parents brought candy with which to decorate. I bought spray-on red and green frosting and gave each child a milk lid full of the stuff, along with a toothpick. I'm sure I sent more than one child home from preschool with a belly ache or at the very least a sugar high. But those were a huge hit every year.

My friend Sylvia got very ill again about a year after that first Enrichment Night. This time no miracle came, except the sweet release of death. She literally wore out her life in service to others, including me. I cherished her friendship and her example.

Now every year at Christmas I think of gingerbread houses, preschool children, the sweet smell of our house on gingerbread house days, and my dear friend Sylvia. Happy, cherished memories!


Suzie said...

What a tender story...
I didn't get to know her, but I know she was amazing because of the memory she left on so many of the ward members.
Thanks for sharing!! :)