It is important to be thankful each day, but this May, Three Brothers Bakery is taking ‘thanks’ to the next level with Three Weeks of Appreciation.
The first week of May, we will be celebrating teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week from Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5. (If you want extra brownie points, Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 2.) A teacher who meant a lot to me was Mrs. Frazier, my trigonometry teacher. My high school Spanish teachers, Mr. Turner, Mr. Glaze and Mrs. Frost, were also instrumental in my development.
A funny story about Mrs. Frost. She was a hard teacher and an advisor to the Spanish Club. Each year the club went to Mexico. I went the previous year, but I thought if I didn’t go that year I would have a break from all the learning of Spanish. Boy, was I ever wrong. Mrs. Frost “punished” those who didn’t go by assigning an unfinishable amount of work due when they returned from the trip to Mexico. The only way to finish was to split up the work and then doctor it up to make it your own. Well one of my friends, Patsy – who was blind – shared in the work. Patsy was so smart, and she also typed all her assignments. She had the hardest of the package of work. When it came time to rewrite it in my words, I said to myself, “Forget it. I’m just going to copy it.”
Well, guess what? Mrs. Frost wrote in her red pen “strange, this report is word for word exactly what Patsy wrote. F.” It was either a F or a zero, but I kept the package of work as a reminder that you cannot copy other people’s work. But I will say today, I love Mrs. Frost, Mr. Glaze and Mr. Turner. I think I’m even Facebook friends with Mrs. Frost and Mr. Glaze.
I’ll never forget how Mrs. Frazier played such an invaluable role in a family grieving process. After we graduated from college, one of my friends lost a parent who was on vacation at Notre Dame Cathedral. My friend’s sister was in Mrs. Frazier’s class when she was called out of class. Mrs. Frazier was smart and compassionate – she remembered my mother and called my mom and told her to go over to their house to comfort her younger sister, so she wouldn’t be alone. When my mother arrived, a large community from their church was already there, but Mrs. Frazier attended not only to our math skills but also to our emotions. She was a wonderful teacher and person.
Bobby, on the other hand, joked that clearly no teachers made a big enough impact in his life. He did tell me a funny story from junior high where he was trying to help one of his teachers by swatting a fly off a teacher’s beehive … and ended up smacking her in the head! He also ended up in the principal’s office. Bobby was a devil.
The second week, we are honoring National Nurses Week from Saturday, May 6 through Friday, May 12. This group means a lot to me, and not just because we see so many nurses at our Memorial location from the nearby medical center. I am now over ten years free of breast cancer, and the care from so many devoted nurses during every single shift was simply invaluable. I can visualize one nurse who helped teach Bobby to get me dressed, which took a few hours in the beginning because of all my stitches. Now, my room was a no-laugh-zone because it hurt me so much to laugh. I told the nurse that Bobby was the kind of guy who’d be pouring water while watching a football game, and then pour it on me. And just a little later, when I wanted ice chips, he didn’t let me down. He watched TV and proceeded to pour them all over me – and that poor nurse had to hold in the biggest laugh!
The third week, we are celebrating moms in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14. I loved my mom. One thing I’ll never forget is the way she taught me my colors, sitting on the floor when I was just 2 or 3 years old. But another thing she taught me which I didn’t quite appreciate at the time is how she always answered “simply wonderful!” when anyone asked how she was, even towards the end of her life when she got around in a scooter. She told me, “No one wants to hear your sorrows. No one will want to be around you if you begin the conversation with all your aches and pains.” As I’ve aged, that’s a very valuable lesson, and one that I think many people can take. You may know my sign-off, “Have a sweet day!” – it’s my way of paying homage to her. She always said “have a happy day,” so mine is the bakery version. In my personal life, I even say “have a happy day.” Thanks, Mom!
When I asked Bobby about his mom, the first thing he mentioned was all the different miracle cures she brought home for his acne growing up. But then he moved onto some of the fonder memories, like how she took he and his friends on skiing trips when no other parents wanted to go. Since Sigmund kept busy at the bakery, his mom often served both parental roles – a remarkable duty to assume.
I’m willing to guess all of us have someone to thank in one of these three categories. Our lives are forever impacted by their sacrifices, many of which go without thanks or adequate appreciation. If you’re fortunate enough to maintain contact with any of them, why not show them some sweet love this month?