Celery Seed Salad Dressing

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Celery Seed Dressing is my favorite homemade dressing.  It’s not a southern staple but I have found many variations of the recipe from cookbooks where my grandma lived in Ohio.  She actually lived somewhat near a celery swamp in Hartville Ohio.  They call them muck farms and the soil is black and moist.  Celery is 90% water so it makes sense that it requires a lot of water to grow.

I have a celery vase that is a bit glamorous. Celery vases were all the rage in Victorian times. Celery has gone in and out of culinary fashion over the years.  I can’t imagine buying something so fancy for my celery now.


If you like a sweet dressing, this is a good one.  I’m sure you could alter the amount of sugar in it, but I like it just as it is written.

Celery Seed Dressing

1/2 medium onion, chopped (I used Vidalia)

1/4 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon celery seed

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard

1 cup vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend on  high until smooth and sugar is dissolved.  Store in refrigerator.


Super easy and delicious!


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Weekends are Better Than Week Days

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Last weekend I made soup.  That’s it.  Just soup. Last weekend I was a little under the weather so it was a lazy weekend.  This weekend I was back to my usual “packing it in.”  I will give you the quick countdown of a Julie Weekend.

  1.  Always start your day with good hygiene preferably with a Brushing Buddy.z3                 Davis and Olivia like to hide charming little photos like these around my house so I thought I would put it to good use for the sparkliest teeth ever. Thank you, Dwayne the Rock Johnson for being my Bristle Pal today.

2.  After school my mother and I went to see the Magnificent Seven.  Chris Pratt stole the show with his witty quips.  Good movie.  I found the original On-Demand so I will go back and watch that soon.


3.  When I got home from the movie I found a giant surprise!  My basement was full of the gang once again.  This summer I enjoyed having Davis and Olivia’s friends hang out in the basement so when they all went to college it was VERY quiet around here.  I told Davis I missed his “Basement O’ Fun” so he sent out a text to his friends and they all met for a night in the basement so it wouldn’t be so quiet around here.  Amazing kids!!!


They came from UGA, Emory at Oxford, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State and of course, Berry College.


Evan has a “Hugh Grant” look about him here.


4.  The next morning I walked this little precious pup only to have him roll in a dead turtle.   Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy?

He does not look even a little bit sorry. I gave him a quick bath and then I was ready to head out for the afternoon.


5.  I went with my friend Terri to the East Atlanta Strut.  It is a fun neighborhood festival. Very lively.


Terri’s daughter Abbey makes and sells pottery so we got to see some of her wares. I bought this piece at a previous show. Wonderful detail and style! She has a teeny brush and paints all the designs by hand. I love the colors.  They remind me of a sunset.


For lunch I had a vegan taco.  The pink chunks are pickled radishes.  I didn’t care for that combo so I picked off the pink and enjoyed the rest.


6.  After the festival we went to Kudzu Home Store and Flea Market.  We found our friend Joanna in there. Ha!   She really does look a lot like this painting.  Ask her to put on one of her many crowns and you’ll see what I mean.


As much as I wanted the painting, I bought this gorgeous cake stand instead.  For me, this is cake stand #7 so I guess I officially have a collection. They are a little hard to store, but I don’t care.  It’s for cake!!!z4

7.  After Kudzu we went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  They don’t allow photos in there so I will leave you with the recipe I made from the butternut squash I bought in addition to my honeydew melons, freshly squeezed lime juice, lemons,  papaya, mango, chocolate croissants, and Granny Smith Apples.  Somewhat of an eclectic list.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 cups chopped, cooked, butternut squash

1  14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup half-and-half or milk

1/2 cup salted cashews, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree squash and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour, ginger, and garlic.  Stir thoroughly.  Slowly pour in rest of broth.  Cook until slightly thickened and garlic is softened, stirring constantly.  Add squash puree, milk, cashews, salt, and pepper.  Cook until heated through.  Garnish with additional cashews.  Serves 4.  From The Cat Who Cookbook.

8.  On Sunday my mom and I went to Bulloch Hall in Warm Springs to eat lunch and to shop in the stores in their tiny little town.


I found my Christmas ornament exchange gift for the Cardinals.  All I’ll say is that it’s a good one and very stealable when we play our Christmas games.


I also got a few other Christmas presents since I was in the mind of Christmas. Don’t go looking for them because I’m a good shopper but not a good hider. You’ll find them pretty fast and then Christmas will be RUINED. Specifically, stay out of my closet.


9.  I came home and made my sample craft for our November craft weekend.  Here is a sneak peek.



Ha!  There is no sneak peek!!!!! You have to come and craft if you want a look!

10.  Finally, we went to Stein Mart and bought Davis a shirt for Mountain Day next week at Berry.  They have to dress in certain colors for parts of the weekend.  I bought Chupa a dog bed which I will probably end up using because it’s so so soft.  He won’t mind because he’s always on my bed!  We’ll trade.

So that’s my “not sick” weekend.  It is much busier than when I have a cold.  Next weekend looks promising already.  I love to squeeze in as much as possible!

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Cheeseburger Soup a la Gina a la Pinterest a la Recipe Critic a la Taste of Home a la Joanie Shawhan

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Yes, I am on Pinterest.  I know you probably get asked that all the time, too.  I try not to make it a time-waster in my life but I often find it to be a good time-filler while I wait for TV commercials or waiting for slumber to attack me at night.  This recipe is one that my friend Gina pinned so I repinned and decided to beat her to making it.  I followed the source back to “Recipe Critic” who said she altered the recipe from Taste of Home. I continued the trail to find that Joanie Shawhan made it and was a contest winner. You go girl!

The “Recipe Critic” said this recipe was “insanely delicious” and that I will make it “again and again.”  Not sure I like that review since I don’t want to go crazy from just one taste of this magical soup and I like variety so I don’t also want to be OCD and begin making this soup over and over.  Nevertheless, I took the risk and made the soup tonight.  I needed something to take for my lunches this week so I had hopes of a successful venture.

Cheeseburger Soup

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (16 ounces) Velveeta process cheese, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, beef and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).


And now, since I beat Gina to making this soup, it looks like I’m going to have to beat her to the treadmill.  I went on the Taste of Home website to find that this soup has 450 calories PER CUP!!!!!!! And 27 grams of fat per cup!!!!!!!  Now I have a giant vat of it and I will have to run about 100 miles every time I eat some!!!!!!!   It was tasty though and I believe my sanity is intact.  Hurray for the little things in life.

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Apple Fritters

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I bought one of those little recipe booklets at an apple house the last time I was in North Georgia and I never even cracked it open.  It has a checkered front and is called “Old Country Store Recipes.”  Now that Davis and Olivia are both in college, I have been cleaning out some spaces.  (I’m trying to see if it was them making all the messes in my house or me. Time will tell.)  So, I ran across this booklet and opened up to a recipe for Apple Fritters.  It’s Saturday and I’m not racing off to school so I thought I’d give this recipe a try.

The air is not crisp or cool here.  We are still at a very muggy 93 degree every day in Atlanta, but I thought I could get a few new fall recipes in my repertoire for the cooler days ahead.


These fritters were a cross between an apple pancake and an apple doughnut.  The result was more dense than a pancake but not as bread-like as a yeast doughnut.  I really liked them and they were a snap to make, HOWEVER plan ahead.  They are best eaten right out of the pan and I mean RIGHT out the pan.  So, I would cook everything else, keep everything warm, get out a big griddle, start cooking the fritters, load your plates with your other foods and then pile on your fritters as you race to the table.  I’m learning that there’s a reason they serve you piping hot, dripping with grease, funnel cakes at the fair.  They just taste better that way.


Now, here’s another culinary warning.  (Should a recipe come with this many disclaimers?)  Do NOT try to use the shriveled up apples in your refrigerator for these fritters .  You know the ones I’m talking about…you think you’re going to get around to eating them but you don’t, and you just don’t want to throw “good” food away. Toss ’em now and go buy a good, sweet, juicy apple for this recipe.  You really can taste the apple and you will enjoy the fritters much more with a fresh apple.

Apple Fritters

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup apples, finely chopped

Sift dry ingredients together.  Combine beaten egg and milk and whisk into dry ingredients.  Stir in apples, mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto hot oil on griddle.  Fry on both sides for two minutes or until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Roll in a mixture of 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired. Also good with syrup and butter.

I ate mine with grits, eggs, pesticide grapes (ha ha – couldn’t find organic) and a blueberry-peach-almond milk-yogurt-smoothie. I feel like Wonder Woman with this fortifying start to my day.

My advice, cuz’ I’m full of it, is to crack open an unused cookbook today and find a recipe gem.  I’m glad I did.



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Happy Birthday Olivia

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My sweet little Olivia turned 21.  I can hardly believe it.


We went to one of her favorite restaurants for brunch yesterday.  She loves to go to Two Urban Licks in Atlanta.  This gigantically long table in the bar area also has a running water fountain down the middle of it.  Just one of the reasons Olivia loves this place so much.  It’s interesting and eclectic.


Since it was brunch Olivia was able to order fish and grits.  She liked it and would order it again.  I got the chicken and biscuits with gravy.  Tasty.


Davis and John joined the celebration along with my mom. She was backlit to my left, so no photos this time.z4

After ordering, Olivia opened her gifts.  First, gifts from Grandma.


And next, gifts from me.  I wanted to be sensitive to the fact that we were in an upscale restaurant and after all, Olivia was turning a mature 21, so I decided to give her a nice, discreetly wrapped gift to mark the occasion.

Ha!  Are you kidding?  I went full TACO!!!


I got a taco pinata and filled it full of candy and her gift which continued with the taco theme.  It was a Betsy Johnson purse shaped like a taco. I slipped a bit of money inside and “Hot Tamale” we were in business!


Olivia has embraced this refrigerator magnet.  I wonder why?  Couldn’t be me!

she was determined to find a cure for embarrassing-mom syndrome

Now you know who to call for Taco Tuesday.  Olivia Ole’!

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Barnstormer’s Grill

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We thoroughly enjoyed eating a Sunday buffet at the Barnstormer’s Grill in Williamson, GA.  I had never even heard of the place until my mom was told about it by some of her friends.  It is a charming restaurant in Williamson, GA which ironically is a stone’s throw from where we always get our peaches at Gregg’s Farms.


The restaurant was a busy place and we had to wait about 20 minutes to eat.  It was no problem because that gave us time to go through the museum and read some of the exhibits.  If you are an aviation history buff or an Atlanta history buff, or wish you were in the buff eating their fried chicken, then this is the place for you. (Clothes are so overrated.)  And as they say in the movie Blades of Glory…Throw me some chicken!!


All around are photographic murals depicting all kinds of service pilots from mail carriers to circus flying acts. I liked the circus guys the best.  They looked jolly and I’m a pushover for dimples.


Inside the museum we found cars and planes to enjoy up close and personal.


My mom looks coordinatingly fetching in her matching outfit.


Finally our buzzer went off and we were called to eat. Back through the waiting area we spied more interesting memorabilia and displays.


The dining room was full and most people ordered the buffet.


I loved the lighting overhead.  It was a door with lights hanging down covered in mason jars of different colors.


And now, the buffet.  It was typical southern fare including black-eyed peas, rice, cornbread or biscuits, squash casserole, BBQ, turkey, and of course, fried okra. It was very good. For dessert we had strawberry cake and lime cake.


On the way out we stopped for a minute at the cinema wall.  Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, and Clint Eastwood have all recently filmed in Williamson or used planes from the hangars.  The upcoming movie Sully was featured on the wall.


Since today was the last day for the Gregg farm stand to be open, we bought a basket of peaches (specifically the empty basket on the left) and some peach twist ice cream to go.


They were still bringing peaches in by the truckloads to send out to YOU all over the United States. Look for Gregg Farms on the label.


That ended my Sunday in Williamson.  Looking forward to going back soon.

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Dick Lane Velodrome

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I went to a bicycle race yesterday at the Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point, GA.  Even though I grew up in East Point and lived near the velodrome, this was the first time I had ever attended an official event.


I went with my two birdie friends, Terri and Gina.  We took a wagon full snacks and drinks and staked out a great spot before the crowds came later.


We arrived for some of the preliminary races starting at 3:00 and then stayed through the evening’s official event.  In the afternoon, I walked over to the adjacent rose garden. Many years ago, I played my flute at the dedication for this rose garden.  I don’t remember the year but it was in the late 1970’s.  Probably 1979 or so. I do remember that I played Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by J.S. Bach and I remember city officials speaking at the dedication but that’s about it.  I don’t have any photos from it.

The garden is becoming a little overgrown now with some kudzu creeping in.  Maybe I should come back and weed and prune a little bit…or a lot.


Then it was back to the race.  My sports photography did, in fact, improve throughout the evening.  At first I got a lot of this…people whizzing by in the right hand corner.


Then I got a lot of this…everyone whizzing by in a blur.


But finally, I was able to get a few slightly decent photos.


If you walk down to the end of the velodrome you can stand at the top of the oval and the riders are only about two feet from you.  It was an exciting viewpoint. The level A riders travel about 30 miles an hour only inches from each other.  They are quite skilled.DSC_0932

The race provided for a fun evening and I would certainly enjoy going again. Check it out if you get the chance!

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If You Like Pecan Sandies…

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After yesterday’s cornbread “cake” I decided to give this Taste of the South cookbook one more try and I made some Pecan Sandie Praline Bars.  They looked tasty in the photo and I had all the ingredients so I thought they would make a good accompaniment to my potato soup. The soup was pretty basic using potatoes, onions, water, butter, and salt so I thought I would try some thing a little more involved for dessert.

In my younger years, pecan sandies were not a cookie of choice for me.  Who would want a crumbly, tan, cookie when you could have a frosted sugar cookie (my favorite) or a yummy sandwich cookie with a gooey filling?  But now, I’ve grown to appreciate the more subtle taste of a pecan sandie. Sugar cookies are still my favorite but I will save room for a pecan sandie if offered.

I looked up the origin of the name of Pecan Sandie but there was nothing definitive so I will have to entertain you with a story of my own.  When I mentioned earlier about eating potato soup, it brought to mind my great-grandmother.  I remember her as making a lot of potato soup.  That may or may not be true because I was young and you don’t always remember everything perfectly from the point of view of a child, but that is the food memory I have of her.  I talked about my other grandmother from Cleveland in another post and remembered her cabbage rolls from every visit to her.  My grandma Irene was a little more adventurous in the culinary department, but if I had to name one food I remembered her for, it would be her Sunday pot roast with potatoes and carrots.

I associate my mom with her Chicken Breast Supreme because she made it a lot for company.  I just asked my kids what they associate me with and Davis said my Crescent Chicken Balls and Olivia said Baked Ziti and Brownies.  Glad they didn’t say Cheetos and Poptarts (which may or may not be in my pantry right now!!!).

I love to revisit memories of family gatherings and the great food on the table.  It’s interesting that we can share our love for friends and family with the food choices we make.  I guess that’s one of the many things I like about cooking.


Pecan Sandie Praline Bars

Cookie Layer:

1 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla


Praline Layer:

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1  12-ounce package semisweet or milk chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8X8-inch baking pan with shortening and then coat with flour.  In a medium bowl beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer until creamy.  Add egg, beating until combined.  Gradually add flour, pecans, salt, and vanilla, beating until combined.  Place mixture into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.  For the praline layer, in a medium bowl, beat corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Fold in pecans.  Pour over slightly cooled chocolate layer.  Bake until set, about 35 minutes. Immediately sprinkle chocolate morsels over praline layer, and let melt.  Using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over praline layer.  Let cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.


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Upside Down Cranberry Apple Johnnycake

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Unfortunately, I missed a Westside Women’s luncheon Saturday but I got two kids happily off to college and my school year is underway, too.  Things are settling in.  Hopefully you will find me back at my blog a little more regularly now that the Back-to-School rush is done.

I still had a few lingering tomatoes from my summer farm stand runs so I made my favorite Savory Tomato Tart.  This time it was more of a canyon than a tart.


We like the crust around here as much as the insides so I made a double crust for a single filling. The sides were admittedly a bit steep but we enjoyed the bonus crust that the double recipe provided.  See what I mean?



I used fresh basil from my Pink Flamingo Herb Garden and dried basil from my pantry. I won that beautiful pink flamingo at one of our family game nights.  He has been grazing in the herbs ever since.


For dessert I thought I would try a new recipe from a Fall Baking magazine from Taste of the South Publishers.  It is called Upside Down Cranberry Apple Johnnycake.

By now the sun was setting and I was able to snap a photo in the last rays of the evening. Quite a dramatic presentation.


Here is the recipe.  Commentary to follow.


Upside Down Cranberry Apple Johnnycake


1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons apple cider, divided

1 1/2 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if desired) (I don’t really care if my apples brown a bit)

1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

2 large eggs

1/3 cup whole milk

2 (8.5 ounce) packages of corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with shortening or butter.  In a small saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring for about 3 minutes.  Add the 3 tablespoons apple juice and return to a boil cooking one minute more.  Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool.  In a small bowl, stir together the apples and lemon juice.  Arrange apple slices in a circle over cooled caramel in pan, overlapping slightly.  Top with cranberries.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and remaining 1/3 cup cider.  Add corn muffin mix, stirring until combined.  Pour batter over fruit, gently smoothing top with an offset spatula.  Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean,  30 – 35 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 30 minutes.  Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen, and invert onto a serving platter.


And now for my opinion.  It was a very showy and beautiful dish but it was a conundrum. Was it a cake?  Was it cornbread?  What would you eat it with?  I don’t want sweet corn bread with black-eyed peas but I don’t want a hunk of cornbread for dessert either.  It tasted great but it was a confusing dish to me.  I think the next time I make it I will use only one box of cornbread and more apples and then I think it will just be a nice layer of crust on the bottom and everyone will inquire as to whatever did I put on the bottom and I will make them guess and then at the most suspenseful moment ever I will tell them that it is cornbread. Of course this is how it plays out in my head so I will have to keep you posted after the real next time I make it.

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Grand Opening!


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At 5:30 a.m. Davis and two of his friends jumped out of bed and drove to our local Chick-fil-A.  Tomorrow is the grand opening.   (For some reason even though I have resized these photos three times, they are coming out gigantic – at least in the preview.  Maybe they will settle down in the post.)


At Chick-fil-A whenever there is a grand opening they celebrate for 24 hours ahead of the opening.  The first 100 people in line 24 hours before the 6 a.m. opening camp out all night and then receive a year’s worth of Chick-fil-A for their efforts.  That’s 52 free meal coupons. Davis and two of his friends decided that this was the event for them and he was number two in line this morning.


They attended a grand opening at a new pizza place a year ago and won over 100 pizzas between them.  They are becoming professional food squatters.


You will NOT be cutting in front of Davis’ friend Ryan!  He is fierce this morning!


And Cole rounded out the trio. They are great friends.


Chick-fil-A has been feeding and entertaining them all day in their tent city. You can bring tents and chairs for the 24 hour vigil.


At the time of writing, Davis is a little more than half way there.  They are counting down the hours.  I took these pictures off of social media.  It has been a hot, rainy but festive event.  I know he will treasure these coupons and the memories he’s making camping out for his chicken. Thanks Chick-fil-A for your generous spirit of community service!


Meanwhile, back at school today…..


Look how well I hooked up my computer!!!!  Just kidding. There are even pieces of it broken off on the floor.  I’m ready to go back to low tech with purple ditto machines that make the paper smell real good.

And back to chalkboards with REAL chalk and dusty erasers.  Remember how you would beg to be the one chosen to go and beat the chalk dust out of the erasers?  Or if your school was highfalutin, there was a very loud vacuum cleaner down in the bowels of the basement custodian’s quarters made especially for erasers. It was creepy but exciting to get to take the erasers down there underneath the cafeteria steps at Conley Hills Elementary School in the 1970’s.

I do miss some of the old stuff of teaching but I have to admit I enjoy the positive changes technology has brought.  I guess I just need someone to come and figure out what the heck I did to my computer!

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