I Never Knew


I was in the hospital after my stroke eighteen months ago. I was feeling down all morning because I thought, “Gee! I almost died and I haven’t done anything worth while or important yet.” I finished lunch and was feeling tired. So I laid back in my bed and closed my eyes and was just drifting off to dreamland when out of the blue George popped into my brain.

George was one of my first grade students. He was a crier.

Generally when a child cries once the parents leaves school the child stops crying.

Not George. This was one tough seven year old!!!

He cried the entire day. For the first two days I gave George lots of attention. But he just kept on crying. The only time this child did not cry was at lunch time or on the play ground.

So after one week I decided to just ignore him.

Every book or piece of paper I gave to other students I gave to George too. I collected and graded his papers, even though he did no school work.

It got so bad even one of the children asked me to make George stop crying because the noise was interfering with his thinking.

I explained to the class that it was hard for me to think too.  But that I could not stop George from crying. I told the class that George wanted my attention all day long, twenty-four/seven. I also explained that if I did that I would not have any time for them.

I printed the word, “psychology” on the chalk board and gave the class a child’s definition of it.

I told my class we had to use psychology.  We had to ignore George.  I asked the children how many wanted to help me. Every student except George raised their hand.

A week passed.  I was in day two of the second week of Crying-Gate!  It was after lunch and I had just finished a math lesson and gave the class some practice problems to work. I was walking around helping students with their problems.

All of a sudden my teacher antenna told me something was wrong in the class. I looked around and listened. Everyone was busy. What was wrong?

Then it hit me! That was it! EVERYONE!!!!

I looked over at George and there he was counting on his fingers. He picked up his pencil and wrote on his work paper.

For what ever reason, George decided to become a part of our class that day.

I said, “Boys and girls….I hate to interrupt you because you are all working so well!  I told them George has decided to be part of our class. Let’s welcome George to our class. And I started to clap my hands. Of course the class did likewise.

George had a big smile on his face too. I gave each child a piece of candy as a reward.

George remained a good student the rest of the year.

Now fast forward five years. I was not teaching any more. I worked for Wright State University. I had a meeting at a high school in the school district where I had taught.

As I was walking into the school there was a woman coming out of the school and she said, “Miss Hunter….”  I stopped. “You may not remember me. I am George’s mother.”


I asked her how he was doing.

She said, “George is in fifth grade now. He is on grade level in reading and on 4th grade level in math.”

I started to say, “How wonderful….” but she went on…….

“……….and I credit you for all of it because you made George grow up that year.”

I was flabbergasted!!!!!! To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement! What a wonderful thing to say.

No one had ever said that to me. I never knew!

This remains the most wonderful compliment I have ever received.

Even if George was the only child I helped, it was enough. But then I realized there was also Brenda, Scottie, Peter, Jeffrey, Darin, and so many more. I have so many stories I could share!

I fell asleep then knowing that I had mattered to many of the children I taught. My life was not wasted.

Featured Recipe         Hamburger Stroganoff


This is what you need for 3 people:

2/3 to 3/4 pounds ground chuck

2-3 tablespoons butter

4-6 medium mushrooms

¼ cup chopped onions

1 small garlic clove minced

S&P to taste

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 – 2/3 cup beef broth (canned or from granules – I use bouillion granules)

6 tablespoons sour cream

Parsley for garnish ~ Optional

Cooked noodles

Here is what you do:

Prep all vegetables first: onion, garlic, and mushrooms.

Melt 1-1½ tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the  ground chuck.

Brown the ground chuck in one tablespoon of the butter. I also drain some of the fat from the skillet at this point.

Add another tablespoon and one-half of butter to the skillet along with the onion and garlic and the salt and pepper.

Sauté until onion and garlic is softened and translucent.

The water for the noodles us boiling now, so I am going to add the noodles. Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Now back to the Stroganoff. Add the mushrooms and cook until just beginning to soften.

Add Worcestershire sauce and mix well.

Stir in the flour and mix until the flour disappears.

Then add about ¼ – ½ cup of the broth to the meat and mix well.

This is how I do this. To make the broth I use 2 teaspoons of Beef granules. I add 2/3 cup of hot tap water to the granules and stir. (You could use beef broth.)

You may need more or less of the broth depending on how thick or thin you want your sauce. I start with about 6 tablespoons and proceed from there. Stir the broth into the meat mixture.

When it begins to thicken…..See how thick and gravy looking the broth is now? That is what you want…..

……now add the sour cream one tablespoon at a time. Don’t mix yet. Allow the sour cream to warm a bit and begin to melt. Then and only then gently blend into the sauce with a spatula.

Drain the noodles.

Mix the sour cream completely into the meat mixture

Serve the sauce over the noodles and serve with a salad and another vegetable.

Bon Appétite!!!
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10 comments to I Never Knew

  • I’ll bet you helped way more than George in more ways than you’ll ever know. George was a very lucky 7-year old to get you as his teacher.

    He’d probably like this hamburger stroganoff too – I certainly look forward to trying it this week.

    • Roberta

      Thanks, Maureen. LOL George would eat ANYTHING! He was a big seven year old. He ate all the food other kids would not. Not sure if he was just hungry, since he lived in a very poor home, or if he just liked to eat. I think a bit of both!

  • I love both the recipe and this story! I’m so glad you shared. We are, each of us, living a meaningful life in some way.

  • Cindy Mcwilliams

    Lovely Rah, indeed your life was not wasted. You’ve touched many w/ your love of learning and caring heart.

  • María

    There is much to say and sometimes words are not enough, good soul, great woman and GENIA !, thank you very much for sharing stories that leaves a sweet taste in our lives!. I love you.

  • Carol Sternberg

    Great Story….I’ve no doubt you were a wonderful teacher.