Making casseroles might help salvage the art of the letter

features@beaufortgazette.comNovember 1, 2011 

With Mama's tutoring and first-grade teacher Priscilla Kershaw's instruction, I learned to write the letters of the alphabet and the value of neat penmanship. Lined paper ensured the formation of letters was in accord with certain lines. The sway of letters would lead to cursive writing, a skill learned in second grade.

We also were taught the parts of a letter -- the heading, salutation, body, closing, signature -- and we were told those who write letters had to have something to share, something to ask and something of which to be happy. Most of us wrote to Miss Kershaw during the summer, and she would reply. We learned that letters bonded an individual to another for as long as they wanted to be bonded.

How true this was as this teacher followed us throughout our lives.

My letter-writing habit continued.

I did not have to write to classmates because we all stayed in the same neighborhood. But then the Monteith School closed and, according to school lines, some students went to Booker Washington Heights School and others to Anna Boyd school. Not all classmates had telephones, so to stay in touch over the summer, we exchanged addresses and wrote to each other. To this day, few months pass without us touching base with each other.

When I was a teacher myself, I passed along the lessons I learned from Miss Kershaw and encouraged my students to write to me. I was amazed when I received letters from my students from St. Helena Island who spent summers in Connecticut.

With all the technology, many friends stay in touch via email and Facebook. I still prefer letter-writing. There is nothing like pen in hand with stationery and just writing to a friend. Staying in touch is priceless. If one plans to "catch up" on correspondence, time is the most important factor.

Preparing casseroles can help you carve out that time that is as well spent corresponding with friends as cooking for them.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at

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