I just got the most wonderful thing in the mail from some very adorable children and their very excellent teacher! I couldn’t wait to show you!  MUSICA . It’s all about Remembrance Day, which I wrote about last week …. my mail is proof that you just never know who might be checking in!  ❤️❤️❤️ Look at this! ⬇️

I knew it would be special when I saw the envelope! Look at the return address! “Mrs. O’Brien’s 4th Grade Class,” all the way on the other side of the country, from Wolf Creek Oregon, and I couldn’t wait to open it. But I knew I should be careful!

I turned it over, and saw this. Poppies! Someone made me something wonderful. It wasn’t even light yet when I was opening this, I was still in my jammies, and it was like Christmas!

The note from Mrs. O’Brien was wonderful and explained everything … it’s from Kari, one of our Girlfriends!

She and her students had read the Remembrance post, and then they all wrote me illustrated letters and put them in a book! Kari said most of the kids live in “deep canyons and forests of Southern Oregon” (doesn’t it sound magical?) and they go to Sunny Wolf School where Mrs. O’Brien teaches. I couldn’t just choose one or two letters to show you, they were ALL so good, so I thought I would just photograph the whole book. 💞

I have to tell you, I cried all the way through this book, it is so beautiful.💞

The children are so talented!!!

That book was like a bouquet of letters!

I wonder if they know how creative they are? Oh yes!

I hope they are always brave and paint and color and draw and write about the things they love.

Because when they share their hearts through their hard work, they make a big difference in the world.

And they tell stories . . . their own stories, and other people’s stories . . .

And they keep important memories alive for everyone!

They are lucky to have a teacher like Mrs. O’Brien… I remember my 4th grade teacher, he had a funny name, Mr. Fishbacher, but I loved him.  He taught me a lot. He liked my handwriting too! More MUSICA? (This song was written in 1917! About WWI, the war that brought us Armistice Day.)

This was my handwriting when I was in Mr. Fishbacher’s class!  Looks a lot like Mrs. O’Brien’s kids!

And I loved to draw flowers in my class too!

Wonderful teachers are never forgotten, especially ones that talk about poppies and Armistice day and make books and teach about our beautiful world . . . the kids are reading a book called A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck ~ Mrs. O’Brien says it’s “fun, funny, true-to-history and set in 1937!” Lucky Kids! So good to read interesting books in a group and talk about it and hear what everyone thinks!

Students are no good without a teacher, and a teacher is no good without her students! 

I think they all have beautiful handwriting . . . see how it’s different for everyone? As many different noses as there are in the world, that’s how many different kinds of handwriting there are. Forming letters is just like drawing a flower. 🌺 You can make them all different ways! You can look at the way someone else makes their letters, and copy them! It’s fun!

And no one draws the poppy flowers quite the same. Which makes each of these kids a 100% original person who can hear the very same story, then tell what they learned, each in a very different 100% original way. 🌺

I bet they went home and told their families about Armistice Day!

As the poppies in this picture got further away, they got smaller, and lighter and some became hearts. Good job!

They learned that “people fight for freedom in the war” . . . and that’s why we remember them and are grateful to them forever . . . and one way we show our gratitude and honor the people who died is working hard to make sure war never happens again.💖

B  L E  S  S  I  N  G  S

They learned that they like “peace instead of war “. . . because then everyone stays alive and at home, painting pictures, planting gardens, making cookies, and planning secret presents for the people they love . . .

for their moms or dads or brothers or sisters or grandmas, for their best friends . . . or even for their teachers!

Learning about Armistice Day (which we call Veteran’s Day now) is important, because if we know about our history, then we know better about what to do in the future to make a better world.

And tomorrow is the day . . . The 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour, and 2017 is the 100 year anniversary of when America went to war in Europe.🇺🇸 We will be quiet and say a prayer for the souls that gave so much, in America, England, and Canada, and all over the world. And in my prayer, I will add blessings for the good kids at Sunny Wolf School and their magical teacher, Mrs. O’Brien. 💖

You made my day!And look, one more thing so I will never forget . . .

They made me a great big poppy!!!  I ‘m wearing it right now! I love it! And when anyone asks me where I got it, I will say, from the 4th grade class at Sunny Wolf School!

If you kids are reading this, I just want to tell you what a nice thing you did!  I think you are very special, creative, smart little people. Don’t grow up too fast! You’re in charge of that! Go nice and slow . . .

And thank you for helping me and everyone on my blog “Remember.”

Blessings on you all, Thank you Mrs. O’Brien and all your lovely students, be good to each other. XOXO

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  1. Bren Leyland says:

    Awwwwww …. this would have be so worth getting up for today. How very special. And I love that poppy the class made for you. I’d be wearing it too.

    I am wearing one today, but it’s not homemade. I used to love drawing the poppies in elementary school when we talked about Remembrance Day (Canadian). I was always proud that my Uncle Carl served in WWII, and be especially proud at those community services when he’d be there with other people who had served.

    Wishing you a beautiful day, Susan! And thanks for sharing this special mail day with us!

    Bren xox

  2. Kim says:

    Reading those sweet letters, I am struck by their timelessness ~ The written voices of Mrs. O’Brien’s fourth graders could have been those of ten year-old children from a hundred years ago. It’s good to remember that, too, on this RemembranceArmistice/Veteran’s Day. What gifts we are blessed with.

  3. Christie Levin says:

    Dearest Susan, If any one in the world deserves wondrous thank you letters from incredible 4th grade people, you are that one. They made it beautifully clear that learning about remembrance poppies and the meaning behind Armistice Day from your awesome post was a super-good way to do it ~ way to go Mrs. O’Brien!!! Their letters and art!!! Verity’s poppy growing roots in her heart!! The two boys in blue proudly wearing poppies on their chests!! Isaac’s very expressive person showing his sadness for what the poppies represent!! Every letter and drawing from the children is a picture of their precious hearts and I also thank you and Mrs. O’Brien and all her 4th Grade people for sharing. Like Tristan said, Peace To You all. And Hugs XOXOXO

  4. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Such innocence being filled with loving seeds of appreciation and possibility by you, Susan!

    Thank you for making such a huge difference in the world by who you are and what you do from your heart.

    Much love and appreciation, Sandra

  5. Sharon Silva says:

    What a precious, precious gift! With all the “junk” in the world today it’s wonderful to see the next generation learning about and appreciating what it means to be free!

    I have yet to see anyone with poppy flowers on their lapels so I think I will follow the kids idea and create my own! I am going to a craft fair tomorrow with a group of ladies from church and I will make enough for everyone!

    As always, thank you for sharing your H”art”


  6. Lauri says:

    What a wonderful gift to receive. The children are so creative and smart! Mrs O’Brien sounds like a great teacher who is instilling good memories. You are a natural teacher also Susan. This is why I love your blog, it’s full of so much love, much needed in our world today!

    I salute all of our veterans today, including my sweet Dad.

  7. Lorrie says:

    This is so lovely. I’m wearing a poppy these days, too. Also from Canada. Today in my last class of the day, French 8, we will be making little booklets about Remembrance Day. My husband and I visited several of the Commonwealth Graveyards in Normandy, France, and I’ll be showing photos of that to the students, as well. Let us never forget!

    Thank you for your beautiful blog. I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks and your Willard has been sitting in my inbox, waiting for just the right moment. This morning (I’m teaching just this afternoon), I made tea, poured it into a bone china mug (alas, not one of yours), and savoured your words and the images they create in my mind. Then I clicked over and found this wonderful post. My day is beginning with beauty! Many thanks.

  8. Carol Maurer ~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    It was great to read all those letters that the kids wrote to you. They will remember this a life time. They are also very lucky to have a teacher that will go beyond the textbook to teach. I have been by Wolf Creek. They have a camp ground that is very popular from what I hear. It’s just of Interstate 5 close to Grants Pass.

    Carol M

  9. Wende Taylor says:

    Thanks sooo much for sharing this gift with us Sue! I loved reading it all. What a fabulous book Mrs. O’Brien put together for you from her 4th grade class. They will always remember this now and I love that kids are still learning about this… because we never want to forget. 11-11-11 🌺
    I’ll be at our local “Remembrance Day” service tomorrow, lovingly listening to the bagpipes & drums, remembering and honouring.
    Thanks to Mrs. O’Brien, and to you Sue, for teaching our little people about this. 💕

  10. mary spring says:

    …precious, so precious !!!…thank you so much for sharing !! <3

  11. Beautiful children in Sunny Wolf Charter School! Blank slates being filled with appreciation for history. My prayer for all children is to have wonderful parents and teachers that fill their children’s blank slates with love and respect for each other. Lovely post, dear Susan. XOXO ♥

  12. Linda says:

    What a great treat to receive such kind and insightful letters from the children in Oregon. Aren’t their drawings a delight! I’m so glad you shared your mail and their teacher used your poppy post as a lesson for her students. I love that. Beautiful post.

  13. Ruth E. Rupp says:

    Dear Susan, What an incredible column!!! And loved your comments between those wonderful letters! As I read them, I thought briefly about all of the terrible disasters this country has been experiencing along with school shootings, and it truly gladdened my heart to read these letters, look at the amazing art work, and thank God for the dedicated teacher who inspired these children, along with your inspiration. I am so glad one of the students mentioned your beautiful cursive writing and fervently hope this whole class will want to learn how to write like this. I understand cursive writing is being dropped from the schools. HUGE MISTAKE!!! How are students even going to know how to read our Constitution?? Thank you so much for sharing all of these inspiring letters, and bless the teacher who took the time to share them with all of us. I was in northern France several years ago on Memorial Day and walked through the cemetery with all the white crosses where our servicemen were buried. I couldn’t believe the thousands of poppies I saw growing all through that area. I pressed one into my diary. I sold poppies in Junior high school to remember our fallen soldiers. I kept one of those from so long ago, and when I wear it tomorrow and years to follow, I will also remember this classroom, this teacher, this column, and you. Thank you, Susan, Ruthie in Minnesota

  14. Clydene says:

    What a wonderful impression your words made on these children. They truly will never forget. Maybe we should send Susan Branch to the United Nations.

  15. Stephanie W. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this special gift from the children with all of us. We need all of the love for mankind (and history!) we can get! XOXO

  16. Jenny Young says:

    I’ll share with you one of my favorite posts about Veteran’s Day. This was written by a sweet friend of mine Sam. She’s one of the writers for this blog & was able to share personal stories from her family!

    She also has her own blog…..Ms Sam wears Dresses
    I’m sure you get lots of suggestions for things to read but My sweet friend Sam is such a talented lady & truly one of the best writers I’ve ever read.

    I plan to wear my poppy for Veteran’s day after reading your blog post about them! Usually when I’m offered a poppy I turn them down. I don’t want to be wasteful. But this year I happily accepted one & have saved it to wear on Veteran’s Day. Our little town will have a parade then my garden club will decorate our gazebo for Christmas! Getting things ready for December. After that our club ladies will go to the local coffee shop for drinks, sweets, lunch & some fun visiting.

  17. Marcia from Sewell, NJ says:

    better than any royalty check, huh Susan?

  18. shanna says:

    Just beautiful. It made me cry, too.

  19. Carol C says:

    As I was reading this post and the wonderful letters from the 4th graders and their teacher, I was taken back 59 years ago to my 4th grade class and my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Green. She was the teacher who taught cursive handwriting and I loved every second we got to spend practicing the letters. I would stare at those green cards displayed above our blackboard and her own perfect cursive and I was determined that one day my cursive letters would look like those. It started a life long interest in the art of handwriting and later in life I took a calligraphy class (as a mom with 2 young boys) just for fun. It has always fascinated me, and your own blog with your artwork has been always an inspiration. There is a monthly art mail envelope swap that I sometimes join just to see where the envelopes come from and what kind of interesting and creative artwork I get. I now enjoy sending sporadic mail to my 5 grandchildren and decorating the envelopes to be eye catching. Well, I try to decorate any snail mail envelope I send out, just for fun to the recipient as well as the postal employee! Thank you, Sunny Wolf 4th Graders, for your inspiration today!

  20. Kathie Ferko says:

    Hi…what a lovely blog.
    Those children are so smart,talented,and artistic. This is such a lovely present to thank you
    for your knowledge and sentiment…peace to all … God bless our veterans on Armistice
    day and always. Have a great weekend!
    Kathie from Limerick

    • sbranch says:

      America entered WWI in 1917 … and here we are 2017, 100 years later, and now somehow, the heartstrings between that long ago era and today are still visible. It’s amazing. xoxoxo

  21. Caroline says:

    All the Light We Can Not See…. (great book!) But today, You and the beautiful souls in Mrs O’Brien’s class have made visible a glimpse of the invisible web of love and connection we all live in…from MV to Sunny Wolf school in Oregon…to Flander’s field to all the perennials who are united by you everywhere! Tomorrow at 11am, I will be still, I will remember and all our hearts will be connected again in love and gratitude.

  22. Lillian Olmstead says:

    Dear Sue,
    What a wonderful post! Kids are so touched when they learn about the past. I’m so glad Mrs. O’Brien took the time to share your lovely piece with her class, some people would assume 4thgraders wouldn’t get it, how wrong they would be. Congratulations to Mrs. O’Brien and thanks to you.

  23. Kari says:

    Dearest Susan,
    Happy Armistice Day! Happy Veteran’s Day! I am so glad the children’s letters arrived to you in time for Armistice Day! They were absolutely amazed that the postman would deliver letters from the tiniest little town in Oregon across the country to an island in the Atlantic to you! Thank you for this most precious response! I can’t wait to share your blog post with the children on Monday morning. They will smile from ear to ear and know that they have a friend on Martha’s Vineyard! Thank you for making this world a little more beautiful and a little bit smaller and for being an audience for their letters. This post is absolutely touching to the core, thank you so very much. Many blessings to you and to Joe. With love, Kari

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t wait for you to do that either Kari, they are wonderful kids . . . that letter was priceless! Big giant group hug with you all!

    • Kari, This was an awesome idea and a great gift. Wasn’t it wonderful that Susan shared it with all of us! Your children did a great job. I am a retired teacher and I am so proud of today’s teachers still encouraging and teaching young minds. Thank YOU for your service!

    • Deb says:

      Dear Kari,
      Thank you for sharing Susan’s Armistice Day lesson with your 4th graders, who soaked up every word and drawing and picture and meaning of what it is truly about. These letters and drawings are as inspiring as Susan’s Armistice Day Poppy Post! It brought a tear to my eye to read these heartfelt letters, knowing that through Susan and yourself, these talented, smart little people actually “get” the meaning of the poppy and the remembrance. They’re awesome kids!!
      Three cheers to the kids!
      Three cheers to Kari!
      Three cheers to Susan!
      Thank you all for carrying on this great tradition.

    • Chrissy says:

      Thank you Kari for teaching the children about Armistice Day in such a fun and unique way. So many children are just taught to take tests and it’s refreshing to see teachers go beyond that. Thank you.

    • Tawni Urrutia says:

      Dear Kari,
      What a treasure you are! My husband and I gave a toast to you and your fantastic students last night. “To the students with all of their intellect, and artistry, kindness, and integrity. May those extraordinary traits grow with them into adulthood. And to Mrs. O’Brien, May she continue to share her bright light of love, and joy, education, and possibilities to many more generations!”
      Continued blessings to you. You have certainly been a blessing to many!
      Peace to you,
      Tawni Urrutia

  24. Linda Jordan says:

    It always makes me happy to see a new post on your blog! A Year Down Yonder is a wonderful book, and the chapter about Armistice Day definitely leaves an impression. I think I will go make a poppy to wear.

  25. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    good morning Susan and Girlfriends. what a lovely surprise and Wolf Creek is about an hour away from me on the other side of Grants Pass, it is a wonderful place and they have the historic Wolf Creek Inn that has just reopened awhile ago. they are in a very rugged area, and a very historical area. what a sweet book to send, and the kids are so sweet. the Wolf Creek Inn is a beautiful old inn, and one of the best places to stay if you are traveling around there. they have just finished a restoration on the old inn, and a fresh new coat of paint. today it is sunny here, well the sun pops out between clouds. it is also windy and still chilly out there, thank heavens for the woodstove. the cats are busy watching the squirrels in the front and come racing to the back to watch the wild turkeys, there is no lack of amusement here for them. plus the suet feeders and bird feeders on the kitchen porch, front porch and back patio they have plenty to keep them entertained these days. plus tons of little birds going after the worms in the back lawn (yuk). I have never heard such busy chattering from them in a long time. got all the Thanksgiving decorations up, and I may sneak down to town and go to Fred Meyer’s to look at the beautiful serving dish ( perfect for the Thanksgiving table to serve potatoes or hot veggies in or maybe the stuffing). has beautiful Autumn pumpkins and leaves on it and a lovely serving spoon to match…. I may just have to be nice and get me an early birthday gift. LOL!!! well off to check on the chickens ( check on their feed and water), and then on to town for some shopping. you all have a wonderful weekend. Happy Veteran’s Day and Happy Autumn. have a great day today and enjoy this beautiful time of year. hugs…… 😀

  26. Judith says:

    Sniff. What a way to start your day! Great job kids! You can tell they really got into this project from the heart. And won’t ever forget it. Great job Mrs. O’Brien! (all of these kids have such great names, it must be a very creative area)Thanks for sharing the whole book, Susan ♥

  27. Barbara Thomas says:

    Oh I cried reading this. What lucky children to have a teacher like this. And the letters were darling and the sweet names they have , a child named Verity! Simply beautiful. Just lovely, really makes your heart warm.

  28. Julie says:

    My dad bought me a poppy every year when l was growing up. He served in WWll. We are currently in the U.K and there are poppy things everywhere. We don’t do as much in Australia but we still have poppies and still stand silently for 1 minute on the 11th hour on the 11th of November each year. Lest we forget.

  29. nellie says:

    What an amazing gift! Letters and illustrations from 4th graders in Oregon! Wonderful teacher to make them aware of the meaning of the poppy, then to give them the opportunity to grow in their creativity! Outstanding!

    Sending you the best for this season!

    xo Nellie

  30. Chrissy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This made my day. Reading these letters brings me hope for our future. And to any veteran and family reading this. Thank you. Thank you for answering the call. Thank you for knowing what you signed up for and for signing up anyway. Thank you for your sacrifice, courage and determination. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid, so I hope our gratitude is enough. Peace and blessings to everyone.

  31. Pat Gubbe says:

    Best blog post EVER…love every word and every drawing.

  32. Kim Cook says:

    Such a heartwarming gift from those students and their teacher…I’m so very touched…thank you for sharing with us.

  33. Susan says:

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing it! I taught for nearly 40 years and have such sweet memories. This was a lovely reminder of school years and school children past.

  34. Gail M. says:

    Hi Susan! What a wonderful post! Mrs. O’Brien and her fourth grade class are incredible! Their book for you is such a treasure. As if that wasn’t enough of a treat for me today, imagine the look on my face while reading YOUR letter when you mentioned that you attended Minnie Grant School! I went there, too, for second and part of third grade in l963/64! I loved that school and have wonderful memories from my time there. I’m off to my craft and sewing room now! You’ve inspired me to make myself a poppy to wear for Remembrance Day. Blessings to you!

    • sbranch says:

      I loved it too, and was only there for kindergarten and first grade in the 1950s. But I remember both of my teachers. Mrs. Caldwell had all us kindergartners lie on poster paper, she traced around us, and we poster-painted full-sized pictures of ourselves. My mom saved mine and I framed it for my studio a couple of years ago, but the moment it saw the light of day it began to fade, and did, to almost nothing. I have only one little photo of it, big red circles for eyes, the yellow dress I loved with the black bow on it, red fingernails, and two ponytails! Mrs. Caldwell did that.

  35. salve stamatelaky says:

    Oh Susan you made our day this special day of Veteran’s Day courtesy of the Sunny Wolf School of Mrs. O’Brien’s 4th graders! Thank you much!

  36. Sue Lamke says:

    That was a great teaching lesson those kids will not forget. It was nice to see some cursive writing used in the classroom. Your books are certainly an inspiration.

  37. Deborah Winter says:

    This is so nice! I had two uncles who were in the service/active duty but they are gone now and it important to remember their sacrifices. Maybe you will start a trend here to wear poppies as they do in the UK. Thank you.

  38. Susie says:

    What a truly beautiful gift you have received. But truly how wonderful was the blog about this most special day that you shared with all of us – all of it is such a gift – and that is what life is, too. Bless you, bless your readers, bless the children – let us all always remember the gift we have thanks to what others who came before us have done for us.

  39. Charl says:

    Good Afternoon,Susan,

    How wonderful to receive such a special gift! How proud they will be when they see your posting today! A gift that keeps on giving!
    Thank you for sharing it with us!
    Warm hugs,

  40. Carol Kennedy says:

    How refreshing to know that children somewhere in this country are actually studying history!!!!! Thank you so much for inspiring them to do so. If you ever wonder if what you do makes a difference, you now have your proof!!! Thanks for making a difference in all our lives!!! God Bless You!!

  41. Brenda says:

    Precious! You touched their hearts and in return they touched yours…Reminds me of this quote (I don’t know who to attribute it to, but I saw it and loved it, so I saved it!) “It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.”

  42. Thanks for sharing this Susan. Nice to see children learning about this and their
    teacher reinforcing the lesson. I loved seeing the names of the children, (even Verity, who we know from Poldark!). Nice job for all.

  43. Lorraine from White Plains, NY says:

    Wonderful. Just wonder-full.

  44. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Tears are leaking as I write this. I pray they never lose their innocence and that they grow up in peace and spread it throughout their lives. They are precious to the world.

  45. Robin in New Jersey says:

    So sweet! I am in tears here, not sure why. 😢 Bravo to the whole 4th grade class! Thank you for sharing this with us. 😘

  46. June Emmert says:

    So thoughtful of you to publish the drawings and letters. You touched many hearts as
    You so often do.

  47. Gayle Hall says:

    My heart is soring Susan, and the package did not even come to me. But as a woman who is working so hard to complete a project to enhance the lives of children in the NORTHWOODS with the museum / library I am trying to complete this really did warm my heart. I have hit many brick walls along the way on this journey. But when I read wonderful things like this it just reminds me how important it is to NEVER give up. As the little souls out there need people to give them good examples and DIRECTION. We just never know Susan who is watching and taking our lead. And we may not ever know who we help. But we must continue to do so whatever work it takes. So my hats off to you for your open door way of life. For sharing your days with all of us. Bless you and keep on keeping on. Love Gayle Hall

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Gayle. I think of that time when I was around 22 I went to my landlady’s house to pay my rent ~ she had set a beautiful table and was cooking up a storm, and right there and then, my life was changed. You are so right, we never know when an act of giving might find a home in the heart of a like-minded soul nearby.

  48. Mercedes Gonzalez says:

    Susan no wonder you are delighted with the book. There are some teachers that if they didn’t exist we should have to invent them. Those kids and their teacher have just made this world a better place! Congrats!

  49. mari1017 says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Susan. These students and their teacher did a marvelous and kind work…and we are blessed that you shared it with us. ♥
    Goodness, I smiled and teared up all the way through…reminded me of my teaching days with second and third graders. Thank you. I”ll be wearing my red poppy tomorrow! xoxo mari

  50. Sharon from AB Canada says:

    What a way to brighten your day and ours, too. There is great hope in the future with teachers and students like Mrs. O’Brien and her class. Thank you for sharing this.

  51. Karen Schrimpf Saunders says:

    Wolf Creek is right over the hill from Grants Pass. It was nice to see such a lovely bunch of talented kids prompted by their teacher to write to you. Their letters were so encouraging and uplifting. A great teacher is a GREAT thing.💜💜💜 Every year the Veterans would hand out those little poppies. Haven’t seen that here lately though but I do think we should go back to it!!🌷🌷🌷

  52. Karen Dyser says:

    Thanks for sharing your treasure with us.

  53. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a lovely book arrived for you today, and from a group of children and their great teacher! I believe that empathy should be encouraged from the earliest possible age and makes a better life for all of us. They honored you with their words and work and their appreciation of yours in addition to the meaning for the poppies!
    Thank you for your post.
    Blessings, S

  54. Di Word says:

    Thank you for a memorable post. Armistice Day has a personal meaning for me. My dad was born on 11/11/10. Have a lovely weekend.

  55. Bonnie B says:

    A wonderful gift to you and now us.

  56. Sheryl M says:

    Oh, these wonderful children make you feel there is hope for the future. Think of all the people the Poppy has inspired!

  57. Monique says:

    Oh a tear to my eye for sure! Love the teacher and the Littles and their writing and words and drawings.
    And their names!
    Lovely post.

  58. Mary Parsons says:

    What sweet angels those children are! I enjoyed your “Story of My Life”. I too was born in Long Beach and I am still here 64 years later. Minnie Gant is right down the street from me.

    Blessings to you,

  59. Deborah Wilkinson says:

    Such a heartfelt moment to read all of the children’s letters. Seeing their printing leaning toward cursive is wonderful. Thank you for sharing this special event with all of us. Warmly, Deborah

  60. Carol says:

    That is just so sweet!!!!

  61. Janet O'Connor says:

    Dear Susan, This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us. The messages made the day’s importance even more special. This will stay in their hearts forever.
    Janet xoxo

  62. Susan Shearer says:

    This absolutely, incredible blog just made my day. Thanks for making my day a”poppy kind of day” in remembrance of all who have served us so unselfishly. God Bless you Susan and the 4th Graders in Mrs. O’Brien’s classroom!!

  63. Virginia says:

    How deeply moving. What a wonderful teacher those children have. And how lovely of her to share it with you, and of you to share it with us. That is the best good news I have seen in awhile. I am so touched.

  64. Cyndi in NC says:

    Oh my goodness! How sweet was the blog today. Those children put so much work into it and it was great that the teacher passed it along to you. She knew how much it would mean to you. I don’t doubt that you teared up while reading it. I must say their handwriting is really very good also, something that a lot of kids aren’t learning properly these days. Computers are talking over handwriting and it is really so important. It does sound like an idyllic place in Oregon. One state I have not been to.

  65. Gill Smith says:

    What a wonderful start to your day Susan!. I’m so far from home , this Remembrance Day, but my husband and I bought our poppies yesterday, from a young soldier on a street corner in Brisbane. We were so proud to wear them, but a touch saddened that we seemed to be the only people in the city wearing them!
    We shall have our quiet time, remembering, with thankfulness, and giving Mrs O’Brian a gold star for her wonderful teaching!
    Gill Uk , a for a few weeks Australia

    • sbranch says:

      That surprises me, I thought Australia was as connected to Poppy Day as the British. I’m glad you are making a good show of it Gill! Springtime down there!

  66. Nancy Newsom says:

    Susan, that’s so cool and what a wonder teacher to have included your blog in her lessons. I learned something too, and I know it must have warmed your heart to read those precious letters. I bet most kids in our country aren’t taught the history of Armistice Day, and that’s a shame. Love, Nancy

  67. Jane Franks says:

    Oh, Susan! That’s so special. Isn’t it just wonderful when kids respond with their thoughts and ideas? We just are humbled whenever we get letters like this, too. This is just wonderful for them to learn about the poppies and Armistice/Veteran’s Day. They’ll never forget this! Well done, them and well done you, for inspiring them and teaching them this! I like what Kim (above) says, too, about the timelessness of children’s comments. Children are so universally and innocently unbiased, yet can be strong in what they are taught and believe, and unafraid to express it. We can learn a lot from them. In a good way. Thanks for sharing this. I was smiling all the way through!! 🙂 Jane xo

    • sbranch says:

      I do think the more in touch we are with the idealism we had in our own hearts as children, the better off we are. We were so intuitive at that age, and so often right about what we perceived to be right or wrong. We just knew.

      • Jane Franks says:

        This is one reason I love doing the kind of writing I’m doing right now. Talking from the heart; thinking like a child. Taking tips from other great writers. Speaking of which, have you seen this preview yet? Can’t wait! Should be inspiring to writers!
        You are right about “we just knew”. We hadn’t been tarnished or sullied by the world yet. I think it’s possible to recapture that wonder by renewing our minds. It’s interesting that Jesus told his critics they must be like children to enter His Kingdom! Hugs, Jane xoxo

  68. Karen Williams says:

    Many tears falling reading those sweet letters to you from beautiful children and what a wonderful thing their fabulous teacher has done, taking you into the classroom and their lives, Susan.
    Well done you. Well done Mrs. O’Brien. Congratulations children on your beautiful handwriting, pictures and the fantastic sentiments in each and every carefully written letter.

    Tomorrow I will think of the Fallen, of you, and the class of youngsters who are growing up wishing and hoping for peace…maybe by the time they are grown, the world might be a much better place, having them teach us all – we can but hope.
    Hugs to them all and you Susan,
    Karen Williams
    UK 🇬🇧

  69. Dorothy Stapleton says:

    I am a retired first grade teacher and the thing I miss the most about teaching is that learning community that forms around the special sharing of books and the conversation that ensues–only “we” shared that excitement–it was ours and only ours–couldn’t be exactly duplicated anywhere else. So, now, I spend as much time as I can reading with my 2 granddaughters. We love Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books, and we’re working on my childhood favorites from The Happy Hollisters series. They are all about family life in the 50’s and carry so many lessons about leading a life full of character–which is what good books do if we stop and really think about them! I loved meeting Mrs. O’Brien and her lovely class! Thank you for sharing!

  70. Cathy Steele says:

    Aw-w-w is perfect. This made my day too. My father is almost 93. He was and will always be a Marine. He always sang the Marine Hymn when we were young and
    then to my kids when they were little. I can still hear him, “From the halls of Montezuma. . .”. And now it brings tears to my heart. I’m so grateful for him and the millions of men and women who served our country. These letters to you are
    sweet and profound. Thank you for teaching all of us about Armistice Day and the meaning of the poppies. I will never forget this post and how you touched my heart today. . .as you always do.

    • sbranch says:

      My uncle Bob was a career Navy officer. When I was little we would have family reunion picnics in a park in Long Beach, CA. His daughter, my cousin Millie, and I would sneak up behind him and sing the Marine Hymn in his ear . . . he would jump up and chase us all over the park and pick us up and carry us around! It was so fun to torture my Uncle!

  71. I adore all of your blogs, but I must say that this by far is the most special. Thank you for sharing this class’s book. It was just precious. Aren’t teachers just the best?! A teacher friend of mine, she was a student teacher in my class before she graduated, just asked on Facebook for us to send her pictures of real veterans in unifor so her kids could see real veterans. I sent my dad’s from WWII and my husband’s from 1967. Both sailors. I always taught about Veterans day while I was teaching as well. While long-term substituting a few years back I read a good book to my class every day after recess. It lead to great discussions about friends, different types of families, etc. The children loved this book so much they asked to write to the author. We did and she wrote back to us. They were thrilled. I live just outside of Camp LeJeune. Veterans Day is every day around here. We see active, young Marines as well as retired vets all the time and we love them all. Spend a morning at the local VA Clinic and you can hear many stories. Thank you again, Susan, for sharing this special book with all of us. love you. 🐩

    • sbranch says:

      I read something this morning “Spend a day at your local VA Clinic and you will see the real price of freedom.” 😥

      • Ahhh, but these guys are not all sad. The camaraderie there is phenomenal . No matter the branch they served in, they all, young and old, share stories. They all wear caps and tees marking their branch of service or regiment or ship. I have been in 3 VA clinics and all have been wonderful. The doctors and nurses and staff are always polite and in a great mood. Yes, it is sad to see the toll war has taken on our service men and women, but the atmosphere there is good. The care given is superb. Do not believe the negative things said about the VA.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, wonderful Peggy …I think they were talking about the same thing, that the real price were the wounds suffered, physical and mental and that we should never forget them.

  72. Ruth Steele says:

    How dear to read all of these letters from very special people, as said in another comment…these could be much, much like I would have written in my class perhaps, and I am 78 now. We learn from history how precious are those who gave their all for the freedoms we are blessed by, and need to be reminded oft-times of something we must never take for granted. Thank You for sharing this dear gift from her class.

  73. Julie Buck says:

    This is lovely – I can imagine you were feeling a heart bursting with love while you read these wonderful messages. What a special thing to receive in the mail, and I think it’s wonderful how you’ve honored the big effort they put forth to send you a package full of love.

  74. sylvia in seattle says:

    Oh, oh, oh, how wonderful. What a great teacher is Mrs. OBrien. Lucky kids those 4th graders. Love all their original artwork and writing. I am moved to tears taking it all in. Such a thrill for you Susan to receive such a wonderful envelop today. Such a great thing for those artists to see their work on the blog 🙂 I hope I find a Poppy today to wear.

  75. PJ says:

    Oh my goodness, how wonderful are these letters! As a retired teacher (30 plus years) who is now subbing, the students’ writing touched my heart. Hats off to their wonderful teacher! And hats off to you for writing a beautiful piece that could be used as a springboard for these little ones’ writing!

  76. Beckie from Maine says:

    Loved this blog, love those kids, love their teacher and love you too! Thanks for sharing this and making a VERY COLD day in Maine just a little warmer!!!!

  77. jeanie says:

    You just got the best gift ever. And because you are you and you understand such things, you even know it! What a treasure. If you ever wondered why you do and write what you do, now you know. I think you knew before. But now, for sure!

  78. Grand Pam says:

    How very wonderful!

  79. Beth T. says:

    As I am reading this, I’m listening to an interview with the author of the book, “Thank You For Your Service”, and the writer and director of the new film based on it. Thank you for helping us all remember the soldiers who have given so much over the years. May we continue to be mindful of them.

  80. Sharon Maier says:

    I am so happy that a teacher shared your beautiful newsletter about Armistice Day. Being a native Oregonian, it makes me very proud and pleased. Teachers are often not given the credit they deserve, and this lady deserves recognition for her resourcefulness in using your writing and art. I also noticed that several of the children used cursive handwriting — wonderful! I had feared that cursive had totally disappeared, but this proves it hasn’t. There are horror stories circulating about children not knowing how to sign their name because they all they knew was printing. Maybe there’s hope for us yet, despite our current political situation.
    Thank you for sharing those sweet letters…
    Sharon in Houston

    • sbranch says:

      People like to scare us these days ~ but I think the heart is still out there as it has always been and always will be. Because that’s what it is to be human, and we just can’t get away from that!

  81. Cheryl Miller says:

    Susan – Reading these letters made me tear up as well. My husband served in the Navy and three of our four sons served with the Marines and were in Iraq when the war first started there. They are all home safe and leading wonderful lives! So proud of ours sons and ALL of our service members. Veterans Day has very special meaning to us! My husband and I were in Montreal during Remembrance Day several years ago and they had the most wonderful service and they were selling poppies all over town. Thank you Susan for sharing this lovely book.

  82. Marie Morrissey says:

    This was such a joy to read the children’s letters and see what they had learned about Armistice Day and the red poppies. Kudos to their teacher for sharing the information with them and hopefully providing them with something to remember and appreciate the sacrifices made by so many. As we celebrate Veterans Day tomorrow, may we thank all of our military men and women who have done so much to preserve our freedom. A huge Thanks to all of them!!!

  83. Jane S. In PA says:

    As I’ve said before, your goodness reaches out and touches so many people in so many ways – in ways we can’t imagine. We need more of this today. It can change our world. What beautiful letters!

  84. Barbara Lassiter says:

    This is so very special. Thanks for sharing. Through the eyes of children and from a teacher, who know how to inspire, this is a wonderful tribute to those who gave so much! 🙂

  85. Patty in Redlands says:

    Blessings to Mrs O’Brien and her brilliant and creative 4th graders, and to you, Susan, for teaching all of us such important lessons.

    And my biggest prayer of all for no more wars!

  86. Joan S says:

    What a beautiful gift to you, what an inspiring g teacher, what a delightful and insightful class.

  87. Christine says:

    Wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing.
    Hugs to you young people.

  88. Hilary M. says:

    So very touching. The innocence of children and the kindness of a great teacher responding to a thoughtful, talented artist articulating one of the universal truths of the world.

  89. Limner says:

    Thanks for sharing their letters. My daughter’s and my young handwriting–at that age–looked a lot like Julianna’s. 🙂 It’s heartening to see children are still learning to write cursive. The printed letters are nice and legible. I will pass on the pleasant discovery to my letter-writing peers and penfriends. What a wonderful teacher! And there’s wonderful you. Thank you!

  90. Susie (Rocky Point, NY) says:

    That just warmed my heart! What a treasure! Bravo everyone!

  91. Such sweet letters from all these 4th graders, you are blessed indeed Susan Branch.

  92. Laura says:

    Just Wonderful!!!

  93. Ann Woleben says:

    These children are blessed with a wonderful, creative and caring teacher who obviously makes learning relevant and fun. This is my 42nd and final year in the classroom and subsequently, the school library. There is a joy in the heart of a true teacher when he or she connects with their students in the way Mrs. O’Brien has with her students. I bet they will never forget Armistice Day, poppies and your handwriting! You and Mrs. O’Brien have planted seeds of caring and hope – for these children are our future. I will miss all of my students when I retire in June, but the joy will remain in my heart forever.

  94. Carla Herkner says:

    Dearest Susan, This was a wonderful blog entry and it brought back warm memories of my 4th grade teaching years, too! But! It also triggered a memory of my Dad who used to love to try out various hobbies and crafts throughout his life. I will have to send you a photo. My Dad, who was adopted by English immigrants, made a poppy flower out of a Coca-Cola can and I kept that flower. I thought it was “just-a-flower” until I read your blog and realized no! It’s a poppy! It connected me to Dad in a “God-wink” kind of way. If I hadn’t read your blog and seen all of the poppies with the English traditions, my tired brain may not have figured it out! How can I thank you? I’ll try to send a photo of my Dad’s poppy. ~Cheers, Carla Herkner

  95. peg says:

    There is nothing more rewarding than receiving hand-written letters from children!!! Absolutely loved those letters! Treasures, for sure! xoxo peg

  96. Bethie says:

    Tears…oh the love, the innocence, the heart and the simple beauty of those children…may God bless them and let them never, ever, ever experience war. Thank you for sharing. This made my day.

  97. Pam Wilson says:

    Hi Susan! LOVED your precious book of letters from the 4th graders! Having been a teacher aide for 16 years I was the person who would bind those wonderful books of letters, pictures, thoughts for the teachers. I loved looking them and reading them as I punched the holes for the bindings. 🙂 Those children in Oregon really learned your lesson on remembering the veterans. And veterans really appreciate those who understand. Sincerely, Pam Wilson
    (wife of John, VietNam Vet, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, 1969-1971).

  98. Terry says:

    All the loving words that exist in the world are not enough to describe my feelings for that teacher, those children and this post xxx

  99. Lorna S says:

    Dear Susan,
    The letters and artwork from the children in Mrs. O’Brien’s 4th grade class took my breath away. I had trouble reading all the letters due to tears in my eyes. I had to clean my glasses several times and mop my face. Their artwork is inspiring. Each, a gift from his or her own heart, acknowledging your own artwork and lettering. These letters are wonderful teaching aides for all of us – helping us learn to express our appreciation; to share what we learned with others; to take time to remember that the freedom we enjoy was hard fought and fraught with dire consequences.

    My mother was born a year before the end of WWI. Her parents were Canadian and taught her about Armistice Day. She memorized John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” at a very young age, and recited it every November 11th at 11:00 am.
    Last week’s post put me in touch with my siblings as I related your post and remembered the last time Mom shared that poem in 2015. I love the connections: from coast to coast, from children to golden oldies (me), from war to peace, from teaching to learning, from artists to writers, stories from the heart to stories stirring the hearts of readers, from Susan Branch to Mrs. O’Brien’s & her students to your blog readers. And less we forget, the connections those readers make as they share your blog posts with others…and the circle of life returns with Mrs. O’Brien’s sharing of your blog post. And so it goes.

    Susan, thank you for just being you, for following your heart and sharing your art in words and paintings. My flag will be flying and at 11/11 at 11:00am and I too will remember as I recited “In Flanders’ Field.” But from this year forward, I will also remember all the children in Mrs O’Brien’s class who learned about poppies, Flanders Field, the fight for freedom, and how to share their appreciation through art – words & drawings, for they are the blessings for the future.

  100. Hello Dear Susan,
    What cutie pies, and what a cute teacher. We are so lucky when we get a wonderful teacher whose inspiration makes a mark on our hearts and imagination. Kari rocks!
    I was lucky too, with my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Harmon, who sparked his students’ creativity in every way possible. He made all the difference. I still think about him every time I read a good book or attempt to write something of my own.
    I love those kids expressions of a desire for peace in their beautiful letters to you. All the kindred spirits I know -like you, keep a child within- I think that is what makes us open to the beauty of the world and willing to add as much to life as we are able- in fun and creativity for others and ourselves.
    Love and peace to you!
    P.S. We are watching Band of Brothers again, and although it’s hard, it makes me so grateful for the greatest generations who were willing to put it all on the line to stop evil.

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