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. Penny says:

    Ahh that is very touching ! What a wonderful thing these children did -love the poppy !
    And we will whisper a quiet prayer tomorrow for those that stood up for us so brave !
    And say another that we can stop the need to loose another life ….and live together in peace on this beautiful planet earth 🌏 .
    ❤️ Penny

  2. Karen Lamoureux says:

    Susan, what a beautiful gift you were given by this awesome teacher who takes time out of her very busy day to share your story with her class. I, too, am a retired teacher and I know how important it is to give children the opportunity to be creative, both in their writings and drawings. But that time is so regulated by the people in charge of telling teachers how to teach and what to teach so their students will pass the test. Gone are the days of spontaneous,creative moments. Kari has given her students a gift they will never forget. They may forget the rules of grammar, or how to solve equations. But they will never forget the book they wrote and sent to you. That’s what teaching should be about.

    • sbranch says:

      When you take the creativity away from teachers, they’re cut off at the knees. I want them to fly, imaginations to soar, so they can take their students along with them. I don’t understand the system, all I know is how important my teachers were to me. Thank you for your service Karen. I don’t think teachers ever quite realize the magnitude of what they do. xoxo

    • Janet O'Connor says:

      Hi Karen,
      Boy are you ever right! I am a retired teacher and I totally agree with you. The mark of a great teacher is the ability to inspire his or her class to wonder about the world in which they live. Without that engagement, the children don’t think for themselves. They worry about getting the “right” answer.
      I hope the pendulum begins to swing back – it has to!

    • Mary B. says:

      So true and so very sad that teachers today are so restricted by all of the regulations and the testing. True teachers teach from the heart and soul, something that seems to be missing in new teachers today. But, there are those whose hearts sing when they read something like Susan’s blog and zing go the heartstrings and they know they must use this in their class!! Here we have history, writing, art, sharing and so much love in learning this story. Karen, you are so right! Kari, thank you! Susan, thank you for sharing!

      • sbranch says:

        I’ve heard about that testing, but I don’t know much about it, I just hope they have the freedom to be creative within the system. I also learned that, on average, teachers spend $500 of their own money a year on school supplies for their students ~ that says a lot about what kind of teachers we have out there.

  3. Carol from CT says:

    Hi Susan.
    It is obvious how affected you were after reading the writing from a child. You have reached into a classroom and touched children’s lives. That is an honor. You have made an impact. You cried and were happy at the same time. Doesn’t that tell you something? When I attended your speaking appearances in both Westfield, MA and Madison, CT, I raised my hand both times to ask you when you were going to write your first children’s book (?). Surely you now realize with just one group response from a teacher’s class how much of an impact you can make. You are a person with character (no pun intended) who is beloved for your creative talent, your generosity, your kindness, your love of history, your sense of adventure (are you crying yet?), and your awareness of what is REALLY going on in the world. You are so great with recipes but isn’t the aforementioned the right recipe for a children’s book of magnanimous quality? So … I’m raising my hand once again and asking you to get started on your first children’s book. You can do it ! Just do it !
    Love, Carol from CT … tra la

  4. Darlene says:

    Oh my…this is just so sweet!

  5. Diane C says:

    What nice letters. I’m sure their teacher will let them read everything you wrote and how proud they’ll be to see their writing and artwork on your blog. I hope all of these students keep writing and drawing. As you said Susan, each person is different and so is how we write or draw. I find that to be one of the most amazing things about us.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. toni baumgard says:

    Dearest Susan, I cried all the way through your beautiful post. Some years ago I was staying with a friend in England. On Poppy Day I had a chance to observe just how grateful they are to their fallen heroes. I have never forgotten it. Thank you for sharing. toni b

  7. Sally says:

    Very touching. You have left your mark, not only the adults who like me love your work, but also on the life’s of little children.

  8. Margaret Harke says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing these letters. It helps us “grown ups” realize how sweet and kind “little” human beings can be and maybe we All need to remember to cultivate that child inside us, so there will be love and peace in the world.

    • sbranch says:

      And never forget how clear we were then on what was right and what was wrong. We just knew. And we were right. xoxo

  9. nancy says:


  10. JudyH says:

    Wow, I thought, what an honor to touch and inspire all those young people. You continue to amaze and inspire me. God has blessed you Susan Branch.

    • sbranch says:

      He has, I feel it every day, say thank you every day. And try to send as much of it as I know how, out to the world. xoxo

  11. Regina Carretta says:

    Teaching our children about our shared history, about the goodness and traditions that they can be a part of….what a wonderful teacher Mrs. O’Brien is….this is a beautiful blog, Susan, and much much needed in this November of 2017. Again, you are appreciated….

  12. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! This was the best post ever! So cute! Kari should be very proud of her entire class! Reading the beautiful letters and seeing their artwork was a priviledge. Thank you for sharing them with us Susan! I call my Dad every evening around this time, so I will tell him about these wonderful letters written by such wonderful 4th graders!!!!! He was a sailor in WW11 and his father served in WW1. HAPPY Veterans Day from sea to shining sea!!!!!!!

  13. Karen says:

    So very wonderful, thank you for sharing this joy with all of us!💞 🌺😊🌺💞

  14. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    What a lovely treat for you to receive such a gift and what a wonderful job they did. Your blog brought back such happy memories from when I was a librarian in a small Catholic school for 15 years. I still have all the notes and drawings that I received from the students over the years I was their librarian. I had to smile when I saw they were reading “A Year Down Yonder” – it is a great book. Thank you for sharing this precious book of letters with all of us and bless Mrs. O’Brien’s fourth grade class!

  15. Linda says:

    Beautiful post! ❤️🌺 Made me cry too to see those letters and drawings!
    What a gift from you to them and back to us! 💫 Love it!

  16. Sharon N says:

    Our librarian, at the dear little school I work at, just came back to us after being overseas with her husband. We always have a big Veterans Day event and she chose poppies to highlight it. I showed her your blog and she was over the moon. I will ask her to send you some pictures of the display that the students did. Just wanted you to know that poppies were blooming in honor of Veterans in Annapolis, Maryland.

  17. Regina says:

    What a wonderful heartfelt gift you received from those students! The elementary school where I work had an awesome assembly today honoring our veterans. It was an hour and twenty minutes long but so worth it. We introduced each veteran and the student or staff member they were with. Students sung many songs, we had a slideshow honoring those who couldn’t be there and also those who have passed on. We had our Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts bring in the flags from the different branches and of course our state flag and American flag. To see the scouts in their uniforms was so moving. Our 6th grade students read many heartfelt tributes thanking our veterans. The hallways were decorated with students’ work, everything red, white, and blue and paper poppies everywhere. A very special day, indeed, for our community. So blessed to be a part of it. Our school has around 430 students so we had a packed house in the gym.

    • Mary B. says:

      A big HURRAY for your school!! It makes my heart happy to know some educators want to educate!

      • sbranch says:

        I have such a belief in people who would go to school for so long to realize their dream of being a teacher (and the people that “on average” spend $500 of their own money a year on school supplies for their students), that I’m pretty sure that Kari’s kind of caring is more the rule than the exception. Perhaps the media only tells us about “bad” teachers . . . but I never met one!

  18. Donna Bingham says:

    I will be leading a Garden Tour at 11 am tomorrow at Philbrook Museum, but I promise I will be thinking of Armistice Day and all the lovely sentiments from these wonderful children, led by a loving and dedicated teacher. On a day where news stories were awash with degradation of our national discourse, these letters gave me so much hope. We owe it to these kids to do so much better. Thank you for sharing this beautiful windfall.

  19. JoAnn from SoCal says:

    Heart overflowing……

  20. Samantha says:

    Oh my heavens! This brought tears to my eyes! No words on how effective their drawings are. Children truly sjow us the way to peace. Of course here in Canada its Remembrance Day ❤

  21. kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    What a sweet and touching gift that you recieved from Mrs. O’Brien and her 4th grade class! Their words and drawings touched my heat. You deserve all of the love and heartfelt thoughts that the children sent to you! What a beautiful kind thing that they did! I guarantee that they will never forget you and the very special teacher that they have. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  22. Judy-N.E.OHIO says:

    “Awwwwww….that was so sweet and touching!
    I feel warm and fuzzy from head to toe tips!”

  23. Oh my….how wonderful ! What an inspiration you were to them, and they are to all of us ! What wonderful work…and some were written in CURSIVE….a lost art for many these days. Just came from a Big Band concert where they honored the veterans and sang songs from the past…including “The moon belongs to everyone”. Thought of you…and my mom who sang it all the time. Will wear my poppy tomorrow and think of you, Mrs. O’Brien, and all those wonderful children.

  24. Tana says:

    How wonderful. Lovely children. We have our poppies to wear tomorrow.

  25. Marie (CA) says:

    May God richly bless Mrs. O’Brien and each one of these precious children–and of course you, Susan!

  26. Debby says:

    Great post Susan! Just finished a dinner of your Scalloped Potatoes with sausages! Wonderful! In the picture on your blog, is that a jelly roll pan that you used? Debby

  27. Beth Barnat says:

    This is such a special newsletter. Thanks for sharing all the precious letters the children wrote to you about the poppies. When I was little (born in 1953), I remember people would sell those poppies on Veterans Day and wear them.

    I thought about you the other morning. I was getting ready for work and watching “Fox & Friends” and they were talking to a former mayor of London. He was a cheerful looking fellow and guess what? He was wearing a poppy on his suit!

    You know, when my kids were little, and they asked me what I wanted for my birthday, mother’s day or Christmas, I would say, “Make me card.” “Awww, Mom, that’s so hard!” “But,” I said, “a card made by you is more precious than gold, and I will keep it forever.” And I have. And every once in awhile, I look through those cards, and get tears of joy in my heart.

    Again, thanks for sharing, Susan.

    Beth Barnat

  28. Julie Eden says:

    Such a wonderful story (proud to be from Oregon too)…we had a great Veteran’s Day program here at our retirement community today. packed house. presentation of the flags, wreathes to honor each branch of the service, songs, choir and brass ensemble from a local school, honoring our vets and a speaker who was in the Vietnam War. He has also gone back to the country more than 45 times to help with the current population. I remember tomorrow Bill Muir, of Eugene, Oregon who went to Vietnam in Sept 1967 and died due to hostile fire on Nov 11, 1967, yes on Veteran’s Day. He was a high school friend. I photographed his name on the memorial in DC and sent it to his parents back in Oregon. Our high school also has a memorial for those who fell. We remember and honor all of our vets tomorrow.Thanks for sharing your interaction with the school.

  29. DeLores E Johnson says:

    Dear Susan,
    How nice of you to send us copies of this book, all the letters and the pictures the children drew. I also liked that the teacher obviously shows your blog to the children or at least chose it for a project for her class to do. They did a wonderful job of writing and drawing the flowers. I was struck also, how some of them complimented you on your writing style! I too, love your unique style of writing.

  30. Jodi Sanders says:

    One of our fondest memories was being in London the fall of 2014 where we went to the Tower of London to witness the 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies being placed in the Tower moat to mark the 100th anniversary of WWI. You could’ve heard a pin drop. We are parents of a marine who has completed 4 tours of duty so we were particularly moved by the scene. These children have learned a wonderful history about our world. Thank you Susan for making that happen.

  31. Lee Gordon says:

    Good for you Mrs. O’Brien! So glad you used Susan’s gifts to inspire and inform your students! So many have forgotten the cost that was paid for freedom. God’s blessings on you and your students!

  32. Jan Davidson says:

    You are so beautiful. Children, teachers, veterans and Susan and Joe!!! Thanks for sharing. May all the veterans know that we send them our love and lots of hugs and thank you’d forever!!!❤️🌺

  33. Claudette Simms says:

    How wonderful!

  34. Susan Scott says:

    What a joy to read the children’s response to your wonderful lesson. It’s just what we need to focus on in our troubled world. God bless the children! Another joy is your blog….inspiring and uplifting and I smile all the way through it. Thank you Susan! ❤️🌺

  35. Connie Pruitt says:

    So special!

  36. Kelly Machnov says:

    Talk about a lovely random act of kindness. This is so meaningful in a world that sometimes feels weary, it is so sweet to see this and to know the goodness and kindness of others. Susan you inspire those of us who follow your blog with your timely entries, thoughtful quotations and lovely illustrations. And you inspired these children and their teacher to pay it forward and in so doing reminding all of us how blessed we are and to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we have the freedom to feel this way. Thank you for sharing this.

    Best to you always,


  37. Nan says:

    Mrs. O’Brien’s class’ gift to you was a gift to all of us! I loved reading the children’s words and seeing their beautiful artwork! Thanks you and Happy Veterans Day!

  38. Joyce Howe says:

    So very precious. What a wonderful gift.

  39. Sherry Johnson says:

    What a lovely post just before going to be here on the west coast. I remember poppy day from childhood growing up in NJ. Sorry to say I have not seen any poppies around today. The lesson would be lost were it not for you and the precious children. Please send love and thanks to the children from Wolf Creek School.

  40. Barbara A Case IN says:

    Thank you dear Susan and Mrs. O’Brien for sharing with all of us !!

  41. Barb says:

    Dear Susan, what a wonderful blessing for you to receive that book. These children are the hope of the world. Bless them and their teacher. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Barb

  42. Memarge says:

    Such a sweet blog today. Your blog is EVER enjoyable but this one was truly innoncent and sweet. Thank you for sharing, dear Susan. 🙂

  43. Judy in Ohio says:

    Wow!! Just amazing!! Thank you Susan, Mrs. O’Brien AND students…
    You made MY whole day too!! 🙂

    It is always amazing to me what can happen when one plants
    a seed where they think a flower will grow…because it does!!
    We all need to be surrounded with flowers…and thankfully
    it is a simple process (maybe a little harder these days)…and
    it just comes about. We will all keep planting!!…It just happens that
    our dear Susan has a particular knack!!…Thank Goodness!!
    And thanks, Susan!!! xoxoxo


  44. Jo'L says:

    So happy for the kids that their teacher (Kari) introduced them to you as a way to teach about Armistice Day, and happy for you that you received credit for spreading history to little people. Everyone would do well to remember.

  45. This was so special… it made all the wells of water (or whatever it is that “wells” up inside us) overflow! Children are such precious gifts and are each so beautifully gifted. (I loved that their teacher has your calendar behind her desk. How lucky for them they are getting exposed to your amazing art at such an early age!) I am thankful they have a teacher who really cares about them and about teaching them what really happened in history… and also who allows them such wonderful space for creativity! See, you have started a chain reaction of good. Bless you and these precious little ones. May they grow and never forget…


  46. Linda Hill says:

    Wonderful to know that good teachers who are not afraid to teach patriotism to their students still exist. Showing your blog to them was probably more effective than giving them the same information from a textbook. Thank you for sharing these letters from those children as that was also a more effective way of reminding all of “us” girlfriends to give thanks on Armistice Day. Linda from Idaho were it is high forties and rainy .

    • sbranch says:

      Teachers are so amazing. I’ve read that on average they spend about $500 a year of their own money on supplies for their students ~ I’m not at all surprised! They are there to inspire, so many from the heart.

  47. Deborah in the fields of Michigan says:

    What a precious gift, Susan! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I woke up at 4 o’clock and sleep left me me, so I checked my email, to find your blog. The beauty of each child’s letter and their lovely pictures of poppies brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thank you, Ms. O’Brien for sharing your very special class with all of us. What treasures they are! God bless each and every one of you. And, God bless America.

  48. judi says:

    What a wonderful inspirational teacher! These young ones will remember forever that you honored their efforts. Some may become artists and writers. Hugs to great teachers and you dear friend. judi

    • sbranch says:

      When we were growing up, we certainly couldn’t have had “words” with people so very far away from us . . . Because of where they live, I’m told most of the kids don’t have much internet or even TV connection. And here they are, in school, saying hello across the miles, and hearing it back! Because they are young and experiencing a thousand new things a day, they might take that as just another day, but to me, it’s a miracle!

  49. Deb in Wales says:

    Dearest Susan ~ what a wonderful gift to receive, two gifts ~ the envelope full of the sweet children’s words, and also the gift of knowing you have touched so many young hearts {and goodness only knows how many more}

    A good teacher can make or break the treasured souls entrusted to them for a year, but it looks as if these children {and those gone before and yet to follow} have a GREAT teacher. What a wonderful teacher Mrs O’Brien is {and I wonder how distantly she and I are related, for all O’Briens can ~allegedly~ trace their ancestry back to one common ancestor in Ireland}

    No wonder you had a tear in your eye, I did too, and such an inspirational thing to be reading just an hour away from 11:11:11 when Big Ben will chime for the first time in months.

    At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will Remember them.

    ~~~Waving~~~from Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo {wearing her poppy with pride}

    • Deb in Wales says:

      Adding ~ over the past few years we have commemorated the one hundredth anniversaries of many important dates during WWI, and also the seventieth anniversaries of important dates in WWII, so there have been many occasions of late that we have paused to remember and reflect, and to give thanks for our today. It is more important than ever that we DO NOT FORGET the sacrifices made.

      “When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
      For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”

      John Maxwell Edmunds

      • sbranch says:

        You gave me those lovely words at the perfect time Deb, I borrowed them for Twitter . . . Thank you! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      It’s 10:40 am in London… I’ll be there with you in 20 min, in spirit. xoxo

      • Deb in Wales says:

        I was watching too. There’s a strange juxtaposition today, as immediately now we have the annual Lord Mayor’s Parade just kicking off. Such joviality following the most solemn minute of the year.

        I’m touched you used those words on Twitter. I’m hugely appreciative of all WWI poets, so many tragically lost, even hours before the Armistice, and I often wonder what their literary contributions would have been post war, the directions they would have travelled, how the horrors would affect what followed.

        • sbranch says:

          I know. It’s heartbreaking. And in some ways, I think they would like a jovial parade after such a solemn moment, it’s what they fought for. xoxo

  50. Deborah in Odessa says:

    So beautiful. The best post yet. Just be your original self, share and look what happens. You touched them, taught them and they shared back. Great job. Great teacher. Great kids. Thank you.

  51. rhea says:

    Oh Susan……..tears in my eyes. That book is such a treasure and I have a feeling we’ll see it again over the years. So special. Your positive energy always rewards and comes back to you and all of us girlfriends. You still continue to inspire me in so many different ways, what a gift. The kids and I are making poppy cookies for tea and our remembrance time and this will now be a tradition in the Foley family household and will hopefully continue from generation to generation. We’re all sentimental so I’m confident it will stick. Thank you. Love you to pieces.

  52. Sue Graham says:

    A perfect lesson for the children, a perfect gift for you, Susan, and a wonderful and thoughtful teacher, Mrs. O’Brien. Well done.

  53. Megan Hyatt says:

    How marvellous to receive that parcel of letters. How you inspired them and what a wonderful teacher Mrs O’Brien is. Happy Remembrance Day to you. Lest we forget.

  54. 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.

  55. I loved this story!

    What a great job by the students, and an even better one by their insightful teacher.

    One of the most interesting parts of this post, was a sample of your handwriting Susan. It proves to me that there are no accidents. Clearly you were destined to do what you do.

    Hope you enjoy this holiday season, and keep us posted! <3

  56. Peggy says:

    Good Morning Susan!

    Perfect! Just so Perfect! What a wonderful thing this is. For the teacher to share your blog post with them, for the children to write to you to thank you for that piece of history, and for you to share their thoughts and writings with the world. This will be something these young lives will take with them forever!!! And they will, I am sure, always remember 11-11-11, on this 2017th year!!! Thanks Susan for sharing!!!!

  57. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Such a delightful post this morning! I love that Mrs. O’Brien has your calendar in her classroom and that she deemed your explanation of Remembrance Day so important! The students listened well, and thoughfully and artistically shared with you what they learned. Also, each student has a lovely name.
    I read with first grade students in the Read Aloud Delaware program, giving each student his/her own time to read out loud to another. Fun!
    Chilly here today at our beach!
    Lorie Hartsig

  58. Carolyn Rector says:

    Thank you for sharing these children’s letters with your girlfriends. You blessed them with your blog and they will remember. I loved your Armistice Day blog,too.

  59. Sandy says:

    Oh my!! I am speechless!! What a perfect example of the impact just one person, one voice, can have in this great big ol’ world. Great job Susan and great job students. God bless you all and God Bless America!!!

  60. Betsy says:

    What a beautiful gift. We need to honor the fact that they are all “Heroes”, those that gave their lives and those that still serve. These are some of the people that make our country so special. Thank you Susan. And a special thank you to the entire class.

  61. Lori Ann says:

    Love this! What a treasure you gave them and it came right back to you! #PoppyLove

  62. Rebecca says:

    Oh Susan, what a blessing that envelope was! Thank you so much for sharing that! How thoughtful of Mrs. O’Brien and her 4th grade class at Sunny Wolf Charter School to take the time to create that amazing “thank you” package to show their appreciation for your lesson on Remembrance Day. The creativity, the gratitude, the earnestness, and the downright “goodness” expressed in the package was so cheering and delightful…just like you Susan! And if you haven’t read Richard Peck’s A Year Down Yonder, I can’t recommend it enough!

    Those of you who are near the Kansas City area should make a visit (if you haven’t already) to the World War I Museum. They have simulated a Flanders Field with the poppies and the museum is very well done. We have freedom that cost others to provide for us. I join Mrs. O’Brien’s class to thank you once again for your lesson on Remembrance Day!

  63. Linda Miller says:

    Dear Susan,
    As a retired elementary teacher, I loved your sharing these students’ letters! You honored them and their lovely teacher. It’s sad that today much is passed over in order to teach skills for the “big test” at the end of the year. Learning about our national holidays and having students share their feelings creatively is immeasurable in their development! Thanks, Susan, for sharing these sweet letters and drawings….so heartfelt! And yours as well! It took me back to some of my favorite times spent teaching,
    Poppies to you!

    • sbranch says:

      There should be a new “subject” added to criteria … “What makes us human.” And the teachers could fill in those blanks creatively … Thanks of your years of service Linda!

  64. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    Today Is Veterans day I wear my poppy proudly. Thank you Susan for the reminder that freedom is never free.My husband taught school for thirty years as a second career.He loved every moment, it always warms my heart when a former student comes up to him and says remember me Mr.Lawrence? Teaching thousands of children over the years some he does forget, but he always says help me you know my memory has faded some. They hug him and tell him he has made a difference. It always warms my heart.I loved all of my teachers and will be celebrating my 50th. reunion in 2020.Have a joy filled day. Mary Elizabeth

  65. Kathleen from Philly says:

    Lovely post, lovely sentiments. Such a good lesson for adults as well as children. So true,”out of the mouths of babes”…

  66. Sharon Byars of North Carolina says:

    Adorable children and letters. I have been noticing on the BBC everyone wears the red poppy . Love the way they look on everyone’s clothing. Such HISTORY!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve got mine on. I’m wearing painting clothes, which isn’t a pretty sight, but VERY comfortable, and quite perky with my red poppy smack in the middle of it all!

  67. Maureen Trostel says:

    Dear dear Susan, Wow, I just realized you are 3 days older than I. My birth date is Feb. 10, 1947! That being said there is such richness there and you have retained your love of your childhood in so many ways. Such a depth of understanding the heart of children and also the wisdom of the years as they pass, all too quickly I might add!
    All of us have so many gifts to share on our journey and now that my husband and I are enjoying 8 grandchildren, ages from 11 to 6, the wonder of life is revealing itself in many ways!
    I was lucky enough to get to see you at Titcomb’s bookstore in Sandwich, Mass. this past summer and hung on your every word. Also had a little conversation with Joe as I snuck upstairs to view their books, it was just he and I enjoying the moment. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with all who are reaping the benefits. in so many ways!! Peace to you, Maureen Trostel

    • sbranch says:

      Actually, I hate to break it to you, you were in such a good mood, but I can not tell a lie, I’m was born April 12! I’m younger! Such a rare thing around here, I can’t miss this opportunity to revel in the moment! I wrote the story of my life when I as still nine! Thank you for your sweet comments! xoxo Have a wonderful day … its sunny and freezing outside here on the Island.

  68. janice says:

    The sweetest. You just never know who is reading and listening. Mrs. O’Brien is a wonderful teacher! This was my feel good story in a week of doozies. thank you for always being so uplifting and positive.

  69. Carol on the farm in Iowa says:

    This is wonderful!

  70. Tawni Urrutia says:

    Dear Sweet Susan,
    Soooo, this is it. This is, the kryptonite that vanquishes all the ICK!
    You are such a force for good. How totally fabulous that Kari mirrored your bright light with her own to illuminate all that talent and graciousness throughout her students.
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca

  71. Anne says:

    This just made my day! What adorable, creative kids with a remarkable teacher! Goodness all around❤️👏 my faith in humanity is restored once again by reading your blog☺️ I just love the way some of the kids signed off on their letters “…..your friend, Cody” I mean ❤️
    It’s funny, after reading your Armistice day post, I see red Poppies everywhere now! Princess Kate was wearing one in a picture I saw this week. It’s almost the 11th hour here and I’ll be saying a prayer along with everyone 😍

    • sbranch says:

      Thrilled to hear that Anne . . . I’ve got mine on! We’re heading out on our walk, I will look into all the cars and see if people are wearing poppies!

  72. Zoe G. from CT says:

    This is what the world needs more of today…people reaching out and touching the lives of those around them. People caring about the past and trying to make the future bright. Thank you to all who spread the light! A special thank you to Susan, who has always and will always spread the light!

  73. Anne Miller says:

    Eleventh month, Eleventh day, Eleventh hour….Ive read accounts of the soldiers from opposing armies running from the trenches and embracing each other. I have a great uncle buried in Flanders Fields. Praying for Peace Within for ALL. Thank you, Susan, for touching the hearts of children at Sunny Wolf School and all of us.

  74. Tammy Neuls says:

    it’s always wonderful when you can touch and teach the hearts of children! in Canada we celebrate this day as Remembrance Day and is a National Holiday. we have wreaths of poppies and give donations to wear a red velvet poppy. all the donations go to Veterans and families in need. God Bless all that served for our Countries. Amen

  75. Dixie says: says:

    What a lovely gift to receive! And how wonderful that this teacher was able to take the time to work this into her busy and structured day! It seems I’m seeing more recognition of our veterans and that’s a very good thing! Thank you for a bright start to my day!

  76. Colleen says:

    Oh my goodness gracious I am sitting here sobbing……
    In my humble opinion God used you in a such a magnificent and mighty way to reach into these precious hearts and instruct. Through the only unique and sweet way you could.
    Thank you from this old gal for caring and sharing and loving and giving and believing in good.
    How precious are those letters Susan!!??????

  77. cynthia says:

    What a gift to all of us. Thank you to the wonderful children that made a treasure for you, and that you shared with us. Wow! The innocence of children can carry us all into a better place….we need more of this sharing. You ALL made my day.

  78. Ritchie Saunders says:

    This is so wonderful to see how this teacher got all of these children into learning in such an important way. We drive to Seattle usually every summer as we grew up there from LA. I have always wanted to stop in Wolf Creek as there is a B&B there that is a historical House and has a wonderful restaurant. I hope it is still there. We are always in a hurry to get to our destination so maybe next year we will try to stay there. It really is off the beaten path but there is a sign on I-5. You can find information at – I believe it was closed for awhile but is now run by Oregon State Parks. Lots of history here and a lovely area. Thank you Susan — what a special Veterans Day Tribute.

  79. Sharon in So. Calif. says:

    Bless you Susan for so inspiring us all, and Bless you Mrs. O’Brien for teaching the children from your heart, and Bless all of you 4th graders for each and every letter and drawing are true pieces of heaven on earth! Thank you All! P.S. I am making my poppy now, 🙂

  80. Christine from CA says:

    Such a wonderful letter from lovely children! I notice they are from a Charter School where there is still some freedom for teachers to really teach from the heart. The Richard Peck book is the second of two and pure delight. During the depression two children must leave their home in Chicago to stay with Grandma Dowdel!! Not just for children but for everyone! ” Down from Chicago” and A Year Down Yonder are both the books. When I was teaching we read these and student and parents loved them!!
    Thanks also for the Remembrance day reminders!!!

  81. Jennifer Lauri says:

    So very touching to read…being a pre-K teacher my respect and awe goes out to our future thinkers and leaders, and to those special people who help bring it all out to blossom. Thank you!

  82. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Wolf Creek Oregon must be a lovely place, and what a wonderful teacher in Mrs. O’Brien and wonderful children in her class. Their letters are delightful, and I love their drawings! It’s wonderful they are aspiring writers and artists, and, Susan, you must be so proud to have influenced these children so far away. I hope they will continue to follow your blog, and travel along on your adventures. They will love the trip to England next year!

    I said a prayer today at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. So thankful for all the men and women of our armed services, past and present, for their sacrifice to keep us safe and free. May God bless them all.

  83. Diana Monroe says:

    This was wonderful to read…. Thank you for sharing their stories & artwork ..Luved it!❤️👏🏻

  84. Tisa says:

    Oh! Now they are “published” authors and will never forget the thrill of excitement at seeing their words & artwork on your website! I remember the feeling I got in high school when my writing was first published in our local Arroyo Grande newspaper, for whom I went on to write. Now they’ve got their first start! Yay!

  85. Cyndy Szarzynski says:

    Dear Susan,

    I did not know where to write to you, but this seems like the easiest place for me.

    INSPIRATION – You truly are an inspiration to everyone, not only children, but to everyone!

    I just finished reading Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Actually, I just about just started it, too, as I could not put in down. Page one had me. I wish I had read this book 30 years ago, but then it was only published in 2016. I did not know if I would finish it because of my health. I am diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (I am only 62) and each day is a blessing. I am glad that I was able to finish this tremendous book – it is a wonderful guide – one which would have helped me over the years. INSPIRATIONAL only begins to describe its value. I am now passing this book along to my adult daughter (29). I know she will find it as amazing as I have, and she still has time to apply your words of positive insightfulness and compassion. The recipes and artwork are fabulous. I was glad to find out that a potato pancake is actually made almost completely from potatoes. My Mother use to put grated potatoes in regular pancake batter, and as a kid, I could not stomach it. But, your Butternut Bisque will always be our family favorite. We just harvested 30 butternut squashes yesterday, prior to last night’s freeze, for that recipe alone.

    I have many other of your books in my collection (I initially started collecting for the artwork alone)…right next my Gladys Taber gems, so I know my daughter will be supported with helpful, thoughtful, and caring words.

    Many thanks for sharing your life with all of your friends and followers.

    Love to you. God bless.


    • sbranch says:

      Cyndy, I’m writing through tears. What lovely words you just shared. Thank you so much. I wrote that book FOR your daughter, 29 feels grown up, but as you know, there is still a long way to go. I hope you are getting the love and care you need to get through this difficult time, something we will all face, but you are right, you are much too young. All my love and blessings are flying directly from my heart to yours, I hope you can feel them. Eat a potato pancake, savor every bite, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, use all the butter you want. Life is for the living. 💞

    • chris consentino says:

      dearest Cyndy, I will add my prayers to so many others. I tend to pray to “less-well-known” saints in these situations….in Catholic rel., St. Peregrine is “patron saint” of cancer patients. soooo, I will petition him for care & prayer & help & comfort for you & your daughter & family. tho it is not easy, try to take heart & keep faith. update us when you are able. we all care….and hope you can strongly feel that. HUGS!!!!!

  86. FayE in CA! says:

    Susan, what a wonderful SURPRISE and gift from Mrs. O’Brien and her students…a lovely book to display in a special place. I can feel the pride and anticipation that the students felt when the book was mailed. AND! See the smiles when Mrs. O’Brien shares this Blog!!!

    Susan, you are an example back to the students by posting their writings/artwork because you continued to teach them by modeling another important act…to express personal thanks for unexpected joys that come to us. This post is a GIANT thank you note to each and every student and Mrs. O’Brien. Sadly, handwritten thank you notes are dying along with cursive!

    Loved the poppies in this post. The students’ poppies would make wonderful embroidery squares to embroider then piece together into a remembrance wall hanging! Could be a redwork piece!

    Students…each and every one of your poppies are BEAUTIFUL. Your book is a beautiful garden of VERY special poppies and all of Mrs. Branch’s girlfriends are delighted to share your thoughts, art and kind hearts. You have given Mrs. Branch a gift that she will treasure forever!

    Your fourth grade class is very lucky to have a teacher who inspires each of you to be thoughtful, grateful and artistic. It was SO kind that your book was mailed to Mrs. Branch. Thank you, Mrs. O’Brien, for your classroom’s gift to all of us! We appreciate your time and efforts to help root youthful seeds into caring adults who will tend our societal garden with respectful and giving hearts.

    Susan, it was SO loving of you to continue paying their work forward by taking the time to post all of their writings for us to enjoy.

    Susan, Mrs. O’Brien and students…

    You put a capital P on Poppy
    you’ve made it POP
    it’s not just art
    it’s heart and thought!!

    You put the capital P on Poppy
    and seeded our hearts
    to remember the loss…
    to respect the loss 💔

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely FayE xoxo Isn’t it wonderful what gratitude can spur . . . and how far it can reach, and the foundation it can put down.

  87. Tam says:

    The hearts of children, still believe in believing. Precious. All good.

  88. Elaine in Bradenton, FL says:

    Really sweet……..

  89. Lori Hamilton says:

    Reading this led to another kind of remembrance for me ~ 35 years of teaching. First Kindergarten, then first grade and the last 8 years bouncing back and forth in 4th and 5th grades.

    I loved doing the creative stuff and for many years was celebrated for it. The last 6 years I taught it was considered “fluff” (and that’s a quote). I was literally told by my administration in a huff of frustration to “Just teach what’s on the test!!”

    I knew my days were numbered.

    Kudos to Mrs. O’Brien!

    As the mother of an active Army captain, I thank you for your blog and the focus you put on this day. Remembrance and history are important. Happy Veteran’s Day!

  90. Nancy says:

    Awesome! How precious are those beautiful 4th Graders! You received quite a treasure! Thanks for sharing!

  91. Anita Ramsey ~ the cabin on the creek says:

    This is beyond sweet & completely charming! Childhood…we adults have a lot to learn!

  92. Debra Matheney says:

    I remember as a child seeing poppies pinned to everyone’s clothing and the excitement of getting mine. I felt a part of something outside of myself as everyone joined together to remember our veterans. WWII was not that far in the past in my childhood. My father had been a captain in the Army on the European front. He took me to the parade, a special time for us together, each year.
    What a wonderful thing the class sent you.

    • sbranch says:

      You’re so right, a great point: feeling a part of something bigger than ourselves … a way to bring us together in solidarity. xoxo

  93. Elaine Anne says:

    Dear Susan, Children are our sweetest blessing. They express themselves in such a wondrous and unselfish way which is reflected in their artwork. A good teacher is worth her weight in gold, we could use a lot more good teachers. I think you are a teacher too Susan, a teacher of all things HAPPY. Thank you for another heartfelt story. I observed Remembrance Day Poppy Day) in England right up until 1994, when I left and came to live in America. I have since been home a few times to share in the local parade of Servicemen and to honor those who lost their lives in World War II, and in the early 90’s a few Veterans from the First World War were proudly participating in the March -By, and Royal Air Force fighter planes would fly in formation overhead sending shivers down my spine. These days I’m rarely home on November 11th but my sister saves a poppy for me to wear.

  94. Mary Ellen says:

    Loved this post! Reminded me of why I loved teaching for so many years. It was fun to read the sweet letters and how I miss the job I retired from. 💕
    Thank you for sharing!

  95. Sandra says:

    God bless the children! We owe our veterans our freedom…from George Washington to present; cannot remember nor say ‘thank you’ enough!

  96. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you to Mrs. O’Brien and her wonderful students for their thoughts and drawings, and thank you Susan for sharing them with us. We remember those who have served, those serving now and those who will serve in the future….we also remember their families who share with dignity, their loved ones with the nation. We will remember.

  97. Sue Michels says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us. Mrs. O Brien is a very special teacher and those children will love and remember her. I am a retired teacher and while I am enjoying retirement, I miss the children – their love of learning new things and how they love to share what they know with you. My third graders made me a very special “retirement book” as a parting gift when I retired and I treasure that very special book. Thanks so much for all that you share with us in your blogs. I really look forward to reading them.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for all that you did to inspire your children Sue … teachers are so important. Some of them spend more one-on-one time with the kids than their working parents can do!

  98. Mary/Indiana says:

    Totally Awesome!
    Awesome for you
    Awesome for the kids
    And Awesome for the teacher whose 4th grade class Learned a lot!

  99. Susie says:

    This will mean the world to those children, that you took the time to comment and share their hard work. Made me miss being in the classroom.

  100. Ellen Eastman says:

    Susan, this is wonderful. Not too many people remember Armistice Day. My dad used to sell poppies through his veterans group. A few years ago there they were outside the grocery store! Of course I bought one. Wolf Creek is a charming little area just north of me. There are green tree covered mountains, hills and valleys. In the winter clouds sit the the valleys as if hiding some mystery.

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