Let me introduce myself. My name is Carol Smith. I have cooked all my life. Until I was in high school, I was the second hand in the kitchen to my mother. Actually, I did the things she didn’t like to do. This included peeling potatoes, making cornbread, and setting the table as well as cleaning up (as expected).
When I was a junior in high school my mother was gone for six weeks to take care of my grandfather. That meant that all of the household chores were up to me. My first meals left a lot to be desired. I really didn’t know how to make everything come out at the same time. So things got stuck on the back burners while I finished others. Remember, there were no microwaves in those days. Eventually I learned and could turn out a decent meal.
My mother’s father was a baker and owned a bakery in Bristow and later one in Tahlequah. I was very fortunate because my maternal grandparents lived with us while I was young.
I watched my Grandmother make a well in the dry ingredients and gently pull in the surrounding flour to make biscuits. I was amazed as I smelled the angel food cake as she took it out of the oven. It was her skill that started me on the road to a lifelong love of cooking.
My happiest times have been cooking for a large group of family and friends. Church potluck dinners also were favorites of mine. “First one in the kitchen and last one out” is a very accurate description of me and I loved it.
The Other Parts of My Life
I grew up the eldest of 3 children in a family of educators. As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. I was never even tempted to consider anything else.
My teaching career began at the age of 20 immediately after receiving my B.S. degree in Business Education. In order to please my father (whom I adored and admired), I also earned enough hours to qualify for a teaching certificate for elementary students – grades up through 8th grade.
I taught business subjects – everything from shorthand to bookkeeping, typing to office machines. I quickly learned that if you taught business in Oklahoma, you were going to be given the school newspaper and yearbook to sponsor.
As I worked on my master’s degree in business, I also took classes in journalism so that I became certified in a field that I was already teaching.
The first ten years saw me changing positions every couple of years as I climbed the ladder to better positions. After teaching in junior colleges for about 7 years, I changed back to high school. I had become the single mother of an adopted infant son and needed to concentrate on more than just my career.
It was in this later part of the ’70s that I wrote a grant for a program in vocational graphic arts teaching offset printing from photography to press work. I still taught journalism giving us the opportunity to try different things because we did the whole production.
I watched as computers started to enter the education world and decided it was time to enter that arena. Back to school to earn that certificate that allowed me to teach. This period wound up with me being heavily involved in the computer programs for the schools – mostly involving Apples and concentrating on support programs for grades 4 through 8.
After I retired from teaching in public schools, I continued to teach business and computer classes at the college level. I also spent three rewarding years teaching computer applications and business at a local Job Corps.
After moving to Bartlesville to care for my mother, I opened my own business – The Office Specialist. I did bookkeeping, word processing, tax preparation, and ran a answering service.
A jack-of-all-trades wouldn’t you say?