Back to School Memories: Aurora’s School Bus Rules and Grandma Esther’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

Aurora’s School Bus Rules and Grandma Esther’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

My daughter, right before the first kindergarten field trip I was to chaperone, took my face in her two small hands and very seriously said almost these exact words to me. 


From school today young Aurora came home.
“Tomorrow” she said, “Mom you’re our field trip chaperone.”
To her this was a very serious affair, so I listened with a great deal of care.
“My teacher today at our school, told us all about bus safety rules.”
She narrowed her eyes those rules to tell,
“First on a bus you can’t ever yell.”
“You can’t chew gum or even eat, and
You have to keep you’re bottom down on the bus seat.
You can’t throw stuff,
Not ever play rough.
You can’t sing loud,
Four in a seat is considered a crowd.
Keep your hands to yourself,
You cannot spit.
Or else with the teacher you’ll have to sit.
You must always keep on your shoes,
Naughty words, mom, you cannot use.
No cowlicks, tickling or belly button pokes.
Mom, teacher is already tired of Knock-knock jokes.
You can’t bring toys,
Girls never kiss boys!
The teacher is a person that you can trust.
Mom, I just know you’ll get kicked off of my bus!”
September l994

Grandma Esther’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

It is back to school time! Some of the kids are excited, some are dreading it. At my house we always had one of each. Our daughter loved school and our son would have cheerfully stayed home forever. Eventually, he did get the hang of it, with a lot of  coaching and support from my daughter in-law, he completed a masters in Chemistry and is now a senior research scientist at Mayo Clinic. Our daughter will be finishing up her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Illinois next spring.

Our family had several back to school traditions. My son always asked for a “last meal.” His choice was always a full turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and the whole nine yards.

Our daughter and I always had a great time shopping for those new school clothes. I loved it! It was like having my own Barbie Doll to dress.

Another tradition in our home was  warm homemade cookies when you got off of that school bus. Sometimes I would meet the bus at the curb and treat all of the neighborhood children. One of their favorite cookies was my Grandmother Esther’s Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles are a chewy rich buttery cookie that is rolled in cinnamon. When you bake them, your home will be filled with a sweet spicy scent that shouts it’s Fall, great job today at school and I love you very much!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Two ungreased cookie sheets

In a large bowl cream together with and electric mixer:

1 cup soft shortening (½ butter)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs

Sift together then add:
2 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix until thoroughly combined. Roll cookie dough into small walnut-sized balls.
Roll the cookie dough balls in a mixture of:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Completely coat the cookies in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.
Place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until they flatten out and are just starting to turn light brown, but still soft. (This cookies puff up, then flatten out).
Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies.


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