Life not all about dollars and cents

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Life not all about dollars and cents

Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013   |  1025 Words  |  

A lot of college students hold part-time jobs to have a little change in their pocket. It was no different for me when I was a student in Columbia, as having spending money meant I got to ride the bus rather than walk home. It also meant being able to have an occasional lunch at the Alben Restaurant.

Robert and Esther Qualls Moran were professors at Allen University and the parents of one child, Bobby. It was an honor to be chosen by my professors to babysit. Bobby was a good child, and he began to consider me as his sister, a relationship we kept throughout his high school and college days and his career as a sports editor for a newspaper in Arizona.

The going rate for babysitting during the 1950s was 50 cents an hour, and whenever I was called to duty, I would begin figuring just how much my pay would be. One time, the Morans asked whether I would be available to babysit for a Friday evening through the next afternoon. I immediately began calculating the money I would make. Gosh, I not only could eat at the Alben Restaurant, but I probably would be able to ride the bus more than one day that week.

When the job was over and the envelope delivered to me, I was surprised to find that I was not paid by the hour, but rather for the job as a whole. I was thankful, but it was less money than I expected. Goodbye bus ride. I still ate an extra lunch at the restaurant.

I was bothered about that weekend pay situation for quite a while -- even though the Morans considered me the daughter they never had. However, the money still was more than I had the day before, so there was no quitting. I continued to babysit until I moved on to Columbia Hospital in the dietary department.

The Morans moved to Baton Rouge, La., and became professors there. I later did my post-graduate studies at Southern University, also in Baton Rouge.

Two of us from South Carolina, Ivorie George Lowe and I, bonded with three students from Mississippi: Mildred Sutton, Ida Pearl Minor and Vera Hayden. The Morans invited all of us to attend church services with them on Sundays. When we discovered that a meal and television-watching were part of the deal, well, there was no trouble at all in not being able to sleep in on Sundays. The warm atmosphere of being "like home" meant so much to us.

The Morans were my family throughout my studies at Southern University. Because my husband was in graduate school in New York, my parents were keeping our children (two at that time), and they were unable to attend my graduation. But my Moran family was there.

The moral of the story: Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. Blind eyes and greed could have caused me to lose the warmth of a wonderful relationship.

Sitting at the table in Baton Rouge was just like sitting at home. The good food from a good cook and the encouragement from caring professors taught me to pass the torch, just like it had been passed to me -- just as I pass recipes to you.

Esther's Punch

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1 cup sugar

1 quart ginger ale

Add the orange juice to the sugar and let stand several hours. Add the ginger ale and serve with cracked ice. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Source: Ervena's recipe file

Pineapple Raisin Bread

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cup milk

3 cups flour

6 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup seedless raisins

3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Cream shortening and sugar, add beaten egg and milk. Add flour mixed and sifted with baking powder and salt. With one tablespoon of flour, flour the raisins and the drained pineapple; add these to the batter. Bake in a greased loaf pan in a moderate oven at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.

Makes one loaf.

Source: Ervena's recipe file

Shrimp Chili

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 stick margarine

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 large bell peppers, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste

2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans chopped tomatoes

1 (10-oz.) can tomato soup

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon file

1 teaspoon sweet basil

2 1/2 pounds boiled shrimp, finely chopped

1/2 pound very small whole shrimp

Cooked rice or pasta, optional

In oil and margarine, saute the garlic, bell pepper, onion, celery, green onion, and basil until tender. Add salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer over a low heat until the gravy is smooth, at least 30 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until the whole shrimp are done.

Serve by itself or over pasta.

Makes: 8

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