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 thought I would just photograph the whole book to share with you. 💞

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. 💖

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. ~Del Gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    You were sent MUCH love by the “seeds of the future.”
    !Happy Day!
    Thank you for sharing all this wonderful greatness~

  2. Judy in Oregon says:

    Wonderful post and Musica, so perfect for today. What a special book they have made for you and thank you for sharing it. I absolutely love reading a child’s perspective on life as many times they make more sense than the adults.

    • sbranch says:

      I have full faith in the hearts of children…they just know things, and what they know could rule the world. I wish. xoxo

  3. Amy Lee from Salem says:

    What a beautiful gift you have received from lovely Oregon children. So wonderful you can share it with all of us as well.

  4. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    How very sweet and charming! My granddaughter is in fourth grade, and it is a wonderful age, still innocent and filled with wonder. When one of her letters shows up in my mailbox, it is a red letter day! Once when she was smaller I said, don’t grow any more till I see you again. She looked at me with a little bit of worry and said – well, I’ll try. LOL Thank you for sharing all your wonderful letters! So special.

  5. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Absolutely precious!

  6. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Dear Susan,
    It’s almost 11PM on Veterans Day, the first time I’ve had a chance to look at my emails (annual church holiday fair today took all my hours and energy). But I am so very glad I made it here tonight, to read your post with the wonderful, charming, thoughtful, and beautifully written and illustrated letters from Mrs. O’Brien’s 4th grade class. They–and your thoughts–really made my day. I’m so glad she shared your thoughts and pictures with her kids, what they learned from you will stay with them.

    Mrs. O’Brien, if you haven’t returned the kids’ letters yet, see if you can make a copy of each child’s letter. If Wolf Creek is small enough, you may be able to give/send each child a copy of his/her letter when they graduate high school. My fourth grade teacher sent us a letter we had written in her class when we graduated, and it was very special. The Poppy letters are important reminders of what is truly valuable in life, and those high-schoolers heading out into the wide world will take something with them as a personal guide.

    Susan, thank you again, and bless you for an uplifting end to my day. Hugs to you and yours, Signing off at just about 11pm, on 11-11-17. Rosemary

  7. Rose Ann Bacher-giallombardo says:

    It’s the end of the day and I read your blog just in time to remember the true meaning of veterans day. “Hope” 🙂 Susan, you are a gift to all the little children and a wonderful role model along with their very special teacher. Peace and blessings always.

  8. Shelley says:

    What a priceless book to receive from these wonderful boys and girls! I smiled as I read the book with your comments and I’m smiling as I write to you! Thank you for sharing these beautiful letters, Susan!

  9. Martha says:

    So cute and touching! Budding artists at such a young age. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Marie says:

    We carry the torch and remember those who gave so much for our freedom. It is wonderful to see that this is being passed on to the next generation. What a beautiful and thoughtful gift.

  11. njean says:

    Oh my,in the eyes of children. They should be sweet and innocent. I have seven grandchildren ages 22-5. I save anything they have colored or written. Soooo heartwarming. Thank you for this post.

    • sbranch says:

      I think my mom saved about 15 things that I did. Letters to my grandma, drawings, and other bits and pieces. They are treasures to me.

  12. Kerry S. from Nolensville, TN says:

    What a wonderful gift to you in thanks for the gift of knowledge that you gave to them!! This was one of the most heart-warming pieces I’ve read in a long time. Thank you for giving this veteran (and the wife of a veteran as well) a terrific boost this weekend!
    Best wishes to all!!

  13. Susan P. says:

    What s special blog to wake to up this Sunday morning!! I love the innocents of children. And as you said “don’t grow up too fast” so true… We should all keep that child in us… well I will speak for myself. I have kept that child in me …and it makes a different in how I see the I go about my daily life…and how I enjoy each season and special moments. There are days that I just want to go back to my childhood bed and just lay on my grandma’s quilt and read and stare out the window and some times just cry. It brings a peace to me.
    Well I must tell you…I was motivated and inspired by you to get a project done. I have my Poppy picture that I told you about from Gygi (great artist) and I finally gathered all the pictures of my relatives that have served through the years and not all of them are framed yet..but they will be and they all have a special wall in my Serendipity room, with the Poppy at the top. Now when my little ones come into”OUR” special room I will tell them the story that is so very important to remember!! Thank you for all that you do and share with so many. Love, Susan P.

  14. Mary Nolan-Fesmire says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful book. A great reminder of the ‘good’ in our world. God Bless our service people and our vets.

    • sbranch says:

      I think the TV news has to talk about GIANT things, maybe that’s what blogs are for, to tell the little things that make the world a beautiful place.

  15. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    This has made me think of my fourth grade year. Our teacher was Miss Johnson, a lovely young woman, fresh out of college, and teaching her first year. We had some real ruffians in the class who made it quite difficult for her. I, of course, was a model student, heh!

    One young boy, Vincent (I can’t remember his last name), was particularly difficult. Not long after, he and a friend broke into a warehouse in town and Vincent fell off a cat-walk, sustaining a serious head injury. Afterward, he was brain damaged and then attended school for “special” students. I don’t know whatever happened to him.

    And that year my good friend, Vickie, died when their house burned down. Her Mom and older brother also died; her Dad and older sister survived. It was very sad, and our whole class walked downtown to St Mary’s Church for the funeral. That is the church where Ethel Skakel had married Robert Kennedy several years before.

    For the rest of my school years, I remained classmates and friends with the children in my fourth grade class. Some moved away, some went on to private schools, and others moved into our town and joined us. At our High School reunions, it has been fun to see and catch up with many of them.

    As far as I know, after that year Miss Johnson never returned to teaching.

    • sbranch says:

      That is a very sad story. Too much sadness for a fourth grader or even for someone 62 years past 12. 😥 I hope your teacher came back!

      • Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

        It was very sad, and I often think of Vickie and so many of my friends from back then. Many have now passed on. Am I getting maudlin because the holidays are coming and I miss so many we have lost? Let’s appreciate all we have and cherish our memories.

        I like to think Miss Johnson married a handsome young man and raised a lovely family … and never had to teach another day!

  16. Barbara Chadwick says:

    So Wonderful! Thank you for sharing with us!

  17. Kate says:

    Thank you children and Mrs. O’Brien and Susan for making us all remember all the men and women who have given so much for our country. We really need to start the tradition of wearing poppies on Veteran’s Day again. This was a wonderful post and all you children are so talented and thoughtful. You are going to grow up to be wonderful adults.

  18. Antonia lutz says:

    I hope for peace in all nations✌

  19. Kitty Muse says:

    Thank you for sharing this very special gift you received. My wish is that all of these children will always share their hearts as they have with you this Veteran’s Day. Peace to all… Kitty

  20. Lisa Hay says:

    I’m just now getting to this and loooove it! Such a special package you received. It’s so nice to see this happening in school. With so much focus on testing this is a bright spot! 🙂 I love that you kept your schoolwork. I have mine too! Thanks to my Mom!

  21. Terry says:

    Hi Susan!
    That is so beautiful! I am sure Mrs. O’Brien will show her students this amazing blog post, and you will touch those kids with your kind and caring words.

  22. Paula Clark says:

    Oh Susan, this was such a beautiful post. I just read it today, as my 9 year old granddaughter who is in the 4th grade spent the weekend with me. I don’t like to spend time on the comp. when she is here, but I so wish I had seen this so I could share it with her! Next time! What a lovely thing for the teacher and children to do for you. I love their open loving minds and hearts. I also read every one of them and enjoyed the drawingsjust as much. I love art and it is so interesting to me to see in the 4th graders work all of their original thoughts and ideas, just inspiring and special. My granddaughter did a drawing to send in to American Girl Magazine, and I was enjoying those things in her drawing and now this. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Thank you to the whole class and I am so glad they learned about the importance of honoring and remembering those that fought for us all. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      When my two nieces were little, I immersed them in American Girl dolls and goodies. It was probably way more fun for me than it was for them, but I just loved that whole story of those dolls. We went to the tea room in Chicago (Joe and I) … was darling.

  23. Lucia Ann France-Bryant says:

    Thanks to you and the wonderful teacher of that inventive 4th grade class. Those kids will remember this experience with you for the rest of their lives. Hopefully they will tell others about Armistice Day.

  24. Gale Puffenberger says:

    What a beautiful treasure of a gift! When I had breast cancer 15 years ago, a little girl from our Sunday School asked her school class to pray for me at chapel time. Her dear teacher had all her students make me get well cards. It blessed my heart so much when I opened up that envelope and read all the prayers and good wishes from those sweet children. I have kept those cards all these years.
    Children are so loving when we give them the opportunity. Thanks for sharing this story!

    • sbranch says:

      That must have felt like a million bucks! I think their creative spirits are so fresh from heaven and free of personal judgement they are the epitome of what the word means. Nurture nurture nurture is all I can say!

  25. Sherri Fabbri says:

    That’s so nice that you get letters from the children! Not to change the subject, but thinking of children and adults who love Peter rabbit, I just saw a great trailer for the Peter rabbit movie coming in March 2018! It looks wonderful the characters are exactly like they look in the books they are computer animated type and very realistic. It looks like a great fun story and it’s English! They always do things so well! I thought you might want to know this Susan, I am so excited! 🐰❣️

  26. Jennie Lou says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational experience. See, the world isn’t going to heck in a hand-basket after all.
    Blessings to all. I am grateful for being part of this kind and generous community of kindred spirits.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, LOL, I wouldn’t go so far to say that! 😜 But there are very beautiful things going on when we look. Thank you Jennie Lou, we love having you. xoxo

  27. Lynn says:

    This is my most favorite post ever. You have touched the next generation. WOW!

  28. Kathie from IL says:

    I love that children wrote you letters and sent you pictures of poppies. Thanks for sharing with us. I had a stroke and coma about a year ago. For over 6 months I have been workinking doing lots of physical therapy. GreT News is that I am able to take a few steps😊🎉🎉 if you are giving away anything I hope you enter my name😊😊

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you Kathie! I’m sure you’ve worked very hard. Congratulations and keep going! Each time I do a giveaway you have to come and leave a comment, that’s the only way that our “Random Winner Generator,” better known in this neck of the woods as “Vanna” ~ knows from whom to choose! So check back in . . . it’s always announced on the blog. xoxo

  29. Amy says:

    Just precious! We never know what we will say or do that will make an impact?! We hope it will always be positive as your words and pictures have affected these littles. What a gift. An aside…I adore Richard Peck stories! If you are an audio book person you really should listen to them! The reader is tremendous! He makes you want to snuggle up in your favorite blanket with something warm to drink and your furry love tucked up under your arm…Promise!

  30. Nora says:

    This post made my heart sing! Thank you for sharing all those wonderful letters and pictures from the children.
    “Sometimes”, said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in our heart.”
    My heart is full. Let’s make this a great day and a fabulous week! Bless

  31. Amy says:

    This is so very special! Thank you Mrs. O’Brien for encouraging your lovely class to write letters and draw such beautiful poppies! And thank you Susan for sharing these wonderful masterpieces…this is how we learn. I shared this blog with my daughter Friday after she and her school had finished doing a Veterans Day performance to honor our Veterans. She was very impressed! We had not ever heard of wearing poppies or the story behind them…next year we will be ready! Thank you again for sharing. Blessings to you all!

  32. Maureen says:

    So Delightful!

  33. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    Many, many years from now, these children will tell their children (or their students, because great teachers inspire children to become teachers) about the year they learned about the poppies and those who died to preserve our freedom. What a wonderful way for them to learn about history, while using their own creativity, their own words! And now, they all want handwriting like yours (I have been coveting your handwriting for over 30 years!).

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, so funny to imagine that you could grow up and make a living on handwriting! Who would believe it! Thank you Kathy!

  34. Judi Davis says:

    Susan, do you have a list of the various songs that you post for “musica” in your newsletters? I would so love to make a playlist from them. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Sorry Judi, I don’t have a list . . . They’re just in my head and when I do a post I pick one that I love and find it on YouTube.

  35. Susan Martin says:

    This gives me hope for the future!

    Thank you for sharing.


  36. Melissa Houston says:

    This is why I teach! I love this post! Thank you, Susan and blessings on this season of remembrance.

  37. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook. I never knew this, and I think it’s important that we all know it:

    Ever wonder why Veterans’ Day is on the 11 and does not change? World War I ended on the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month.

    Today I saw a man selling poppies stop a lady and asked if he could re-position her poppy. While doing so he told her she should wear the poppy on her right side: the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn’t have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much.

    The leaf should be positioned at 11 o’clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that World War I formally ended. He was worried that younger generations wouldn’t understand this, and his generation wouldn’t be around for much longer to teach them.

    • sbranch says:

      And one more thing I learned . . . after the war ended, the soil in Flanders Field had been so disturbed by the battle that when the following spring came, the fields burst forth in a sea of red poppies.

  38. Cindy Brosh says:

    Dear Susan, I am a grief and trauma therapist in Washington State, and I have had the honor of working with fallen soldier families over the years. It means so much to these families that the sacrifices they and their children have made are honored in this way. It truly feels life giving. I think when we remember we are sharing just a tiny amount in their grief and making their lives a little bit lighter on that day. Thank you for sharing about the poppies and for your beautiful newsletter every month. It is a delight and so are you! Cindy

  39. Brenda says:

    I hope it’s true in the United States as it is in Canada, that every teacher in every grade does something similar to what Mrs. O’Brien did here. All grades learn about Remembrance Day (as it’s called in Canada) and schools have Remembrance Day ceremonies often with Legion members in attendance. We do not forget. Your inspiration for these children is wonderful.

    • sbranch says:

      I think here it’s more up to the teacher … I only know about Kari and her kids because they wrote to tell me … but I think something like this happens in many schools. When I was in school, we were always taught about it. Here, November 11th is Veteran’s Day, we have parades too, and lay a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier, but that little spot of red I saw in England, worn for two weeks before the day, and even after the day, was much better publicity ~ along with tons of money in donations for the vets ~ and reminder of their service.

  40. Janet says:

    I remember my mom calling it Rememberance Day. Years ago a gentleman would be giving Poppy flowers on Veterans day in front of the grocery store.
    I grew up in Long Beach, CA also.
    Thank you for your beautiful words and writings!

  41. Trace says:

    Thank you Dear Susan for sharing these treasures with us all.
    It made me smile all over.
    Truly made my day.

  42. JULIE says:


  43. Ann says:

    An earlier comment from Barbara Irvine about the “rules” of wearing a poppy was so interesting and prompted me to try and find out where exactly the rules originated. I visited a website of the VA and discovered that while proper protocol for wearing poppies was not mentioned, poppies were actually worn on Memorial Day rather than Veterans Day, along with some other interesting information. Over the weekend I saw photos of the royal family wearing their poppies and all were placed on the left side. Perhaps that is the proper placement in England? In the end, in the U.S. maybe it doesn’t really matter where or when the poppies are worn but just that they are worn so that all Veterans are honored on either day? Or, like the American flag, maybe we should know the rules of placement. I think I’ll do some more research!
    Thank you for sharing the letters and artwork from the children; their teacher is a gem.

    • sbranch says:

      Honestly I don’t think it matters, just as long as you support the vets, buy a poppy, and wear it to show your support. I think you could put it in your hair if you wanted to! But I’m my father’s daughter and a bit of an outlaw when it comes to rules! And yes, our American Legion has just this year decided that Poppy Day should be at Memorial Day. I’m an outlaw, but on the other side of that coin, I love tradition. The Poppy came from Flanders Field, that was WWI, Armistice day, Remembrance Day, is 11-11-11 … and I kind of think it should have stayed that way! But again, as long as we do it, that’s the important thing.

  44. Rosemary Thomas says:

    I loved reading each of those letters to you, even though it is past Armistice Day. What a wonderful teacher to show them your lesson on that special time of remembering. I have been so taken with the poppies and the significance of them and also the seemingly importance of so many people wearing them in Great Britain. It would not hurt for our country to have such a symbol to wear all over the country. The Royals in England lend their participation to the events which shows from the top down the importance of remembering. There is something to be said for the formal traditions to remind us of the history. The news in our country seems to reflect a total breakdown of morality….of people who should be the best of the best. Sorry…I get a little anxiety ridden…Thank goodness for the Susan Branch who has the right attitude.

    • sbranch says:

      I agree completely, adults behaving badly setting a terrible example, other adults supporting it. Such behavior leads to hopelessness, and then where are we? So we just have to keep fighting back, for what is good and clean and honorable ~ there are more of us than there are of them. I also agree, traditions are a foundation, all societies need a foundation of history, honoring and remembering what our ancestors made for us. Learning from them how to make it better. Deep breath Rosemary, in my meditation the other day a little voice told me “you aren’t in charge of the world.” It was a revelation! xoxo

  45. Kari says:

    Dear Susan,
    I showed the blog post this morning before any other work! It was so magical! The children were truly happy and smiling and shyly surprised when they recognized their writing and drawings on the internet! They congratulated each other as if they had won an Olympic Medal. They laughed when I read the name of your fourth grade teacher and cheered when I read ‘to go nice and slow and to not to grow up too fast!!’ They felt like a million bucks!

    The children were floating on air to read your words below their pictures and something really special…one of my students is so very shy and often times confidence escapes her. If she answers a question it is usually in a whisper…well, some of the pictures didn’t have their names written on them and when I asked the class who drew the picture with the people on horses in the field with poppies, her response was unbelievable!! She raised her hand and said louder than ever before, “That is mine!”. It was just precious and she felt so proud. Thank you for this too!

    After our class viewing of your blog, the students asked if we could take a field trip to your house, but I let them know how far it would be to walk and that our bus had to be back by nightfall 🙂 However, we will keep checking in with you and learning about all of your adventures and writing about ours. The classroom glowed today as the children felt the treasure of a whole new world, a world full of kind words and good people. The world full of Susan Branch and Girlfriends from all over the world who wrote such wonderful words and spoke directly to us all. We can never be grateful enough for all of the goodness! Thank you to all, with all of our love! Kari (Mrs. O’Brien) XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      So wonderful Kari … everyone has loved what you and the kids did. So very special. Total inspiration! I was such a sponge in those 9 to 12 years, they set me up as sponge-persona for life. You fed them something outside the box. There’s a world in that. Keep doing what you do. You make us all proud. XOXO See you around the blog!

  46. Melanie says:

    This is so beautiful and precious! I’m sure you will treasure these letters forever. What a wonderful teacher these children have.

  47. Gloria from Wisconsin says:

    Priceless, that’s all I can say ! How precious of all these children to do what they did. I am sad to say I did not see one person with the poppies this year. I was very saddened by that. I saw them collecting for the Salvation Army and they had a darling pony ringing the bell, but still, no one selling Poppies. You brought back many memories with your beautiful pictures and way with words. I always look forward to your writings 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We had ours on, I had the one the kids made for me! But I would really rather that we all donated! The poppy drive makes SO MUCH MONEY for the vets in Britain … we could have that too! Maybe our American Legion should contract with the “Poppy Factory” in England and have them make some for us too! Thank you Gloria!

  48. Peggy says:

    This is just the best blog piece ever! How lovely! Thank you for posting the children’s work. I worked as a school secretary for 20+ years and kids are just so special. Even the ornery ones have a special glimmer inside! It was such a blessing to get to work with kids as much as I did over the years. Teachers are indeed wonderful human beings overall and can, and do, make such a difference. Just lovely! That book is a special treasure for you. Anytime you are having a bad day, you just need to look at that book!

  49. Patricia Edde says:

    What a wonderful teacher Mrs. O Brian must be and how very special for you to have received all of those thoughts for Veteran’s Day from her students that you helped to inspire.
    Thanks to your previous blog, I remembered to stop at 11:00 on November 11th, put my hand over my heart, send a prayer out to all who have fought and are still fighting for our country and then observe a moment of silence. I was looking at a picture of my father in his navy uniform as I did this. My dad was in the Navy in the South Pacific during WW2. He never talked about it and unfortunately, I never thought to ask. He passed at the young age of 68 so it is too late to have that conversation now, but I so wish I had. We didn’t talk to much about our feelings in my family. Maybe many of that generation didn’t but it is such a loss when parents don’t encourage “from the heart talk” with their children. My uncle Vernon was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed and he would not talk about it with anyone. What emotional pain he must have lived with. I guess my deepest sorrow is with the Vietnam vets who experienced the same (or worse) atrocities but came back, not to cheers and parades, but to “boos” and condemnation. I think every serviceman should meet on the field of war, not with guns, but with golden retrievers and between all of the slobbery kisses and joyous jumping, war would come to an end. Just a thought. Thanks always for the shares Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      I love your golden retriever idea!!! My kind of war, slobbery kisses! And yes, so sad for Viet Nam Vets, I don’t imagine we can ever make it up to them. Their own generation was young and way to judgmental at the time and thought they were doing good to bring the boys home by demonstrating against the war, but it ended up being heaped on the warrior. Just a very sad episode in our history. Never again. xoxo

  50. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi, Susan, What a wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift from the children at Sunny Wolf school. What a great teacher they have for helping them become aware of why we celebrate Veterans’ Day. We have the flag from my dear FIL’s casket in our living room. Fortunately, he was one of the lucky ones and came home from WW2. He served his country and many of my friend’s dads did also. All gave some, some gave all. The last time I saw those lovely poppies was when some gentlemen from the VFW were collecting donations and handing them out at one of the local grocery stores.
    Have a lovely Fall day! Regards to Joe and kitty cat Jack. Love, Karen xo

  51. Lynn from Simi says:

    Dear Susan – Armistice Day marks the END of World War I, not the beginning. The treaty to stop the fighting – the Armistice – was signed in the 11th month, on the 11th day and at the 11th hour. My grandfather was a Dough Boy for the US Army and I grew up with stories from “over there”. So it has been 100 years since the end of the war. So wonderful for you to write about the poppies; makes it easy for the next generation to understand and learn about something they should never forget, but carry in the core of the hearts. If we do not remember and recount history, we are doomed to repeat it. Love your blogs so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it does, you are so right. America came into the war in 1917 … so this was the 100th anniversary of our entry into the war, not the 100th anniversary of the Armistice… that will be next year, the Armistice was signed on November 11, 2018. Is that what you meant? Thank you so much Lynn, love having you here! xoxo

  52. Carol C says:

    We used to have the poppies here in the U.S. I remember as a child that they were given for a donation to one of the veteran organizations. I wonder why it stopped. A couple of years ago I was in London in early September and they were making a sea of poppies in the moat around the Tower of London. It was very beautiful, impressive and thought provoking. It would be great to revive the tradition in the States. Maybe it starts with us!

  53. As a retired third grade teacher, I puddled up, too! There is something so beautiful when young children are able to make sense of this complicated world. God bless them all! And kudos to a fabulous teacher who teaches by doing and shows her students that our hands can reach farther than they imagined. Look how many of us were touched by them? And, as always, thank you, Susan, you are a constant light when the darkness creeps in.

  54. Laurie Walt says:

    Sooooo much Love in that envelope! Teacher is awesome!

  55. Gini Gould says:

    Hi Susan, The letters to you from Mrs. O’Brien’s Class are so heartfelt. What treasures they are and the students too! What a delight to read them all.

    Wondering if you could share suggestions with me: I live above 4,500 altitude. My baking results leave much to be desired. Might you have ideas for high altitude baking? Thank you so much for any help you can give.

    Love all your Willards, everyone. Soooo special; love to cozy up with hot chocolate in front of the fireplace to read them. I know you approve… OXOXOX

    • sbranch says:

      I’m only 60 feet above sea level, so I have very little experience, but I just Googled “How to bake at high altitude” and there are tons of informative web sites. Hope this helps! I do approve of all hot chocolate and all fireplaces and all books. xoxo

      • Gini Gould says:

        Will do. Thank you for your research. But had you knowledge on high altitudes, it was much too much of a temptation to go to my Susan source first. I just couldn’t help myself!! Sending hugs from “way up there”…

  56. This was such a wonderful gift for you! And for all of us since you shared it with us. Thank you, dear Susan Branch.

  57. Christine Perica says:

    Absolutely precious! I wept as I read these…such an impact your blog had on their learning and perspective. Love that Mrs. O’Brien had them learn about Armistice Day through your blog. Teachers who use a variety of tools to instruct students are just the best. And you are so right: each child’s writing is as unique as they are. May they remember this lesson and live for peace. Thank you, Susan for your impact on so many lives. Have a joy filled Thanksgiving. Love, Chris and Glenn

  58. RosemaryK says:

    Hi Susan,

    I “need” another Susan book. Are you currently working on any? I read: Isle of Dreams, Fine Romance and FairyTale Girl at least 3 times each — LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve just started painting for a book I’m going to write about our next trip to England and Ireland! I’m SO excited!

  59. Kitty DeMento says:

    Oh Sue! This post was magic. I have sent you something recently – I am so glad I found you!
    I have been perusing your old posts and found something (again!) that makes me wonder if in fact you are my long lost sister!!! One of your Thanksgiving tables revealed a plate on which you placed the lyrics to Church in the Wildwood. Wow! I watch old Andy Griffith shows at night and one episode had Andy and Barney and another gentleman visitor to the town singing that, low and sweet. I remember sitting up and being so moved by that song and lyrics. I looked it all up on Google (how did we ever live without it!) and wanted to do something with it, decorating wise. I thought to myself I must be the only person who would be moved by that song today! BUT NO!!! You are too!!!!!
    Another gift from Sue. Thank you!!!!!

    • Kitty DeMento says:

      Hi Susan –
      I apologize for addressing you as ‘Sue’ in an earlier post – I am reading your Fairy Tale Girl and you asked someone to call you Sue instead of Susan, and it must have made an impression on me!
      This is the first time I have ever wrote on someone’s blog, and I am afraid I failed at my first attempt! I am sixty years old and a little rusty with these things —-
      At any rate I do sincerely apologize for calling you Sue!
      Take care and thank you for your Blog!

      • sbranch says:

        You’re doing very well! Don’t worry about it, I’m not only a Susan, I’m a Sue, and a Susie, and to some, even a Sue-Sue!

    • Kitty DeMento says:

      I sincerely apologize for referring to you as Sue!
      I have never responded to someone’s blog before – Silly Me!
      Thanks for understanding

    • sbranch says:

      So happy you enjoyed the blog! Yes, love that old song . . . xoxo

  60. diana from ancaster says:

    This is wonderful.

  61. Kitty DeMento says:

    Ugh! I have totally failed with these blog posts!!!
    The first apology for calling you Sue didn’t show up and so I did another!!! This is what happens when my college aged children aren’t home to help me with technology. Oh my heavens I am sorry!
    Going to stick my head in the sand now!!!!!

  62. Elizabeth says:

    Susan, when you are in England you might like to visit the Poppy Factory, as does the Queen:

  63. Thank you Susan for posting on Twitter the very sad news that Brambly Hedge creator and artist Jill Barklem had left us. I wouldn’t have known about that otherwise. I have spent the last hour celebrating her works. I have all her books I believe, and my mother and sister gave me her wonderful tea set for my birthday back in the late 80s or early 90s. Her art, like yours, Susan, brings beauty and joy into so many lives, and that is greatly needed and appreciated by many.
    Jeanne of Iowa

    • sbranch says:

      She was too young. Such a wonderful talent! Looking at her paintings, I experience the joy she felt in doing them. All that detail. Thank you Jeanne.

  64. Miss Virginia says:

    Thank you and blessings to all.

  65. Kimberlee says:


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