Central Junior High, Ogden UT10/17/09 - My sisters Larkann and Becky will remember Mrs. Ridges, the home economics teacher at Central Junior High in Ogden, Utah. Our mom said that Mrs. Ridges was a dingbat. Mrs. Ridges certainly did get the story wrong when somebody removed the door handles from the cabinets under one of the islands around each of which four students sat and learned how to make toast in the oven. (I never did figure out why anybody would want to make toast in the oven. 1965 was an eternity ago, but even then, every household capable of sending girls to public schools had a toaster.)

Anyway, the year the handles disappeared was the same year that the Ogden City Schools decided it would be ok for boys to learn how to cook--but only in an all-boy class. Mrs. Ridges was ga-ga about the boys. She bragged and bragged on them to the rest of her classes. We got sick of hearing about them.

Mrs. Ridges grumbled for weeks about the missing cabinet handles. "I just don't understand why any of you girls would want to steal the handles," she complained. We all just kind of shrugged. We didn't know anything about it.

A couple of years later in high school, I was dating a guy who was a member of that seminal all-boy home ec class. He told me how he removed the handles from the cabinets in Mrs. Ridges' cooking class and stashed them in a saucepan way in the back of his island. "You did that? She bitched all semester about it and blamed us girls!"

Mrs. Ridges was obsessive about botulism. It is probably due to her hysterical harping about it that nobody I knew in Ogden ever came down with botulism. She taught us the warning signs of tainted food--the dreaded bulging can!

It is now many years later and although I have never made toast in the oven, I do know how to cook and I NEVER buy food in bulging cans. This is mostly due to the fact that I have never seen a bulging can, but I promise I wouldn't buy it if I did see one.