A Tribute to Doris Wren
Upon learning the news of the loss of our departed sister, Mrs. Doris Wren, a flood of fond memories filled my mind. When I moved to Lexington in 1977, Mrs. Wren was the Home Economics teacher for Lexington High School. Back then, I was hardly the model student for homemaking. But, homemaking was a required course and, if one wanted to graduate you would have to take the classes.
Homemaking classes contained time in the kitchen where your assigned dish had to be “planned” and grocery list made according to the ingredients you may or may not have had in your assigned kitchenette. If your grocery list lacked ingredients for your dish, Mrs. Wren did not purchase that item and your dish would not turn out as a result of your lack of planning and paying attention to detail. Your grade would reflect the results. We came away from her class not only instructed on how to cook, but also how to make a plan, think through the details and the expectations of the ultimate outcome.
Next was sewing. Does anyone else remember poking holes in paper with a sewing machine? If you guided your paper off the pre-drawn lines on the paper, you needed more practice…. of which, I did. Mrs. Wren always encouraged me into the sewing circle, even when I was more interested in sports. I was assigned to sew a garment. I went to Pratho’s and picked an “easy” simplicity pattern, material and notions. With her instructions, I cut, pinned, marked and sewed the fabric according to pattern directions. When completed, it was far from a masterpiece, but Mrs. Wren oooed and ahhhed over it. It clearly lacked perfection, as I did not sew completely to the end of a bust dart, and “dots” appeared on the fabric where I got “a little off the mark” with a tracing wheel on the right side of the fabric. But, Mrs. Wren praised my efforts and, in a gentle manner, went over my mistakes and its repairs. Later in life I went on to make sewing projects for my family based on the knowledge, encouragement and foundation she laid for me.
Home and Family living was a required course that was taught by Mrs. Wren. In this class, you had the scenario or mock up version of dating, getting engaged and marrying a classmate. After these chapters were completed, came having and caring for an infant. Who would forget demonstrating in front of the class bathing a plastic doll without any water! This class included working together, budgeting, saving money, clipping coupons, shopping sales and,on one particular day, we came into the class scenario and she let us know that our car broke down and needed repair. We suddenly had to pay for the repairs out of our budget. At the age of 16, we thought that most unfair and thought she wanted to see us fail her class! All that grumbling surely must have entertained her. Little did I know at the time, that she did a great job of preparing us for our future lives and teaching us the skills to do our best at running our households.
I was one of the kids who rolled their eyes when Home Economics class was mentioned. Never would I have admitted I actually enjoyed her class, but I did. To this date, when a cake comes out of the oven and turns out wonderfully, we state that the cake was “Doris Wren worthy”. When a new recipe is successfully made, I say: “Mrs. Wren would have been proud it was so good”. I was hemming my new slacks and made the statement: “Mrs. Wren would approve right now!” Her teaching skills were truly successful and her encouragement, positive reinforcement and upbeat attitude will never be forgotten.
Mrs. Wren has gone home to be with our Heavenly Father. May she enjoy the riches that heaven provides. She truly has been a jewel to the Lexington Community and the memories and gifts she leaves behind continue to be appreciated by many.