Friday, March 27, 2015

34. ROB’S OATMEAL COOKIES (My Sister, Sue)

Sisterhood.  The word evokes powerful feelings, warm and nurturing.  We humans of the feminine gender feel a sisterhood with the other women in our church, in our clubs and our neighborhoods.  If someone has suffered our same kind of suffering, we are sisters.  But actual sisterhood, the kind where we share the same parent and the same genetic or environmental history…there is something divinely sacred about that.
I have 4 sisters.  We all share the same mother.  There are 16 years from start to finish, so our early histories vary.  But the love? That is eternal.
My sister Sue, the second of my mother’s children, was just enough older than me that I could revere her and yet have access to her.  She moved to Pittsburgh with us, from Idaho, when I was in kindergarten and she was in high school.  We shared a bedroom, and a full size bed, in our house on Old Clairton Road.  She regularly read to us three little girls, Illustrated Stories from the Bible. And I recall with great tenderness hearing her come in late at night, after a long days work as a housekeeper at a local motel.  She would drop her tips on the top of the dresser, the coins softly tinkling like church bells.  Soon she was in her flannels and lifting the covers on the bed.  That was my indicator to scoot over and let her in.  Her presence was the comfort I needed to sleep well. 

Before computers were household items, my sister Sue worked with them.  I think she was a computer key punch operator.  This was when information was programmed into a machine the size of K Mart, one tidbit at a time.  She brought home stacks of manila colored cards into which holes were punched. Libby, Ann Marie and I took a large refrigerator box and created a computer out of it, in the basement. We cut slats in the front through which the computer card could be passed.  One of us would be inside the box, take the card that was fed into the computer and make obnoxious electronic sounds like the robot on Lost in Space.  Then we would push the card back out of the computer.  Not many people my age would have pretended with computers when they were little.  Sue made us privy to these things, the same way she exposed us to Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego walking through fire in the Bible.  Who’da thunk that in a few short decades we would all be sitting at our own personal computers, on our laps no less, writing and reading information instantaneously?
Sue studied Recreation Management at BYU, then eventually moved to California where she worked for Pacific Bell, using that computer knowledge.  One of her co-workers was a fellow named Rob. He brought some delicious oatmeal cookies to work one day, and Sue asked for the recipe.  Instead of just handing her the recipe he had her over to make some at his house. Thanks for that, Rob!
Sue says she doesn’t know where the recipe originated, or what the real name was.  We just call them Rob’s Oatmeal Cookies, and they are a family favorite.  Ann Marie makes triple batches and rolls the dough into balls then freezes the balls in plastic bags, to be baked at a later date.  Some of us have been known to zip those freezer bags open and steal one or two of those frozen dough balls. We also tend to enjoy baked cookies which have been frozen.  Sue says she broke a tooth once on the frozen morsel of a chocolate chip cookie.  It reminded me of when our mom used to break her teeth (yes, more than once) on those giant Lemon Taffy suckers the Nut Tree used to sell.  I say if you’re gonna break a tooth, this is a good way to do it.
My sister Sue is a woman of many gifts. She has taught us folk dances she had learned in her Recreation classes.  She is the filter through which all of us select good books to read and movies to watch.  And she is an artist beyond compare with her fingers, creating stunningly beautiful, meticulously crafted quilts.   We piece fabric together, which is artistry in itself. But we let machines do the quilting.  Not Sue.  Her fingers work her sharp needles as precisely as she used to enter computer data in those massive machines in Pittsburgh.  Look at the closeness, and evenness of these stitches! 

Her patience and perseverance are indicative of her character.  Her works are heirlooms, created and bestowed with great love.
Sue is a serious quilt master!
Lucky us, who are blessed to call Sue, “sister”.  I love it when she makes her way to Utah from the Bay area of California. Our tribe doest feel complete without her. But when we don’t have her, we always have Rob’s Oatmeal Cookies ;-)
Sherry and Sue, back in the day.
Yup, that's a more current portrait of
our tribe of Seven Lovely Injuns.
Gram's Fam Reunion.
Rob’s Oatmeal Cookies

½ c vegetable oil

½ c butter, room temp

1 c brown sugar

1 c white sugar

2 beaten eggs

1.5 t. vanilla

1 ½ c flour

1 ½ t soda

1 t salt

3 c. old fashioned oats

nuts if desired (pecans or walnuts)

Cream oil, butter and sugars.  Add beaten egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients, then add to creamed mixture.  Add oats and nuts.  Scoop into balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. (This cookie dough freezes well.  Scoop into balls and freeze in a zip lock bag.  Bake as many as you want, when you want.)

Wouldn’t it be grand if I could have all the people I love and all the people I like, which is mostly all people, over to make Rob’s Oatmeal Cookies, which are sort of Sue’s Oatmeal Cookies? Some of us could eat the dough out of the bowl, some could bake them up nice and soft, and then we could burn the last batch for Kate and the others in our clan who prefer extra crispy.   (I’m seriously gaining weight with this Lent writing!!!!)


  1. I'm not sure why I was so blest, but I've got the best sisters ever!

  2. I loved reading this and selfishly consider myself one of your sisters. In the true sense of the word, we really are sisters. Coincidentally you wrote this one on my 60th birthday. I believe you are sharing the most incredible part of yourself when you sacrifice time to write at Lent. I reserve time daily for this ritual on my end. I know it takes you four times as long to do it as it does for me to enjoy it on my end and for this I want to thank you. I love oatmeal cookies, I love the Connors family and I love you especially. You are so gifted and I consider the qualities of patience, sacrifice, love, humility, charity, kindness, and so many others to be at the top of gifts you have been given. Thanks for sharing with so many. One day I should publish these annual editions. It's really your personal history. I love reading about the things you write about. Every year it's a treat. I hope it never ends (the tradition of writing at Lent). You will be blessed for the efforts. I hope you are publishing the entries, but if not, they are always here on these wonderful blog pages on the internet. We have lived good long lives and the best years are ahead of us! Right? I love you and want to thank you for sharing yourself with so many.

  3. This is such a fantastic treat to read about each of my aunts and uncles! Thank you, Mom. We love Aunt Sue! We cherish those works of art she has made for each of our children. They are such beautiful evidences of her love.