Not a Typical Resident Interview

By Theresa Holstein

As an MDS Coordinator at Parker at McCarrick, I schedule meetings with new residents to learn more about them. On February 8th, what I thought would be a typical Resident Interview turned out to be a huge surprise.

I knocked on the new resident's bedroom door and asked her if I could come in. When I introduced myself to her and sat down, I felt this immediate connection with her. I could not believe what a vibrant woman she was.

Maryann O'Leary talked a lot about her late husband and told me that he had been a teacher at Edison High School. I told her that I had graduated from J.P. Stevens High School back in 1983. She looked at me, smiled and said, “I was a teacher there for many years.”

I gazed into her eyes and then it clicked. “Oh my God, Mrs. O'Leary--you taught Home Economics,” I exclaimed! 

She smiled and replied, “That’s right!"

I was so excited to let her know that she was my teacher. We hugged and kissed. I couldn’t believe that after 34 years, we were reunited.

Mrs. O'Leary was shocked to learn that I still have some of her recipes that we made in class. After work, I went home, pulled out those recipes, and baked some of Mrs. O'Leary’s Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe below).

yearbook photoThe next morning, I visited Mrs. O'Leary, with her cookies and my high school yearbook in my hands. We sat together at the edge of her bed and reminisced as we looked through the yearbook together. She even signed it for me. This was a personal moment that I will never forget!

Mrs. O'Leary's Meringue Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 egg white
Pinch of salt
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees. Separate egg carefully. In a small bowl, mix egg whites with salt at high speed until stiff, but not dry. Add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture should be very stiff and glossy). Stir in vanilla and fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden color and firm to the touch. Cool on rack. Store lightly covered in cool, dry place.
Yield: Approx. 12  cookies

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