Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 6: The Magical Table

In 1998 an amazing thing happened to me at Stanford.  I was given the Lloyd W. Dinkelspeil award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.  As a career teacher this single event was the highlight of my professional life.  Since the award is given as a result of letters written by former students it means more than if it was simply a nod from the academy itself.  If students remember your efforts . . . well what could be better?
Along with the prestige came a handsome monetary prize.  At the time I thought, "Patricia, you should buy something with this that you would not have purchased otherwise."  And, so I ordered a hand-painted table from an amazing company called Sticks.  They offer one of a kind hand painted furniture pieces.  I was able to be part of the design decision making by giving them the text of words that ring the outer rim of the table.  Here are quotes that run around the edge:  In order of importance, but not necessarily order of placement next to each other:
Notice the gifts        
Cherish family
Plant flowers
Help neighbors
Live constructively
Make mistakes
Give yourself away
Be a friend
Read books
Fix things
Run a marathon
Eat good food and share
Laugh at yourself
Give foot rubs
Accept change
Wash hands
Say thanks a lot
Treasure today
Sleep securely
Try new things
Smile a lot
Paint stuff
Play games
Take naps
Plant trees
Bake cookies
Listen to the birds 
Keep moving
Eat veggies
Clean up your mess

Ron and I love sitting at this table looking out at the world, eating our oatmeal, being reminded of our values and celebrating our luck in life.  I owe this table to an amazing young women:  Nancy Stone.  Nancy was an undergraduate at Stanford who paid a lot of attention to life.  It was Nancy who quietly  waged a letter writing campaign to Stanford that resulted in my winning the Dinkelspiel Award.  And, so every time I look at this beautiful table I think of Nancy.  Thank you, Nancy.And, if you want a real treat, Nancy has launched a podcast storydive  with an amazing story of making amends.  You'll be impressed with her storytelling style.  


  1. Patricia, thank you. I just want to say...although I had the idea to nominate you for the Dinkelspiel (your teaching and P.O.V. on the world made such a difference to me), once Lolly Ward and I sent out the call for letters, your students STAMPEDED to their computers. Everybody was so eager to write about you.

    Thanks for the callout to Story Dive! - Nancy

  2. Thank you for this precious writing of The Magical Table!

  3. you've inspired me again! will start on my own "table writing" list. Thank you so much for "being here".