Home Ec: It’s not just for girls anymore Course changes with the times

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 1998

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 13, 1998

Although she is battling bone cancer, Gwen Douglas feels blessed.

Her children support her, and over the years they have made her extremely proud.

“I have some really good kids,” she said.

Michael is 21; Heather is 20. Both go to Louisiana State University.Michael is majoring in forensic anthropology, and Heather in computer and electrical engineering.

There were no bad years for Douglas while raising her kids. The so-calledstages adolescents often go through didn’t seem to exist.

“I enjoyed all of the years they were growing up,” she said. “The terrible2’s weren’t even so terrible.”Douglas said she always encouraged her children in everything and praised them when something good happened.

She said one thing she remembers about that encouragement is something she and her children would do when they came home from school with good grades or good news.

“When the kids were little we would do something we called a ‘happy dance,'” she said, grinning. “We would do this little dance around thekitchen.”Even now that her children are grown and in college, she and husband Bruce still sometimes do the “happy dance” when they get their grades in the mail.

“They would probably be embarrassed,” she said, laughing.

Douglas said there is nothing extra-special about the way she raised her children. She read bedtime stories to them, stayed home to take care ofthem and supported them in all of their extra-curricular activities.

“Oh, I did all of the normal things,” she said. “Reading of stories and stufflike that. I was really fortunate because I got to stay home with my kidsfor a long time. And I played chauffeur like a lot of moms do.”After all the years of support she has given to her children, they are now giving it back.

Traveling between LaPlace and M.D. Anderson, a cancer treatment hospitalin Houston, Texas, Douglas needs all of the support she can get from her family.

“Throughout all of the difficulties my kids have been very supportive of me,” she said. “I’m proud of both of them. These are some good kids.”Douglas said she and her family deal with the disease by communicating.

“A very positive attitude,” she said. “A lot of talking, a lot of faith and alot of praying.””I’ve always been very up front with the kids, and I have explained everything to them as time went on,” Douglas added. “We do a lot oftalking. From the time the kids were little we’ve always had goodcommunication.”She said they’ve always communicated with each other, always remained close.

“We still like to do things as a family, like cooking together and working in the yard together,” she said. “My son said some of the best meals arewhen we are all in the kitchen together cooking. I told him it was becauseit was done with love.”

Photo: Peter Linton, above, an East St. John ninth-grader in Janice Tomlinson’sFamily and Consumer Sciences class, asks Tomlinson for advice in the home decorating segment of the class.

Photo by Rebecca Burk.

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