doctor who was going to say to me that ‘you are fine’ in a way the I would trust that that was true. Instead, I just needed to figure out how to live again, my normal, everyday life,” said Fechtor. “Being in the kitchen and cooking and baking and then writing about it allowed me to notice the little bits of normalcy that were beginning to sprout up all around me and to register them and to believe in them once again and to believe in myself and my health and my own life once again. That was incredibly powerful and important.”
Teachers Wanda Marwaha and Anne Fuller (also Fechtor's classmate!) and School Librarian Joanna McNally were especially instrumental in bringing Jessica back to her Alma Mater to speak to the students. They knew she could make a difference in their lives.
“Having Jessica Fechtor as our inaugural OHS Visiting Author for two fantastic days provided a unique opportunity for students to connect with someone from Orange,” said Mrs. McNally. “Not only was Jessica engaging, she came across ‘as real’ to students I spoke with. It is rare for students to have an opportunity to interact with a writer, let alone a NY Times bestselling author, who brings her love of writing to life with food from recipes from the book as well as writing tips.”
And Fechtor was more than happy to oblige when it came to returning to her roots. She devoted two paragraphs in her acknowledgments in Stir
to her own Orange Schools teachers including her sixth grade teacher Deb Delisle, who “made a special place for me beneath the spider plant to sit and write,” and high school language arts teachers Nancy Brunswick, Bob Hastings, and Jan Morgan for "teaching me how to think about words on a page. Of the many competing voices in my head when I write, yours are the ones I listen to.”
Along with hosting Writers' Workshops and offering multiple presentations to Language Arts classes, Fechtor also shared her expertise in the kitchen. She re-created one of the first recipes she prepared after her return to the kitchen – buttermilk biscuits – that she attributed to helping her realize what normalcy was. She also created braided Challah and shared one of her favorites – Marcella’s Butter Almond cake – with all of the students and staff who attended the seminar. The verdict? Perfect—on all fronts!