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Stories about Leah

These are some stories about Leah we've collected from former students, friends and family.

Mrs. Vargason showed compassion and love for every student.  I remember a girl in my class who had a bladder control problem, as children at that age sometimes do. Mrs. Vargason always knew how to handle the situation and help us understand how it would feel to be in that little girl’s shoes which is an important lesson at that age. I remember that it always felt very equal in her classroom—we were all welcomed, loved and respected in her eyes.

·     You never knew what surprise would be next. One morning we all arrived at school and the bell rang so we were all in our desks…but Mrs. Vargason was nowhere to be found.  We waited…and waited…for what seemed like an eternity to classroom full of 2nd graders…and as we all sat in silence we heard an alarm clock bell going off in the room—in the closet. And out stumbled Mrs. Vargason in her bathrobe, face cream, curlers, and slippers saying “Oh my goodness I overslept!” And then with all of us staring at her, jaws agape, she said “Oh dear…you didn’t know that I lived in the closet?” It was April 1st and we had certainly all been fooled.

·         Our school was broken into and vandalized that year which was seemed so strange for such a rural school. The vandals had hit the faculty lounge and several of the classrooms including ours. You knew something was very wrong the moment you walked into the classroom and it felt very violating. They had spread purple paint everywhere and broken things. I remember that they had, for whatever reason, glued a long knife in Mrs. Vargason’s grade book with an excessive amount of glue so all the pages were stuck together. We couldn’t believe that this had happened to our classroom and to our favorite teacher whom we all adored. My best friend at that time, Bryce, and I swore we would seek revenge. Hell hath no fury like a 2nd grader scorned. It wasn’t long before she had us all calmed down and turned the whole incident into a valuable life lesson for us.

·         The tales of Little Blue Elf and Little Black Goblin were the highlight of ever day. I wish I had a recording of her telling a story.  Little Blue Elf and Little Black Goblin lived across the road from the school in a field. I think I got in trouble once for crossing the road to see if I could find them there.  As a child, I had a rug at the foot of my bed that had a football field printed on it. I also had a good Lego collection. So I worked for some time on building an elf-sized stadium scene with Lego bricks on the rug complete with bleachers, ticket booths, concession stands, and goal posts. My mom took me to school one day with the whole thing in a box and Mrs. Vargason had me set it up on the floor in front of her stool during lunch time. After the noon recess she told a fantastic story about Little Blue Elf and Little Black Goblin playing a football game. It was such an honor for me and I’ll never forget that.
Pete, 2nd grade student of Mary McPherson Elementary School in Meridian

May 24, 2009

My wife Sharon and I lived on Henry St. as neighbors to Val for 5-6 years. God made an angel and all those that had the chance to be touched or taught by her were blessed like no other.It saddens me to not have been around more , however the thought of her and her dear friend Annie will remain with us forever. God Bless to all in Val's memory.
Kyle & Sharon, Boise, ID

May 24, 2009
Mrs. Vargason was amazing, the stories, the surprises live with me to this day, she taught me in second grade at mary mac in 1982, my thoughts and prayers to the family, but we all know she lived a full and accomplished life, i will always have her memory in my heart
Brent, Meridian, Idaho
May 17, 2009
Mrs. Vargason was my most favorite teacher! I still remember even 30 some years later the stories that she told us of the Little Blue Elf and the Little Black Goblin. I looked forward to school every day when she was my teacher. Very few teachers made as deep an impression on my life as she did. I loved her and was so grateful to have known her. She was indeed a wonderful person and will be very much missed!
Wendy, Kuna, Idaho

April 23, 2009
I was saddened to hear of her passing. I had her as a 2nd grade teacher and loved her so much. I loved her story of the "Little Blue Elf". I called my mom after I received the card with her obituary in it. I told my mom that I thought Mrs. Vargason was old when I had her. But to a child I guess she was. She and Mr. Potter were two of my favorite teachers at Southside. I hold tight to the memories both teachers helped to create.
Joni, Auburn, Washington

April 22, 2009
My father, Elmer Potter, taught with Valera at Amity School & Southside School. My dad spoke so highly of her and regarded her as a great friend and co-worker. Mrs. Vargason was also 2nd grade teacher to my brother Ben & myself. She was a great teacher and advocate to children. We'll never forget all the "adventures" in her classroom.
Paula, Meridian, Idaho

April 20, 2009
I lived a few homes down from Lea, she was 1 of the nicest people i know, Don was great to us as well, I will never forget her or her kindness, every neighborhood should have neighbors like her and Don, sure made our lives easier,with them and a few others as well, Lea rest in peace and god bless you as you blessed us,
judy, melba, Idaho

April 18, 2009
I will never forget Mrs. Vargason. She was my 2nd Gr. teacher at Locust Grove many years ago. She was one of my teachers that was instrumental in my decision to become a teacher. I taught second grade the last seven years of my teaching experience, and many times remembered the Little Blue Elf and Little Black Goblin stories. I will always remember her kindness and brilliant smile. She was a wonderful teacher and touched my heart.
Sandra, Caldwell, Idaho

April 17, 2009
Mrs. Vargason was my 2nd Grade teacher as well, in the 1958-1959 School Year at Locust Grove Elementary School, Meridian, Idaho. Her daily adventure stories of Little Blue Elf and Little Black Goblin were so much fun! She was such a blessing to so many.
Jackie, Spokane, Washington

April 16, 2009
"Good Morning to you, good morning to you, we're all in our places, with Bright shining faces..." nothing made the trip to Disneyland more fun and more exciting, then Aunt Leah singing to you in the morning! My favorite memory was getting off the Indiana Jones ride and Aunt Leah turned to me and said "now, we have to act EXTREMELY scared so that Grandma (Hersom) won't want to go on! wouldn't that be funny?" I last saw aunt leah at thanksgiving, and she never stopped laughing, smiling, or cracking jokes with me! She was an amazing woman and will be missed dearly!
Holly, Edmonds, Washington

April 16, 2009
Mrs. Vargason was my 2nd grade teacher in 1979-1980 at Mary McPherson Elementary school in Meridian. To this day she remains my favorite and most inspiring teacher. It was an honor and a joy to be a student in her classroom and I have never forgotten her wonderful tales of "Little Blue Elf" and Little Black Goblin. Every day with Mrs. Vargason was a wonderful new adventure. God bless her and her family.
Peter, Boise, Idaho

April 14, 2009
Leah was also teacher of the year for the state of Idaho, and no doubt an inspiration for legions of children. My kids, her great, great grandnephews, mostly knew her from afar, but had tremendous admiration for her. We always looked forward to our summer meetings with Leah and Don and will never forget the joy she brought to our lives. Cheers to Leah and all the Stewart siblings. They were an amazing bunch!
Tim McKim, Red Wing, Minnesota

April 14, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. As you all know Aunt Leah was a huge inspiration to us. What an awesome, beautiful, caring, giving woman who cared for all!!
We will all miss her greatly!
Chad Larson, Chester, SD

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