Darlene Binfet taught for 40 years
By Betty Street
Darlene Binfet retired after a 40-year teaching career in 2008, the year that Pollock schools combined with Mobridge. This included 36 years teaching in Mobridge and four years in Pollock, which is also from where she graduated high school.
The story of how Darlene started teaching in Pollock is fascinating. She grew up on the family farm south of Pollock. After graduating from Pollock High School, Darlene went to South Dakota State University in Brookings where she decided to major in home economics. But she soon became interested in elementary education, which was not offered at SDSU. She transferred to Northern State College in Aberdeen for the rest of her college education.
However, just as Darlene was finishing her junior year at NSC, the president of the Pollock school board visited Darlene’s father and asked him if he thought she might be interested in teaching first grade at Pollock Elementary School. So Darlene taught first grade and half of second grade in Pollock for the next four years.
When she went back to Northern to finish her degree, they still insisted she do student teaching, which seemed silly to Darlene considering she had been teaching in an actual classroom for the previous four years. But she complied with degree requirements and ended up student teaching second grade in Mobridge under Esther Dunlap, which was exactly where she wanted to be.
And coincidentally when Esther retired at the end of that year, Darlene was qualified and available to take over Esther’s second-grade class. Mobridge hired her and she spent the next 36 years in the Mobridge school system.
When Darlene moved to Mobridge, she roomed for four years with another young teacher, LeAnn Stevenson, who was acquainted with a young single male teacher, Stan Mack. Stan was good friends with Virgil Binfet, who moved in 1977 to Mobridge from Ipswich. Virgil became the Mobridge school business administrator.
Stan kept saying he, Virgil, LeAnn, and Darlene should get together, and they dated several times. One very hot day during the summer, Darlene invited Virgil for supper at her place.
That was when one of Darlene’s worst cooking disasters occurred. There was no air conditioning in her home, so in her words, “I made the meat in a Crock Pot in my bedroom so the oven wouldn’t make it even hotter inside.” She cooked pork chops and also made broccoli with cheese sauce.
Stan knew that everything must have been okay—Virgil was carrying roses from the garden to take to Darlene.
Darlene discovered later that Virgil didn’t like broccoli. However, she said, “But something must have worked—we’ve been together almost 34 years!”
The Binfets have one son, Joel, who is married to Angie, originally from Sioux Falls. Joel and Angie have a two-year-old daughter and they live in Highland Ranch, Colo., where Joel is an accountant for the Colorado Rockies. Angie is an assistant vice president at Wells Fargo.
Both Darlene and Virgil love sports. They attended every event in which Joel participated while he was in school, and now they go to all the local football and basketball games. They make a point of attending the state basketball tournament and have done that every year since the early 1980s. They are Twins fans and watch the games on TV.
Darlene learned to cook from her mother. She remembers how she, her sister Delores and their mother used to do holiday baking on Thanksgiving weekend. They made “30 to 40 things and packed them up,” dividing them up with Delores early if she had to go back to college on Saturday if a storm was supposed to move in on Sunday.
And then every night during Christmas vacation, Darlene’s family invited company over for supper or they went to a neighbor’s home for supper. Darlene said these were huge meals with three meat choices, or at least two, and they routinely cooked for 12 to 20 people at every meal. She’s glad not to have to do that now.
One special tradition Darlene started for her classes every year she taught was to make a cookbook for her students’ mothers for a Mother’s Day gift. Early editions—and she still has copies of each cookbook—were typed on a typewriter and printed using a ditto machine; but the last one was typed and printed on a computer. The last one was much easier, she said.
Darlene misses her teaching friends and the kids, but she “gets together with her teaching friends often.” She’s a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers’ club, and Oahe Area Retired Teachers. OART offers several scholarships each year to graduating Mobridge-Pollock seniors.
Darlene is also a member of Kopper Kettles, a craft club; Friendly Neighbors Club, a Herreid-Pollock group; the Pollock Legion Auxiliary; and the Mobridge Birthday Club.
If activity helps keep her young, these things and Darlene’s other hobbies of gardening, visiting her sister in Pollock, talking with their granddaughter on Skype and traveling with Virgil, she’ll never really get old no matter how many years pass by.
DARLENE BINFET’S RECIPES
Popular Kix Bars
6 cups Kix cereal
1 cup white syrup
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup M&Ms
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
Mix together cereal, peanuts and M&Ms in a large bowl. Boil together syrup and sugar for about 1 minute or until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix well. Pour over cereal mixture and mix. Pat into greased 9×13-inch or jellyroll pan.
Cherry Cheese Cake
2 pkgs. (1 8-oz. and 1 3-oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 shortbread or graham cracker crust (9-oz.)
1 can (21-oz.) cherry pie filling
1 ctn. (8-oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping; spoon into crust. Top with pie filling. Refrigerate until serving. 6-8 servings.
So-Easy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
3 to 4-lb. beef chuck roast
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can tomato soup
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
2 (16-oz.) cans new potatoes, drained
2 (14-oz.) cans sliced carrots, drained.
Mix together all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours. Serves 6.
1 (8-oz.) pkg. manicotti shells
1 (26-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1½ cup (6-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
14 pieces string cheese
½ cup chopped onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Spread half of the meat sauce onto a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Drain manicotti; stuff each shell with a piece of string cheese. Place over meat sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple chunks, undrained
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 (11-oz.) can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 large red apple, cubed
1 cup halved seedless red grapes
3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries, opt.
1 cup fresh or canned pitted dark, sweet cherries, opt.
2 medium firm bananas, sliced
In a large bowl, combine pineapple, Mandarin orange, apple, strawberries, grapes and kiwi, cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, fold in the blueberries, cherries and bananas; gently toss. 10 servings.