Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Features

September 27, 2012

Visitor back after 12 years

WHEELER —      Nancy Cao discovered it’s a small world.

     The Chicago resident visited the homestead of a Jasper County friend earlier this month.

     Little did she know the visit would reunite her with the farming family she visited 12 years ago during a class trip.

     The reunion was prompted by a discussion during dinner one night at the home of Tyler Holsapple, who she befriended while attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

    “I told his mom I had been to a dairy farm in fifth grade,” said Cao. “She told me about a nearby farm that hosted school trips but couldn’t think of the name. I told them I visited the Bierman farm, and she said ‘that’s it.’”

    The next morning, Holsapple and Cao drove to the Bierman farm to see the place Cao had visited as a fifth-grader at Robert Healey Elementary School in Chicago.

    The reunion put to rest a curiosity Denise and Roger Bierman had about at least one of the students after they left the farm.

    “We always wondered what happened to these kids,” said Denise.

    Cao also wondered about the Biermans but was unable to contact them because she did not know the address.

    The Biermans began inviting school kids in 1991 to their farm after seeing a Farm Bureau notice asking farm families to adopt a classroom. The couple were connected with Robert Healey Elementary, located near White Sox stadium. Every spring, fifth-graders from the school would visit the farm and were treated to a homemade lunch of pork and hamburgers, pickles, cookies and a goodie bag.

    Like others, Cao had never set foot on a farm before. So, her memories of the trip remained vivid, especially one.

    That day on the farm something caught Cao’s eye. She saw the horse she was afraid to ride during her first trip to the farm.

    Cao has since overcome her fear and rode the horse around the farm.

    “It was exciting,” she said.

    The visit triggered more memories for Cao, including of hats the kids were given.

    “As she stood here, she remembered more stuff,” said Denise.

    “It was so nice catching up with them,” said Cao.

    A photo of the reunion Cao posted on Facebook sparked reaction from former classmates she still is friends with via the social network.

    The reaction prompted another reunion. Cao is planning to gather the fifth-grade class she hasn’t seen since eighth grade and have them meet with the Biermans, this time in Chicago.

    “They seem very excited,” she said.

    The group is planning to meet in December.

    Denise said they also hope to meet with teacher Barbara Sisto, who facilitated the trips.

    Cao is not the only one in her family to visit the Biermans’ farm. Her sister and brother also visited the homestead, and Cao hopes the three can coordinate a another visit to the farm before the December reunion.

    Although the Biermans no longer host the trips, the visits have left a lasting impression on not only the students but them as well. Denise has kept the letters all the students have written thanking them for the visits and found the letters written by Cao and her siblings.

    In sifting through the letters, the Biermans have made another connection.

    “My son mentors a med student who also visited the farm,” she said.

    Denise continues to sort through the letters in the hopes of finding another name she might recognize.

    “Shows how small the world is,” she said.

    Cao said not only has the experience reminded her of the same notion, it has rekindled her love of farm life.

    “When I went back, I told Tyler ‘I’m in love with farm life and want to move down there,’” said the recent college graduate. “I would absolutely move down there if I had the opportunity.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 17, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 10, 2014

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.