(Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

(Photo by Danny Fulgencio)

Goldene Teter was a passionate reader. As a substitute teacher at Lake Highlands Elementary in the 1960s and ‘70s, she regularly shared that love with her students. She also managed her husband’s business Direct Fashions, which sat on Park Lane for years.

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When Goldene died last year, her family didn’t want flowers. They wanted to build a lasting monument to their mother at the elementary school where she taught and where her children learned. After a year of collecting donations, the family pitched Principal Becky Stevens on their idea: Goldene’s Reading Nook.

“We wanted to make some place comfortable for kids to read,” Stevens says. “That’s why we bought all the poufs.”

The “poufs” are exactly what they sound like — fluffy clouds on which children can read and adventure in their imaginations. They were also able to purchase new shelves, a rug and a lamp to create a cozy corner for the kids.

“The Teters family sent me a list of their mother’s favorite children’s books to add to our collection,” Stevens says, adding that it included classics like “Where the Sidewalks End,” “Stone Soup” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

“My mom always believed a child’s potential was in their reading and education,” says Shelley Quatruopolo, Goldene’s daughter.

She laughs at the memory of her mother’s teaching days, noting how she wasn’t one to allow students to slack off just because she was a substitute at Lake Highlands, Wallace and White Rock elementaries.

“My mother was not a favorite sub,” she says. “They called her Ms. Teter-Toter.”