Giving Thanks: A Woman on the Front Lines

“I’ve always been in a man’s world. I have a son, my mother had all brothers, her mother had all brothers, now I’m here at The Heights, a boy’s school,” explained Mrs. Glenn.

I first heard about Mrs. Glenn five years ago when our son got his first late slip in his new school. He told me, “Mrs. Glenn gave me a piece of paper to give to my teacher…and, a piece of candy!”

Renetta Glenn (76) retired from Fannie Mae as an executive assistant to a CEO in a high-pressure environment. At her retirement lunch she said she didn’t want to stay home and sit. She loved kids and said that she might want to work at a school. One connection led to another. She recalls with a big smile, “Mr. [Tom] Royals interviewed me in the morning and he called me that night and offered me a job as a receptionist!”

She sits at the front desk and has a panoramic view of the action including the school crest (don’t step on it). Nothing gets by Mrs. Glenn.

“I imagine this is much different from working at Fannie Mae?”

“Oh yes, she laughs, oh my yes!”

Nothing is too much trouble for her, especially when it comes to her “precious boys” at The Heights, or their parents. Would you like your son’s report card? Mrs. Glenn has A-K (her affable co-worker, Mrs. Kilner, takes L-Z). Is your son sick? “Ahhh poor baby…what’s wrong today?”

My recent exchange was asking her if she could get a message to my son:

“I hate to ask this, and if it’s not too much trouble….”

She interjected: “Oh, it’s trouble, believe me! This will cost you…” (You could see the twinkle in her eye through the phone.)

Me, apologetically: “This is the first time in five years I have ever had to do this.”

Mrs. Glenn: “The first time? Then, we’ll let this one pass, but the next time it will cost you…”

She made me laugh just when I needed it and had a messenger dispensed lickety-split. Pitch any problem to Mrs. Glenn and she hits it outa the park.

As for that payment, I figured I would ask just in case I needed to pay her off one day:

“What kind of cookies do you like?

Without skipping a beat she said slowly: “Choc-o-late chip…home-made choc-o-late chip.

With matched intensity, I said, “With real butter?”

“Real butter,” she confirmed.

Renetta Glenn

Renetta Glenn

The Heights is not Fannie Mae but I imagine Renetta Glen has marked each career with capable skills and a hospitable attitude. Anyone who gives a boy a piece of candy for being late is tops in my book! We have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Say Thanks with Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Recipe adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

You can substitute any kind of chocolate (white, milk or mixed) or peanut butter chips for the semisweet ones. The recipe calls for 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks (the extra fat makes them chewy but not tough). The melted butter accounts for the chewy inside.

Wrap them up in a box and pretty bow and say “Thanks!”


  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce bag) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup coconut (optional but I usually add it)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, one to two minutes. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla, until combined, about 30 second, scraping down the bowl and the beaters as needed.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate chips until incorporated.

Working with 1/4 cup of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2-1/2 inches apart.

Bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft and puffy, 17 to 20 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack. They keep well in a sealed container.

Other stories about The Heights — The Sixth Grade Gentlemen’s Dinner and Hospitality and Raising Boys. 


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