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Making with Ms. Dobras on YouTube: PART THREE- More of Ms. Dobras

Making with Ms. Dobras on YouTube: PART THREE- More of Ms. Dobras

May 7, 2020

Roots, Joan

This is a story about roots–Ms. Dobras’s and mine. In the photo above, I am standing in the dry San Pedro riverbed, where this story flourished. 

Dear WinkWorld Readers,

This is the third blog on Making with Ms. Dobras, as seen on YouTube.  In PART ONE, I shared some examples of how Ms. Dobras does making with teachers K-12 and students. In PART TWO, I posted some resources on more general understandings of Making or Makerspaces.  Now, in PART THREE, I want to introduce you in more depth to Ms. Dobras, or Amy, as I know and love her. Sometimes my blog, WinkWorld,  is only professional, and sometimes it is very personal–like this issue.  The professionals posts, I guess, I do for you; the personal ones, I do for me.

Here is Ms. Dobras with her classroom rules.

Ms. Dobras's Rules

Ms. Dobras assured me that she usually doesn’t post pictures of herself topless, but that in this case, it is okay.  Ms. Dobras, the maker teacher, is right below Micky Mouse, on her mom’s t-shirt.  At this point, I had known Ms. Dobras for a few months.

Wink family and friendsA typical day at Cascabel ranch in the San Pedro River Valley, north of Benson, AZ. Left to Right: Bo, Joan, Dean, Mary Ann Dobras, Amy and Wendy, Dawn Elizabeth, who soon became Winkie and Dawn Elizabeth, who soon became, Dobie.

How did I meet Ms. Dobras?

It started simply on a very hot Sunday in Tucson in 1973, when I took our kids (Dawn, 6 and Bo, 2 1/2) and went looking for a church.  Somehow, I got lost and missed the church I was looking for, but we happened to pass Rincon UCC on Craycroft, and I remember saying, “Hey kids, here is a church, and there are even cars and people, so let’s stop here.  We walked to the front door of that church, and a woman (Mary Ann Dobras)  with her three little kids came outside to greet us.  Amy (Ms. Dobras of making fame) and her twin, Wendy, age 2 1/2, took Bo and ran off to pre-K class.  Mary Ann’s daughter, Dawn Elizabeth, age 6, grabbed our Dawn Elizabeth, age 6, and ran off to the first grade class.  Mary Ann and I went into the cool church for the service, and thus began a family friendship which has lasted 47 years.  Amy, Wendy, and Bo soon morphed into the ‘Lil Birds and the two Dawn Elizabeths became the Big Birds.

One of my favorite photos of the ‘Lil Birds (Amy, aka Ms. Dobras, Bo, and Wendy) is posted below.

Lil Birds

Below here is a collage of photos of the ‘Lil Birds  as they were growing up.

"Lil Birds photo collageAnd, here is a collage of the Big Birds as they were growing up.

Big Birds

The ‘Lil Birds and Big Birds spent many happy moments on the Cascabel ranch.

As you can see below, somehow through these 47 years of friendship, the treasured Cascabel mailbox made it back to us. And, do you see those two white teddy bears in the picture to the right of Dean’s head?  Those teddy bears were made for me by Diane Wessel Kindt of Mobridge, SD, who was my BFF from K-12.  She created these teddy bears from a mink jacket, which belonged to Grandma Mary.  That photo tells a lot about my own roots. Diane and I are still dear friends 70 years later.  Deep roots.

Cascabel Ranch Mailbox

These are the bluffs directly behind the house on the Cascabel ranch.

Bluffs behind Cascabel Ranch

I realize this story of personal roots does not matter to some of the WinkWorld readers, but to a few of us, these roots are requeteimportante.  (We don’t really have an English word, which captures ‘requete’ and ‘importante.’)

Thank you, Dobras family, for permission to share pictures.



  • Amy Dobras

    Love the posts Joan! The photos just got me right in the heart….they remind me of such good times.

    I feel honored to be in your posts. thanks.



  • Tania Ramalho

    Two Dawn Elizabeth is a hoot! Families and kids need other families and kids. Fun!

  • Carlos Velez-Ibanez

    Raices cuentan como anclas que nos sostienen en el mar de la vida. cvi

  • LOVE all of these people so much. Go, Ms. Dobras and your Makers!
    Love the ‘Lil Birds and Big Birds – and the Moms and the Dads.

  • Retha Davis

    Love the photos!!! The Dobras girls occasionally babysat for our 2 boys. And of course, Jim grew up in that church with the Sheldons. He is still guardian for their daughter Shirley who lives in St Louis MO. We still attend that church and occasionally see MaryAnn and Nancy.

  • cathy yaap

    I cannot get the smile off of my face! What treasures these pictures are. I know and love four of these
    people . I have met and love the other four of these people . Thank you for sharing this. I love you!
    Cathy Yaap

  • ❤️❤️❤️

  • Tommy Santoyo

    I got to go to the ranch one time… I think it was with a youth group, or maybe my Spanish class, I can’t recall… I do remember the beauty, I fell in love with the house, the ranch, oh how envious I was… I think the world of you and Dawn. I’m so glad to have had you all, as short a time as it was, in my life. The impact you all made on my life was deep!

    • Joan Wink

      Oh, Tommy, what a beautiful comment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I remember you so well. Yes, I think you came to the ranch with Spanish club – fun memory for sure! I kind of keep track of you and know that you have a wonderful family and you are all doing well. Incidentally, please send me a note at

  • Can’t stop smiling! Love the pics…🥰😘❤❤❤

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