I have become fascinated with history, especially local history.
Claire Putterman, an energetic woman of many passions, has great lineage.
Her maternal great-great grandfather, Morris Fass, was one of the founding fathers and civic leaders of Dillon, S.C., where Putterman was born. Fass, one of five brothers who emigrated from Austria to the fledgling community of Dillon, also helped establish the first Jewish community there.
Ben Bernanke, current chairman of the Federal Reserve, also hails from Dillon. His paternal grandfather, Jonas, emigrated from Austria as well. Bernanke and his wife, Anna, are good friends of Putterman and her husband, Paul, a physician.
"Ben and I grew up together in Dillon and have remained close friends," Putterman said.
Putterman earned her degree in French from the University of South Carolina and started the French program at Carmel Middle School in 1978. Putterman also taught there for seven years before moving to Providence Day School, where she taught an additional 16 years.
A popular instructor, "Madame Putterman" has taken 25 trips to France with students, providing them firsthand experience of French language and culture.
While a teacher and mother raising three children, Putterman found time to bake, and perfect, her famous homemade muffins.
"I've been baking muffins for 30 years, giving them as gifts for many occasions throughout the years," Putterman said. Her delicious, healthy muffins have been in such demand that Putterman's family encouraged to her to retire from teaching and go into the muffin-baking business.
"Leaving teaching wasn't an easy decision, as I have loved every minute of being in the classroom," Putterman said; however, she bid adieu to one career and began another from her home in July.
She's done a multitude of research, experimented with recipes to create healthy muffins with less sugar, and knows the nutritional value, calorie count and grams of fat of all her tasty creations.
"We even have a point value for Weight Watchers," said Putterman, who bakes fresh muffins using organic ingredients every day. "It's a family affair. Even my mother has a job to do," Putterman said.
Her website, www.modernmuffin.com., provides information for ordering and shipping. All boxes and peanuts used are biodegradable.
Putterman also works out five days a week, lifting weights and doing cardio.
Empty-nesters Claire and Paul live in south Charlotte.