Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bakeries On My Mind

I have bakeries on my mind this morning. You know how something triggers a memory, and then that one dredges up another memory? Before you know it, your head is filled with memories tripping over each other. 

It all began when the sister of a childhood friend of mine posted notice of a death on her facebook page. The man who died at only 62 was the youngest son in a family that lived next door to my family for many years in a Chicago suburb. His older sister is the same age as my middle brother. She had Friended me on facebook some months ago, so I went to her page and sent a private condolence message. In it, I told her that one of my fondest memories of her family is that her parents gave me my wedding cake as a gift when I was married, nearly 48 years ago.

Bud and Lorraine owned the bakery in our neighborhood shopping district, three blocks from our houses. We ordered the cake from them because it was the best place to do so as well as the owners being neighbors and friends. What a surprise when they gifted us with the cake. That kind and thoughtful gesture was typical of them. 

After writing the note, I began to have mental snapshots of the small bakery where waiting in line was not a problem since there were so many delectable goodies to look at. Besides what we saw, the blend of baked goods aromas tickled the nose and whet the appetite. Every child was given a cookie by the clerk behind the counter. My mother bought a loaf of bread there every day, and sometimes she'd bring home crullers or kolaches that our family of six adored. Mother did a lot of baking at home, but those two delicacies were not in her repertoire. 

I delved farther back into my memory bank to my very early years and the small bakery that my grandmother owned. I've written several stories about that heavenly establishment. My mother worked there on weekday mornings, and she took me with her. Imagine having a small child running loose in one of today's big bakeries! There were rules and I was expected to follow them. Most of the time I did, but sometimes....well, that's a story in itself. 

What all this is leading to is that we all have something that was special to our families, and those memories and reminiscences give us a resource for stories we write. Mine happens to be bakeries, but your family might have had a connection to auto repair shops or Mom and Pop grocery stores or neighborhood beauty shops. There are so many things from our long-ago everyday lives that we can write about. And the stories can be serious, humorous, or even sad. Use the great trigger I remember... when thinking about one of these subjects and you'll be surprised at how many long-buried memories rise up to meet you. 

Tomorrow, I'll post an essay I've written about lessons I learned in my grandmother's bakery. 

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