Saturday, February 18, 2017

Whoopie Pies

For my friend Cathy:

When I was a kid, you were one of my favorite people to hang out with - even though you were a grown up
Youth group and snowmobiling with you are two of my most distinct memories
And let's not even talk about the time you somehow managed to sneak us all out of the house dressed up to get our picture taken for Mum and Dad
You were such a huge part of our childhood - you were always there when we (I) needed something
Some of my fondest memories are just hanging out at your house in your Mum's kitchen watching her bake - she always wore an apron and I feel like there was a cigarette in the ash tray in the corner of teh counter along with an open soda can (although that could have been my Mum with her Tab!)
Shirley Chalmers could bake up a storm in the second smallest kitchen in Orrington
Loretta's was of course the smallest...but that could have been because of all the kids crowded in there with her
I thought Shirley was magic when it came to decorating cakes
But I swear, the best thing to ever come out of that little kitchen on the Snows Corner Road were the Shirley Chalmers Whoopie Pies!
I was never so excited when your Mum let me help me make the pies and then fill them with cream
I remember when she gave me a copy of her recipe
She wrote one out for my mother and I asked for one too
She asked what I was going to do with it - I was, after all, just a kid
I said I would make them when I had my own house just like she did
I remember Shirley chuckling at my request, sort of muttering and shaking her head
But she wrote one out for me any way
It was on one of those little cards that was imprinted with From the Kitchen of Shirley Chalmers
I kept that card for years Cathy!
And when I finally had my own place, I hung it on the side of my refrigerator in a clip with my favorite recipes
It has moved from Maine to New York to Illinois to Massachusetts with me
I also have cards in my mother's writing (though not her pizza recipe...I would never even attempt that one!) and my Aunt Nell's writing
I cherish those cards
I think having recipes handed down generation to generation is a beautiful gift
But I think to have it in the writing of someone who was a part of your life is an even more beautiful gift
Friday, there was a bake sale at Lucy's school
Lucy loves Whoopie Pies as I do
She asked if I would make them for the sale
I do not have to be asked twice
So I went to the clip and flipped through it looking for that little card
It was not where it should have been
I frantically flipped through it again
It still did not appear
I flipped through my recipe box (because yes,I still have one of those too)
I still could not find it
I pulled down my cook books and flipped through the pages hoping I had used it as a book mark
I still could not find it
I ended up making cookies
One time I thought I had lost a recipe Aunt Nell gave me and I cried
Not because I lost the recipe but because I lost her handwriting
It was not a recipe I make often...but she had written a couple notes on it and made hearts and little smiley faces....she signed it With Love, Aunt Nell
And, it was one of the last recipes she wrote out for me before she passed away
I've lost my recipe Cathy .... the one the infamous baker, Shirley Chalmers wrote out for me when I was probably 11/12 maybe 13 years old
And I am gutted
Not just because I lost the best Whoopie Pie recipe but because it was in her writing
There's something about having something like
I am not quite sure what it is or how to express it.....
Shirley's writing, that recipe, reminds me of when I was a kid...when I thought I would always be a kid and you would always be down the street and our parents would always be young...
And when I got to hang out with you and Sheena
And snowmobiling
And your brother
And Orrington
And your Mum
And you
It makes me miss those days
It makes me realize how lucky I was as a kid to be surrounded by people like you
It makes me miss being a kid
So if it's not too much trouble, think Shirley would share the recipe with me again?

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