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50 Latitudes (USA) Feature

The 50 Latitudes Feature will showcase Latitudes from a resident of each US state in their own words to illustrate that despite age, sex, location, or occupation, every living being on the planet has a favorite Latitude.  A person's favorite Latitude is not restricted to their home state.

Entries in Rhode Island (1)

Wednesday
May182011

Rhode Island

As a little girl in rural upstate New York, I always remember time spent at my grandmother’s house. This usually meant going there on a Friday night, so that, come Saturday morning, when Grandma would do all of her baking for the upcoming week, I would be there, ready to go at the crack of dawn.

I fondly remember my grandmother’s house after all these years with the uneven floors, creaking stairs and the sound of her chiming clock, striking at each hour in the front living room. Friday night would usually be spent with my grandparent’s, playing cards before we’d turn in for the night. I’d go to bed looking forward to the next morning when the fun would begin.

A day of baking!!!

Grandma was a fantastic baker and a true artisan with the patience of a saint. She could make breads, donuts, muffins, pies, cakes and the most scrumptious filled cookies that would put any modern bakery to shame. As little as I was, she always allowed me to climb up on the old wooden bench next to her and let me get my hands in the dough, trying my best to mimic every move she made. Even though that was over 50 years ago, I can still smell the aroma’s that would come out of her kitchen every Saturday morning.

The real treat was when she’d slice into a freshly baked loaf of bread, hot from the oven. We’d always sit down for a “spell”, as she’d say and enjoy it with a cup of tea, poured from a little china teapot.  The tea always tasted better at her house as we’d drink it from a cup with a saucer from her mix- matched china collection. That didn’t matter. It was just so memorable, how she made me feel special, like I was the only one in the world at that time.

Little did I know, she was molding me into who I am today.

I was married at the young age of 18. I was a stay at home mom, so it allowed me to carry on Grandma’s legacy and the love of providing my family with freshly baked goods. My husband and I raised 2 daughters. Both left home after high school to go to college. A few years later, my husband took a job in his home state of Rhode Island. What a culture shock for a country girl, but I was ready for whatever this new life offered us.

One day I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, known for its culinary programs. I thought to myself, “oh if I was only 20 years younger”, I would enroll and take my love of baking to the next level, but quickly dismissed the idea, after all, I was too old to go back to school, or so I thought.

My youngest daughter, who was a student at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence at the time, called me one day and told me to get ready because she was going to pick me up. Not telling me where we were going, I changed my clothes and anxiously awaited her arrival.  Low and behold, she took me to an open house at Johnson & Wales University with a tour of the school.

The rest is history…  I enrolled in the Baking and Pastry Arts program and three years later, graduated with honors.  Somehow, I think my grandmother was looking down from heaven with a smile the day I walked across the stage to get my diploma.

I currently work as a sales administration manager in the corporate world.  Many days, my stress levels are more than I think anyone my age should have to deal with, however it’s earning me a good living and paying the bills.  No matter how long and stressful my day is, I know I can always come home and bake something to escape the rat race and relieve the stress.  Making something with my hands and sharing it with family and friends.  This is the place that makes me the happiest, my Latitude.

Both daughters are now married.  My oldest daughter gave birth to triplets almost 8 years ago, and they are the joy of my life.  I look forward to them coming by and baking with them as Grandma did with me.  One of the first things that usually come out of their mouth is “what can we bake today, Grandma?”  I’m just so happy that they want to learn, just like I did, so many years ago.

Maybe one day, they’ll have a story to tell of their grandmother who spent so many special times together with them, teaching them how important these memories are.