My Mother, Clara, is a chip off the old superwoman’s block and took up where Gram left off. In her prime, she was a baking wizard, who managed to work full time, keep a lovely home and always have a great meal and dessert waiting for us. Her nutritional regimen was right in line with Gram’s, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and good home cooking. If you could see the starched tablecloth at dinnertime, then a vegetable was missing from the table. The smells of roast beef and hot chocolate cake still cause flash backs.
Her desserts were legendary. There were demands by her hosts and guests alike for her trifle, raspberry nut bars and venetians, as well as scores of other delights. Her Norwegian, krumkaka cookies were made one at a time on a special iron heated on the stove top. It flattened the runny mixture into a round disk, which then had to be rolled around a wooden dowel. After several minutes of cooling, the cylinder was slid off for the next one. It was a labor of love that would sometimes be done well into the night. I was often recruited to do the tedious rolling job. As I got older and the Fall days began to cool, my coworkers would begin asking if Mom had started her Christmas baking. Clara’s cookies were always in great demand.
She also carried on Gram’s tradition of having a full table. There was always a neighbor, friend or an occasional stranger, sharing a meal. Her table was always set with a starched cloth and lovely place settings. My early, established trait of eavesdropping on adult conversations blossomed. I loved to hear the gossip and news of the neighborhood. As I got older, I was thrilled to be able to sit at the table and absorb some wisdom as well.
Another passion of Mom’s was sewing and making crafts. Her old sewing machine was spitting out clothes for me until I was out of high school. She then made clothes for my daughters. When they grew up, she began crafting her own versions of baby clothes, baby bibs, pot holders, plastic bag holders, book bags and tons more. The demand for her crocheted scrubbies was greater than her supply.
Several times she turned down requests to market her products because she didn’t want the pressure to produce. She loved making her novelties at her whim to give them away to her friends and family. Her heart was as big and generous as her mother’s.