I was very young when I learned to knead bread from our next door neighbor, Virginia Marsden. I have not stopped making bread and other baked goods since. It has been my pleasure to learn from others along the way, not necessarily in the way my neighbor taught me to literally make bread but in the way they lived and shared their lives with me.
I was born in Elmira, New York, one of the many post-industrial towns in Upstate New York which has struggled with in the shadow of its success for a half a century. While the population and economic success of the city has declined, it will remain a place that gave me deep roots and long lasting relationships. It is a city that boasts the burial place of Mark Twain, for he married a local Elmiran and had a farm on the hills outside the city. Tommy Hilfiger was born and raised there, as was Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot a space shuttle.
It is a modest city with the capacity to raise up some pretty incredible people. The incredible people in my life were my family, which passed onto me their 200 year old heritage in that place, neighbors like the Marsdens who treated me like another one of their children, friends like the Jacobsons who survived Hitler’s concentration camps to come to Elmira to start a new life for themselves and their children, and still points in my world like Lottie Johnson who was the housekeeper for two generations of our family going back to when my father was 10 years old. From so many of these people, I learned about life, hope, love, expectations, manners, and about the world. And many of the lessons came through the metaphor of baking.
[Not an avid reader as a child, I found the few books that captivated to be biographies and autobiographies. I love reading about and writing about people’s lives and stories. And love baking. So, the two are wed in the cyberspace of this blog.] (I like this, but it interrupts the narrative about your life…)
I married my husband John in 1980 on the shores Keuka Lake in the Finger Lake region of NYS. Together we raised our daughter Chelsea, the inspiration for starting this blog as she herself did the same thing to great success ten years ago with her site The Inn at the Crossroads. We have also raised many dogs and cats and a few chickens along the way. In 2015, we bought a 170 year old farmhouse in West Windsor, VT, to be nearer to Chelsea and her husband Brent as well as the land in general.
Always looking for new adventures, I am delving into the world of blogging on the tails of a lifetime career of seeking peace, justice, and love as a local pastor, as an Executive Director for nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity ion New Mexico and Massachusetts and a family resource center in New Hampshire. Retiring from that position in 2020, I am now a freelance consultant with non-profits and enjoy being grandma to Pippa who lives just down the road. It is my hope that years hence, Pippa will be making some of these recipes and discovering something about life by remembering the lives of people she never met.