Monday, February 28, 2011

making whoopie(s) and getting nostalgic

A few weeks ago I made whoopie pies to bring to a friend's screening of Saturday Night Fever (the last in a 70s themed film series), in honor of two things:

1) A bill currently under consideration and hot debate in the Maine State Legislature - "An Act To Designate the Whoopie Pie as the State Dessert", sponsored by Representative Paul Davis. I dont know a lick about his politics (I am sure my Grandmother could fill me in - see below), but he's got my vote on this one.

2)  My Grandmother's birthday on 2/5. To me, whoopie pies are synonymous with picnic desserts with Grammy when I was little. They were messy, irregular and wonderful - much like Grammy herself, who is as far a cry from your traditional cute granny sitting in a rocker knitting mittens as could be. 

And that's ok with me. 

My grandmother is the most selfless person I know, sometimes to a fault. After one conversation, most people can't help but adore her, despite her sometimes rude/lewd jokes, embarrassing stories told loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, and tendency to break the never-talk-politics-with-family-or-strangers rule (the daughter of a Baptist minister, she is a staunch Democrat who once penned an Op-Ed piece for the Boothbay Register called "In Defense of Clinton").

When I was visiting my parents 2 weekends ago I asked my mom to dig out her box of old family photos, which she let me take back to Buffalo so that I could scan them for myself. 

My Grandmother's college portrait.

Grammy is not your go-to person for the Emily Post rules of etiquette. 

However, if you need information on
  • the best thrift shops in town (The Humane Society Thrift Shop and the "Boothbay gift shop" - the part of the town dump where people donate used home goods and everything is free),
  •  the best lobster stew (at The Sea Basket in Wiscassett),
  • just about anything to do with the Boothbay Harbor Region, 
  • plants (indoor or out),
  • rising stars in the Democratic Party, 
  • Maine politics, 
  • the history of US/China relations, 
  • how to raise a hermit crab, 
  • how to make beautiful irises out of mussel shells, 
  • when the best time is for clam digging, 
  • or where to get free crab meat 
 ... she's your gal. 

And did I mention she makes a mean whoopie pie? To learn more, hopefully you can reference the book I plan to write about her some day. *smile*

 (She's the cutie with the ribbon in her hair.)

When my mom found out I was making whoopie pies she jokingly asked for me to save a couple to bring home when we came to visit.

I was sure to set aside two in the freezer, and we enjoyed them together on the last night of my visit with a cup of my favorite tea (which I got her for her birthday earlier this month), after spending hours going through the old family photos and baby albums, laughing until tears came.

My little brother and his wife just had a baby, so it was a real trip going through his baby pictures. I still believe he was the cutest, most expressive happy baby I've ever seen. I was 9 years old when he was born, so I remember those days very well. It blows my mind to think how long ago that was - long ago enough for him to be holding his own baby now. Crazy.

I also really enjoyed seeing a lot of old photos of my Grandfather. When he passed away a few years ago I helped my mom put together a photo collage that was displayed at his wake. The feelings most people in the family had toward my grandfather could best be described as "complicated" - so there were a lot of mixed emotions running through us after his passing. The photo collage was a beautiful reminder of better days and really helped us celebrate his life in a positive way. 

My Grandfather and Grandmother

I'll be doing more scanning soon. There are so many of my grandfather in the early days of my grandparents' relationship where I was struck by what a cool looking guy he was in the early 60s! His passion was singing and playing guitar, and I got the sense that he was someone that the local girls might have swooned over  (including my grandmother, of course).

As I get older I find myself trying to gather as many stories of the lives of family members as I can, and photographs are such a special way to do that. Not to be morbid, but the thought of people passing on without others knowing their stories well enough to pass on to future generations really saddens me (and gives me an anxious feeling too, wishing I could visit my grandmother far more often than I do). 

I generally embrace getting older myself, but realizing that everyone dear to you is getting older too sure makes it bittersweet. 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely, eloquent thoughts...I agree wholeheartedly. Just love the list of the things your Grandmother taught you. :) Makes me want to make one of my own for my grandmas!

    Also, I've never had a whoopie pie. Must remedy that ASAP.