In Loving Memory of
Ella Belle Camden Devine
October 21, 1914 to April 4, 1986
As the mother of three daughters, there are many things that we do together, some as a family and some individually. We do crafts together, write stories together, take bike rides together and watch movies together. And, although the girls are usually around to lend a helping hand – and sometimes an unhelping hand – when I’m cooking, I can’t remember ever baking cookies together. I have always been in a hurry with baking, or else I will do it while the girls are in school, but I don’t have any memories of me and the girls baking cookies together. But I do have terrific memories of baking cookies with my Granny Devine when I was a little girl.
Side by side, Granny and I would make sugar cookies in her small cramped kitchen. I remember my Granny’s house as being very small, but very big on love. When the entire family got together at Granny’s, we were packed in, but I can never remember anyone complaining. Anyway, the two of us would be steaming up the kitchen as we made our cookies. We would mix the ingredients and beat them all together, by hand – no electric mixer for Granny. We rolled out the dough on her kitchen/dining room table to the exact thickness. Then we would cut out the shapes and place them on the parchment lined cookie sheets. You know, I can only remember one shape of cookie, and that was circles made with an old glass from the cupboard. In to the warmed, gas oven the cookies would go.
Yummmmm … I can smell it now. That delicious scent of Granny’s sugar cookies baking in the oven. I always had to have the first one immediately out of the oven, uncooled and unfrosted. What a joy! We continued baking like this until all the dough had been used up. Thirty years ago, it was okay to eat the uncooked cookie dough, and I was always sneaking a lick off the side of the mixing bowl.
Once the cookies were baked and cooled, then came the fun part – frostings all our creations. Granny would have several different colors of frosting – red, blue, yellow and green. As I got older with a family of my own, I realized that these colors came from food coloring, but back then, I thought Granny was magic! We would frost and lick our fingers until all the cookies were done. Mine never looked as good as Granny’s, but she always told me mine were beautiful. What a compliment coming from my beloved Granny. When the icing was dry, we would pack the cookies in boxes and tins that my Granny kept stored under her bed. I, of course, got to take some cookies home to share with my family
My youngest daughter already has several memories that she loves to share with me, and one memory is of her and her Mamaw baking Valentine cookies for her preschool class. According to my mother-in-law, there was plenty of mess to clean up, but my daughter won’t remember that. What she will remember is being in the kitchen and helping her Mamaw with the baking.
What wonderful memories I have of my Granny Devine! She was such a caring and loving woman. I lost my Granny in 1986, but her memory lives on in the stories that I tell my childr3en. Will my children have memories of their own to share with their children? I hope so. We talk about the past quite a bit just so they can remember things like family traditions at Christmas or fun times at the amusement parks, or picnics in the park. I want them to be able to take great family memories into their futures. And my wish for the future … I just hope that I can be half the grandmother that my Granny was to me.
© Bobbi Rightmyer, February 1999