Remembering Dad through Food and Letters PART 1: Blueberry Muffins

My current research and writing project is a continuation of something started a number of years ago— transcribing letters Dad sent home to his family during WWII and capturing my own memories of summers spent in the Adirondack Mountains.

An aspect of this relates to food— snippets Dad wrote about and things I recall as favorites. These posts will carry the header— as noted above— and all the recipes will be included in their original form. Enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins

One of the traditions at North Lake (Adirondack Conservation area) was a frosty morning dip and a canoe trip to Blueberry Island to pick, of course, blueberries! These berries are the tiny, wild variety and the designated pail would be filled to the brim for pancake and muffin making.

Dad ready to pick berries, circa 1970’s
The blueberry pail that I kept- 50 years on
Mmmmmuffins
A photo taken by my Dad on an early morning canoe ride

Aunt Norma

My Aunt Norma died last week. She was my Dad’s youngest sister and the last living sibling at 92. Norma brought out the best in people. One of my cousins remarked on this. It was definitely true regarding my father, her big brother, who could be crabby, gruff, silent…you name it. Norma managed to smooth out those emotional wrinkles and made many a Christmas day and time spent at the cabin in the Adirondacks a sheer joy.

Today I took a shot at baking a German Chocolate Cake, one of Norma’s signature desserts; it looks a little odd but it tastes pretty good. Not as good as Norma’s but I wanted to remember and feel close.

 

Scanning the past

With the help of an Epson scanner, I am starting to sort through photos from the 1940’s and slides and photos from the 1960’s through the 70’s. Regrettably, the slides were kept in less than optimal conditions but it is a worthy challenge :).

skippy grandma mark ginny mom 1948 canada

1948-  My brother Mark, sister Ginny, mother, Florence, and Grandma Ruby enjoy a vacation in Canada- as well as Skippy the dog.

john jacox 1948 canada

Grandpa John 1948

ginny and mark

Ginny and Mark- somewhere in the Adirondacks 1948

stina grandma ruby no filter

The next generation to find a love of the woods; Me with Grandma August 1961- 58 years ago.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: (happy) Nostalgia

I thought about the idea of ‘ nostalgia ‘ most of the day today. There is great joy in the memory- and the knowledge that weathering the emotional storms allows me to look at the photograph with love.

dad-thea-andrew_edited-1

Dad, Thea (just turned 40) and Andrew (also a 40 something…) at the North Lake Adirondack cabin on an August day 35 or 36 years ago. I took the photo and was a youthful 20- something 🙂

Purging the House and Sharing a Memory

I took a few days off work this week. After reading two mysteries and cleaning the house I decided it was time to continue the daunting task of purging. This has meant pulling boxes of photos and memorabilia out of closets and crawl spaces and being as ruthless as possible. The tour books, postcards and duplicate photos- scraps of paper and receipts- none of these are the keepers of the memories for me- those still exist in my mind (at least for awhile longer).

I would like to share a photo from 1961. Yours truly is about 3 years old and seated between Otto and Ernestine, keepers of “The State House” a home that sat at the intersection of a dirt road and the headwaters of North Lake, Atwell, NY. Otto and Ernestine raised their sons there and managed the maintenance of the Black River and dam system fed by the lake.

My family and I spent decades building summer memories at North Lake. In this instance, it only took one photo to open a window on so many other images…

otto stina ernestine color