Today, October 1st, is National Homemade Cookie Day. It is also my grandmother's 101st birthday... or it would have been. She passed away peacefully last Sunday, September 26th. My grandmother, had a good life... a great life, even. She loved her family, which included 6 children, 18 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great-grandchildren. (I am not counting spouses here, but if I did, the whole family numbers greater than 100!)
Grandmother was always a bit shy and quiet. When she got married at age 18, she was so embarrassed that she wouldn't even get out of the car and go into the pastor's house. The preacher had to go out to the Model-T Ford and perform the ceremony while they sat in the car.
Grandmother and Granddaddy, Barbara Anna (Melton) & Johney Burse Maynard, owned and operated Maynard's Drug in my hometown, Washington, Oklahoma, from 1951 - 1980. Washington is a small town and they sold everything. Just before school started each year, they sold school supplies and all of the required school books. The kids and grandkids pitched in to help during that time. All of the grandchildren longed for the day when they were deemed old enough to help sell school books. Big Chief Tablets, Fun with Dick and Jane, elementary workbooks, and number 2 pencils all have that old familiar smell that I love.
One of my favorite things had to be the soda fountain. Grandmother taught me how to make the perfect Coke. (Hint: It's all in the wrist... well, and the correct ratio of syrup to carbonated water. LOL) It had the old-fashioned pump-type syrup dispensers, fruit dippers, a double-sink, and water spigots - one for carbonated water and one for plain water. I loved the glass rinser. It was a small round hole with a rubber ring around the top and a rubber grid on the bottom. You inserted a glass upside down and sprayers squirted water all around and inside the glass, rinsing it clean. There were five or six red-leatherette barstools on the opposite side for customers. The stools were about 3' or so tall and spun around. I remember we used to get into trouble for spinning on them too much.
There was a candy counter with all sorts of delicious goodies - Pixie Sticks, Secret Centers, Hershey's Chocolate Bars, Jaw Breakers, Tootsie Rolls, gum, crackers, etc. Just about everything you could imagine was there to choose from. Halloween meant the addition of wax lips and Wowee! wax whistles.
Free comic books were also high on that favorite things list. Once the unsold comics were pulled from the shelf and the covers torn off, we got to take home huge stacks of them. We poured over Archie, Little Dot, Richie Rich, Hot Stuff, Casper, Superman, Batman, and even the war and love comics. We kept stacks of them in the house and would read and re-read them until they were falling apart.
Grandmother's specialty dessert was Italian Cream Cake. It was always so tall and loaded with fluffy coconut. It was absolutely divine. In honor of her - and of National Homemade Cookie Day - I think I am going to make Italian Cream Cookies... or some type of cookie, anyway. I won't be able to get photos posted today, but I will update the post later to show the cookies.