> One day, I sat down with my grandmother, pen and paper in hand, and asked her about her childhood. She gave me many random anecdotes which I recorded as fast as my hand could write. One of the interesting things I have now is a list of all of the jobs she had in her life. Without a college education, she relied on the skills she’d been taught through experience to work for almost 30 years.
In 1942 Mamie and Bumpa bought an old farm house. It was cream with brown trim. In 1950, they painted the house bright red with white trim. They started taking in tourists for $2.50 a night per person. When the motels started coming in down the road, they stopped.
Mamie’s sister in law, Eileen, asked Mamie to put on a luncheon for her bridge club. Mamie charged $1.50 per plate and the Red House was born. Mamie’s restaurant was by reservation only. The smallest party she served was 8, the largest 125 (a buffet wedding). Mamie did many weddings and made beautiful cakes. For nine years, she baked and cooked while my mom waited tables with Mamie’s mom, Gram. Bumpa was the dish washer and general help. Mamie was famous for her sweet rolls and her pies. People offered her money for her recipes, but she never gave them away.
After the Red House closed, Mamie went to work at a fruit store which later became a full grocery store. She worked in the bakery until 1972 when she went to work for the local school district. She was head baker for 4 elementary schools (500 children). She baked homemade cookies, apple crisp, puddings and Jell-O. By the time she retired, she was baking for 1500 kids and using mixes and frozen cookie dough. Mamie got government surplus foods for the school such as sweet potatoes and prunes. Knowing the kids probably wouldn’t eat them plain, Mamie developed “fruit bars” and they were a big hit. That was typical of Mamie. Frugal to the bone. I guess it runs in the family.