Of Bakeries and Books


2014-03-15_13-31-01_967When I was a little girl, about 5 or 6 years old, my daddy had a machine shop in the Old Atlantic Ice House in Decatur, GA. Decatur is the city that didn’t become Atlanta because the rail yards weren’t located there, and because of that managed to hang on to its small town charm for a very long time. The Ice House was a decrepit old building of many floors (I remember 17, but I think that is a child’s memory), built like a stack of blocks with each floor getting progressively smaller as you ascended. Only once did I ever climb to the little bitty block at the top.

Mostly I played with the box collection that my daddy kept for me in the front offices, or I balanced on long pieces of steel I-beam that were laying on the floor waiting to become a frame for some new project. Occasionally I rooted around in the back, finding such treasures as old, rusted out horse shoes—which I still have.

My mom kept the books for my dad’s business, and often when I wasn’t in school, I was with her. Quite often we would spend a couple of hours in what was the friendly downtown of Decatur, GA. At least once a week we would go to the Decatur Public Library, and I would check out a stack of books, then we would walk down to the bakery that wasn’t too far away. When we would walk into the bakery, I would breathe so deeply, inhaling the wonderful aromas that enveloped me. Then I would walk up to the display cases and press my nose and hands against them trying to decide which ONE thing I would select as my treat—such a difficult task because selecting any one thing seemed like turning everything else down. Then Mom and I would return to “work”. She would settle down with the accounts payable ledger, and I would settle down with a good book and a pastry. It was an idyllic life.

And it rushed back at me full force on Saturday when my daughter and I walked into the Full House Bakery on Merchant Row. Olfaction is said to be one of the strongest triggers of memory. When we walked into that bakery, I felt like a little girl again, faced with the dreaded task of deciding which delicious treats to leave behind. And as my daughter pressed her nose and hands against the display case, I saw myself (and the endless frustration I must have caused for the person responsible for cleaning the glass display case).

It is a delight to have a home town bakery in Milton. It is even more a delight when my daughter’s request for the “chocolate cupcake with the most sprinkles” was happily and most seriously fulfilled. As we drove to Grandma’s later that day, I told my daughter the story about going to the library and then the bakery in Decatur when I was a girl. She suggested that we have a Mother/Daughter day that involves the Milton Library, the Full House Bakery, a picnic basket and a park. And I think that we shall do just that.

©2014 Michele Arduengo All rights reserved.

One thought on “Of Bakeries and Books

  1. Michele, this was such a feel good post. My grandma used to leave me bakery treats when she visited while I was in school. Make those memories with your wee one.

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