I was lucky enough to escape from life this past weekend and go to Vermont with my family. To say it was a treat to have time off from work and time with my family is truly an understatement. For this work-a-holic, it was bliss.
There were many highlights, most which involved participating in my dear friend’s son’s bar mitzvah. The emotions overwhelmed me and took me completely by surprise…my kids looked at me in disbelief as I sat in the temple, crying. I am not prone to extreme emotions and for the most part, keep most of this stuff inside. This weekend, however, I couldn’t contain the waves of memories. I have moved so many times during life, and this friendship has been one of the longest constants in my life. It began in Evanston, IL in college, in a sorority of all places. It began again in Vermont, years later, when she happened to walk into the bakery where I so happened to be working. We have been through so much. So. Much. Five children. Four weddings. Five dogs. Two cats. Four Bar/Bat Mitzvahs with one more to go. Three moves. Countless emails & phone conversations. The memories run deep and the emotions rode to the surface.
And here’s where it all started.
Klinger’s. A small bakery located in South Burlington, VT. It’s where I had my first baking job. It’s where I learned how to do everything, from using an industrial mixer, to laminating dough on a sheeter. From using the proofer for yeasted doughs to rolling biscotti. From screwing up making buttercream to burning scones. From making one pie to learning how to scale production to make 300 pies. I started working there, young & irresponsible (personally, not professionally) and left older, married, a mother. To walk through those doors again and see how little had changed was one thing. To share this experience with my family was remarkable.
The juxtaposition of old & new this weekend was breathtaking for me. So little had changed inside Klinger’s. From the menu to the physical space, everything looked eerily similar to when I last worked there.
While so much has changed for me since I last lived and worked in Vermont, so much also remains the same. The technique for making biscotti that I learned in 1994 is the same one I currently use. The same is true for scones. I came up with my Key Lime Pie recipe while I worked at Klinger’s, and there in the case sat the very same pie with slightly more flamboyant decorations.
I often move through life in fast forward, eyes directed ahead, laser-focused on the future. I needed this weekend more than I anticipated…it was the gentle dope-slap reminder to relax. To enjoy my children. To laugh
at with my husband. To reminisce. To remember where my career started and see how far the passion for baking has taken me. The words ‘onward & upward’ are meaningless if you cannot take a moment to remember the beginning.