The Suitcase Lady


October 22, 2013, 7:55 pm

“Smell goes into the emotional parts of the brain and the memory parts, whereas words go into the thinking parts of the brain.”

My grandmother lived downwind from a large cookie factory. Her neighborhood of tightly packed, austere German flats was populated by blue collar workers and their families. Delicious cookie aromas enveloped the neighborhood at almost all hours of the day and night.

Once every week or so, a small sign appeared on the door of the factory: “Broken Cookies Today”. Crowds would begin lining up and snaking down the sidewalk hours before the door opened. No fancy marketing here.

Once inside, you handed $2.00 to a man standing behind a counter and received in return a large, brown, grease-spotted bag. The bag was stapled firmly shut, its contents a mystery. And since adults ruled the world back then, the bag remained closed until it was safely home.

Then… bliss!  Or maybe not. If the coconut “washboard” cookies were over baked, broken or imperfect, they could fill up the entire sack.

What the neighbor kids and I all wished for was a total breakdown in the Rosette division. Rosettes were marshmallow and raspberry jam cookies entirely dipped in chocolate. We prayed that the factory workers would mangle, squish, overdip  or make the Rosettes unsaleable.

When I met my husband many years later, I soon discovered that he had a penchant for Rosettes. His mother loved “store cookies” and bought them frequently. His were not seconds.


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