Essay: Bake Shop

Nov 15, 2019

Judy’s mother comes in the door carrying a flat white box that she sets on the kitchen table.  “Help yourself,” she says and collapses into a chair.

Her pale pink uniform has “Evelyn” embroidered over her heart.  Inside the box are dozens of jelly donuts, Danish sweet rolls, cinnamon twists, and cupcakes.  I wait for Judy to go first but she’s not interested. 

She has leftovers like this every day because her family owns a bakery.  I wish my family owned a bakery.  I pick out a cinnamon twist. 

Later Evelyn makes supper and we talk quietly because Judy’s father is sleeping.  Frank gets up at midnight to go to work.  Judy and her sister work in the bakery, too—every day after school and weekends.  

“Do you like working at the bakery?”  I ask Judy.  We are sitting cross-legged on her bed and I’m eating a cupcake.

“Sometimes,” she says.  “The customers are nice and I know everybody.”

I wonder what it would be like to run a family business.  It doesn’t look like an easy life or especially prosperous.  But I admire how hard they work and how much they care.

I hear it in Judy’s voice when she tells people where to get the best jelly donuts. 

When she says,  “Our bakery.”