Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Bake Shop


I found I had the need for some food grade five gallon plastic buckets last Sunday. I can always get them from the Home Baking Company, so I headed off, but was shocked to find they were closed, and on a Sunday. So I head over to Danish Maid and they were closed as well.

When I was growing up a bakery would never be closed on Sunday. The after church crowd made more purchases than the regular customers on a daily basis. Bakery’s could close from Monday-Friday and still make a good living just being opened during the weekends.

As you all probably well know by now I’m not big on churches or going to church so I’ve never observed the after church goings on in this town. Were the bakeries ever open on Sunday or did the supermarkets kill the local bakeries most lucrative days?

A bakery can be a good business. My father’s family had a very successful bakery back in the 20s and 30s. It was actually a front for their bootlegging operation, but what the hey… I heard storied that my grand father would load the bakery van with bottles and baked goods and make his rounds, making sure to sample the goods with every delivery. After ten deliveries, my father who was twelve at the time, would take the wheel and drive his father around the rest of the route and finally return his drunken, sleeping father back home.

The family business was always referred to as The Bake Shop. It had been closed for probably twenty years before I was born, but there was always a strange reverence for The Bake Shop. It was what carried my father's family through the Great Depression and employed several local families as well.

Anyway, the photo above is of my Father's parents and his sisters. The tall blond on the left is my Irish lass of a mother who towers above the Eastern Europeans. By the way, my mother is only 5 foot 6 inches tall.

11 Comments:

Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Bootlegging carried a whole bunch of families through the depression. Maybe we should try that now, to replace the faux housing economy.

Wow, 5'6 - she likes like a 6-footer for sure.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Guy, I can see the resemblance with you and your mother. Go visit her, will ya?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous walter richards said...

Actually, I've never understood how those people with home breweries who give their product to friends/etc AREN'T bootleggers. Is it because it's beer rather than moonshine? Is it because the "still" is at their residence rather than in the middle of the woods? Is it because they aren't in a certain region of the country?

According to a History Channel show I was watching a couple weeks ago ... Prohibition was ended because the public finally accepted that outlawing alcohol was the cause of all the "gangland" violence. Wonder when they'll realize the same thing about the "war on drugs"?

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Home Bakery and Danish Maid have never been open on Sundays. This town used to pretty much totaly close down on Sundays. People went to church or they were union and treasured their hard won time off. The only places open would be Chris's News and the bigger Grocerys and restuarants. Oh their might have been some little neighborhood markets open too. Like Astor Court. For the downtown though Sunday was a day of rest. Sometime during the 80's the Astoria was in a slump, Bumble Bee was gone. Payless and Fred Meyer had moved in. A downtown development group hired a consultant to make recomendations to get Astoria off life support. The consultant said; improve parking by not parking downtown if you work downtown, be attentive to your customers, stay open later and on Sundays. Some shops did the Sunday thing, but not the bakerys. I must say when Sunday Market is hapening our shop does well.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Mike S said...

These days almost every retail business here is open Sundays, except car dealers. It's against the law for them to sell on Sundays, go figure:)

3:05 PM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

We have a Roth's IGA in Lebanon that makes a fortune on weekend mornings. I think my left arm is composed entirely of maple bars of my youth. They make their own donuts daily, and since my mother worked there when I was very young, the nice bakery ladies would give my sister and me free cookies whenever Mom and Dad would take us shopping there. Roth's may be a "chain" store, but they're a local chain, and Lebanon's has the BEST donuts on Earth.

5:22 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lori, there is bootlegging going and so much of it that stuff like crack and meth are too reasonably priced for the bootleggers to make any good money.

Auntie, Don't be telling Pappy what to do.

Walt, if the war on drugs ended there would be a lot of people out of work, and you know how the lack of performance based funding is messing up the County now...

Anon, I love it when a life long resident shares the history with us new comers, though after being here for 20 years I'm starting to feel like less of a new comer.

Mike, when I lived back east my state had blue laws so everyone would go to New York to shop on Sunday. NJ missed out on a lot of tax revenue by being closed 1/7 of the time.

Jaggy, I love those small old groceries.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason micro-brewers aren't bootleggers, is well...because we're NO LONGER IN THE PROHIBITION!

Anybody home?

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daddy was a bootlegger back in the 40's. And his daddy owned a brothel right here in Astoria. What do you newbies know about that?!

What's more, they were both respected business men. And I'll just bet they made alot of friends, too!

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad thing is that their families and the community suffered for it. Anyway, you folks ought to talk about something you know something about. Signing off now.

11:27 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

We would have shown support to your family businesses.

5:41 AM  

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