Fannie and her big blue car

Windmill Cookie

We had just moved into the big house on Van Buren Ave. in St. Paul in 1968. There were only four of us kids then, my two younger sisters were still babies. My mom didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood except Fannie, a rather plump, proper lady who lived straight across the alley from us facing Blair Ave. I’m not quite sure how they met, but I think it was at the laundromat that used to be on the corner of Blair and Dale, the one with the 5ยข Coke machine that dispensed glass bottles.

When Fannie walked, her girdle and underthings swished beneath her dress. She always wore a pastel-colored dress, even in the winter. She had white hair that was cut short and gold-framed glasses. I don’t remember her ever smiling, but her face was friendly and pleasant to look at. It was the face of a calming, comfortable grandma.


15 Replies to “Fannie and her big blue car”

  1. This is an absolutely wonderful story! I can see that old lady! she reminds me of old Mrs. Goodian, who was an old lady in our church back in Helena, Montana. She always smelled of lilac! She and her husband were childless. I remember her for the pecan pie she brought to church socials. That pie was so sweet I could never eat more than a crumb from it! The other thing was her coffee, although I was too young to drink it. My dad always swore that coffee was so strong that Mr. Goodian routinely put a single teaspoon of it into a cup, then went to the sink and filled the cup with hot water!

  2. Old ladies from the church are the best. Do they still make old ladies or are they all just trying to live out the golden years on the edge of reclaimed youth? Nowadays, the pies are more likely to be store-bought than home-made, if we’re allowed to have pie at all.

  3. I love this story..touched my heart. Thanks for sharing. I can almost smell the musty smell you described.

  4. I love when the smell or sight of food instantly sends us back into a memory. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful one!

  5. If it means anything, I still make pie from scratch, especially when the fresh fruit is in season. Make the crust from scratch, as well, usually with a combination of butter and cream cheese. The cream cheese gives the crust a tangy flavor but it is not quite as flaky as crust made will just vegetable shortening. I’m not an old lady yet, I don’t think, so maybe it doesn’t count yet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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