Friends' annual cooking baking date continues into a sixth decade
By Ashley M. Wislock The Daily Item
RIVERSIDE — The three women stood and chatted with the ease that comes from decades of friendship.
“Helen’s the oldest,” said Erma Walter, the youngest at 82.
“Am I? Oh, that’s right,” Helen Smith, 86, said. “See how we need each other?”
The women came together Wednesday to bake, socialize and catch up on things, just as they have for the past 60 years or so. The women met through their children and became fast friends, said Marjorie Bassett, 85.
“We met through our kids and living in the same area,” she said. “At one point, we all lived out in Rush Township.”
The women used to bake about 30 different types of cookies during a three-day baking session to give to family and friends, Bassett said.
Now, they have cut down to some of the essentials, but they still are going strong, said Bassett, who recently moved into a new home.
“Now I have new neighbors to give them to,” she said.
The women, at Bassett’s house Wednesday, said they were planning to make chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter blossom, cornflake and a few other types of cookies. They used to make several other varieties, including the very popular bourbon balls.
“One time I thought I had a liquor to add in, but I thought, ‘I better check it,’” Walter said. “It was kerosene!”
The other women laughed at that tale.
“The fun we have, and the stories we could tell,” Bassett said.
The women have slowed down a little bit, making fewer cookies and cutting back from a three-day baking fest, Bassett said.
But the laughs are just as big and the memories flow from the women easily. Like the fact that they used to dance around the kitchen as they baked, serenaded by one of their husbands.
“We used to do the chicken dance,” Bassett said. “Helen’s the dancer.”
The women also get together outside of their cookie-baking marathons, usually with their Christian women’s group or over lunch, but their baking days are when they get to spend the most time with each other, just relaxing and talking, Bassett said.
“We could be here until next Tuesday talking about our cookies,” Smith said.
The women have been together through children, husbands and much of history, and there’s one thing that keeps them coming back.
“The friendship,” Walter said. “That’s the best part.”