I grew up in the 1960s with a “stay at home” mom who loved to shower her children with magical gifts. As the end of the school day approached I would dream about the possibility of a surprise when I got home. One day it was a brand new color tv and another time it was a new red coat and hat to wear on a trip to Washington DC and New York City alone with my Dad.
Winds passing over the Rocky Mountains at high speeds create mountain waves often causing a very bumpy ride from Casper to Denver. Turbulence can go from unpleasant to a “white knuckle” rollercoaster ride due to the invisible “pot holes” in the sky. It was a relief for my nine year old self to descend the airplane steps into the arms of my beloved Grandma. We went straight to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center to buy eclairs for dessert after dinner, and a sparkling new set of “Jacks” at the toy store. I took a leisurely bath pampered by Grandma’s sweet smelling bath salts. I was really enjoying being an only child on this visit.
The next day we flew to Washington D.C., my Dad was scheduled to argue a case before the Supreme Court. My babysitter met us at our hotel, the Willard, and took me to the Smithsonian. We saw the First Ladies’ gowns and the biggest dollhouse I had ever seen at The American History Museum. My Dad and I had dinner at Hogates Restaurant one night and Old Ebbitt Grill the next. During our tour of the U.S. Capitol, we rode on the Capitol subway, an exciting first for me. I learned about tobacco farming and the 40 eggs in Martha Washington’s famous cake at Mt. Vernon. We ate crab cakes at Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria, and visited antique stores afterwards.
We flew from National Airport to La Guardia aboard the iconic Eastern Airlines Shuttle. My dad bought our tickets after having boarded the plane. This was my first stay at the Waldorf Astoria, thanks to my Mom’s Junior League discount. My grandmother, Ruthie bought me the Leisl, Madame Alexander doll from the Sound of Music at FAO Schwartz and took me for the biggest lunch of spaghetti and meatballs I’d ever eaten. My Dad and I visited the Empire State Building, saw the Rockettes at Radio City, and took the Staten Island ferry to view The Statue of Liberty. We spent our last night in New York City in Chinatown, I collected the umbrellas from Ruthie’s fancy cocktails and ate everyone’s fortune cookies.
As I sat in school upon my return from my week “back east” I wondered if there could possibly be any more surprises at home after school. I opened the door and was greeted by the sweet smell of my Mom baking chocolate chip cookies, Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) was right, “there is no place like home.”
The secret ingredient in my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies is cinnamon, replace two tablespoons of flour with cinnamon and roll the cookies in powdered sugar before baking. Delicious!
Kate Emery General is a retired chef/restaurant owner that was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming. Kate loves her grandchildren, knitting and watercolor painting. Kate and her husband , Matt are longtime residents of Cambridge’s West End where they enjoy swimming and bicycling.