Monthly Archives: July 2014


There is a particular kind of cookbook I am especially fond of, and that is the single topic cookbook.

Right now I am searching repeatedly for recipes to try from a cookbook titled 500 RECIPES USING ZUCCHINI or A BOOK OF FAVORITE RECIPES; A BOOK OF ZUCCHINI RECIPES – and for a good reason! My youngest son’s garden is producing zucchini and summer squash faster than I can use them. One year when Bob and I had a glut of zucchini in our veggie garden in Arleta, I tried shredding zucchini and freezing it – I won’t do THAT again anytime soon; when I defrosted the zucchini to make some zucchini bread for Christmas that year, I discovered it was totally slimy. (But if anyone out there knows of a good way to freeze shredded zucchini….feel free to write!).

Now, what you CAN do is make zucchini bread and then freeze it, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil. But I began reading through my 500 RECIPES USING ZUCCHINI/AKA A BOOK OF FAVORITE RECIPES COMPILED BY THE GARDEN CLUB OF SOUTHINGTON, OHIO and one day made a mock apple pie for a girlfriend I was meeting for lunch the next day—and she is unable to eat apples, due to a medical condition – so the mock apple pie* was a perfect dessert to make for her. There are SO many recipes in 500 RECIPES USING ZUCCHINI—I think it’s impossible to run out of recipes before you run out of zucchini. A new favorite recipe is one for a Hershey’s Chocolate Zucchini cake*; it calls for some buttermilk, which I love to have on hand when I am baking and a recipe calls for buttermilk.

I have been unable to find 500 RECIPES USING ZUCCHINI in, or even on Google. However, has a wealth of zucchini cookbooks that you can select. The Zucchini Houdini by Brenda Stanley is one such cookbook. EVERYTHING ZUCCHINI by Katherine Hupp is another. A third title is LIFE’S LITTLE ZUCCHINI by Joan Bestwick.

A BOOK OF FAVORITE RECIPES/A BOOK OF ZUCCHINI RECIPES was compiled by the Garden Club at Southington, Ohio, in 1997.

You may want to try making Mock Apple Pie or Hershey’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Selected recipes will be at the end of this blog post.
When strawberries are in season—and delicious to eat “as is” or by making an easy strawberry shortcake with whipped cream.
I like to make strawberry jam (and my granddaughter likes my strawberry-blueberry jam) but I have two strawberry cookbooks in my collection. One is the 1973 National Strawberry Festival Cookbook, while the other is a strawberry-shaped cookbook titled A STRAWBERRY COOKBOOK FROM THE STRAWBERRY PATCH by Sharon Kay Alexander, copyrighted 1980. This cookbook has a jumbo collection of strawberry recipes, collected by the author who is known locally as the Strawberry lady.

I was unable to find Sharon Kay Alexander’s strawberry cookbook but was bemused to find another strawberry shaped cookbook on This one is titled Totally Strawberries Cookbook, published in 1999 by Helene Siegel and Karen Gilling.

I was unable to find an author for the 1973 National Strawberry Festival Cookbook but it appears that “favorite Manistee County area recipes [were] reprinted from the Recipes Corner the Manistee News-Advocate. Manistee County is located in Michigan.

Sharon Kay Alexander knew a good thing when she found it; in 1984 she wrote the ALL AMERICAN APPLE COOKBOOK and it is shaped like an apple. THE ALL AMERICAN APPLE COOKBOOK is jam-packed with recipes; there is even a section for making apple butter, apple chutney and cinnamon apple jelly. (the latter is one of my favorite recipes that I thought I had invented. It reminded me of something I had told a co-worker years ago—there are NO secret recipes and what goes around comes around. (I have an apple tree and just recently finished making 4 quarts—and one pint—of apple sauce. It may not sound like a lot but for one person, it’s plenty).

While I did find ALL AMERICAN APPLE COOKBOOK on, what I found was a 1985 sequel that isn’t apple shaped. Amazon has the 1985 edition for $7.11 (used) or $7.95 (collectible.)

I have two cherry cookbooks in my collection; one is titled CHERRY CREATIONS, THE ULTIMATE CHERRY COOKBOOK BY Dr. Myles H. Bader. CHERRY CREATIONS focuses on lowfat and non-fat recipes that use a lot of tart cherries—which I would love to be able to GET here in the high desert. We get plenty of Sweet Bing cherries—you can even go cherry picking at some of the cherry farms. CHERRY CREATIONS is listed on Amazon, new $16.20 but pre-owned starting at 1 cent—or “like new” for TWO cents. Remember that when you purchase from a private vendor, you will pay $3.99 shipping and handling—so your one cent cookbook can cost you $4.00 but still a bargain.

Another cherry cookbook is titled 600 VERY CHERRY RECIPES, compiled for Elk Rapids Rotary Partners of Elk Rapids, Michigan, by Marjory Veliquette and Julia Pollister Amos, published in 1993. 600 VERY CHERRY RECIPES is a thick spiral bound cookbooks that will keep you reading recipes for a long time. I found two listings for 600 VERY CHERRY RECIPES on; one for $20.00 and another for $22.00.

I love lemon cookbooks—we used to have several lemon trees down in Arleta, including a Myer lemon. THE LEMON LOVERS COOKBOOK by Peg Bailey, while not a very big cookbook, is beautifully illustrated by Laura Seeley and contains some of the recipes we all yearn for but don’t know where to find – lemon oil and lemon vinegar, lemon syrup and lemon chutney, fluffy lemon pudding cake and lemon pound cake….plus many more lemon recipes. has THE LEMON LOVERS COOKBOOK new for $8.99, pre-owned for one cent—listings are good and very good for your one cent.

Similarly is another little book by Brian Glover, titled COOKING WITH LEMONS & LIMES. Photographs by Richard Jung are mouth-watering. has COOKING WITH LEMONS & LIMES new for $5.98 or pre-owned for $1.93.


1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 TBSP cornstarch
4 cups zucchini
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 unbaked pie shell

Peel & remove seeds from the zucchini. Slice like apples; cover with water and boil 2 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Mix all ingredients together except the pie crust. Gently add zucchini and mix. Pour into the unbaked pie shell and top with Dutch apple topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until done.


½ CUP CHOPPED NUTS (I used pecans)
¾ cup flour

Mix together until crumbly.


3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup buttermilk or sour milk
2 cups coarsely shredded raw zucchini, drained well
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins
Creamy chocolate chip glaze

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. In large mixer bowl, beat eggs well. Gradually pour in oil until blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk or sour milk. Fold drained shredded zucchini into batter. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool 10 minutes; invert on serving plate. Cool completely. Glaze with creamy chocolate chip glaze. Makes 12 servings.

*to make sour milk, use 2 tsp vinegar plus milk to equal ¾ cup.

To make Creamy Chocolate Chip Glaze:

2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
½ cup Hershey’s semi sweet chocolate chips or mini chips
1 TBSP marshmallow crème
1 to 2 tsp hot water

In small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; immediately add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Blend in marshmallow crème. Add hot water, ½ tsp at a time until glaze is desired consistency. Makes about ½ cup glaze.

–Sandra Lee Smith



If you have been collecting cookbooks for any length of time, or gravitate towards any articles or references to cookbooks that you find on the Internet, in the newspaper –or anywhere else—you may have seen the oft-repeated comment from collectors, “I read cookbooks like novels” in a sort of perplexed way, like who does anything like this? The answer is WE ALL DO and our number is legion. I might have made a comment like this myself back in 1965 when I first started collecting cookbooks and really didn’t know where to go about getting started.
There was a magazine for penpals called Women’s Circle (not to be confused with Woman’s Day or Family Circle) – I wrote a letter to Women’s Circle trying to find a little Hungarian cookbook for a friend and as an afterthought, wrote that I wanted to start collecting cookbooks and would buy or trade for them.

I received over 200 responses when my letter was published; I found the Hungarian cookbook published by Culinary Press (ck) and bought one for my friend and one for myself. Then I began buying anything anyone offered me and it was the nucleus of my collection. I also began finding cookbooks in used book stores—I hadn’t been living in California long enough to be familiar with used book stores such as one in West Hollywood that was a treasure trove of cookbooks, many for only $1.00 each. It was there that I acquired a handwritten cookbook that the owner of the book store offered to me for $11.00. Now that is a cookbook I have read from cover to cover many times. I have also written about it on this blog (see Helen’s Cookbook first posted June 16, 2009, along with Helen’s Cookbook the Update and Helen’s Cookbook the Sequel) – now this was a revelation. I have been collecting recipe boxes for years and had discovered filled recipe boxes—recipes collected by someone else, like a kitchen diary) – and I began wondering if there might be more self-written cookbooks like Helen’s. Aside from the very famous hand-written cookbooks such as one created by Martha Washington or Thomas Jefferson and other notables, over the years other handwritten cookbooks have come my way, thanks to friends who know about my addiction to cookbooks such as these.

Each discovery is like traveling down an amazing road and every time you come to a crossroad—it leads to more incredible and fascinating discoveries, all due to starting a collection of cookbooks.

In 1965, I was barely starting a collection. It was a stellar year. I learned how to drive that year, and also acquired an Australian penpal, Eileen, and a Michigan penpal, Betsy, who are still both a part of my life. That was also the year I met Connie, who initially babysat for me—but became a lifelong friend who was also the godmother to my youngest son, Kelly. Her children were as much a part of my life as my own sons. Connie began collecting cookbooks too.
It was right about this time that I became interested in former Presidents and the White House, and Connie and I bought a “lot” of White House, American presidents, sight unseen, from someone for $100.00. We scraped together the money and when the books arrived, divided them between us. (My discovery that cookbooks and the White House/American presidents were connected – came much later and now those books take up several shelves in my bookcases).

So, it wasn’t very long before I was collecting not only cookbooks—but books about the White House kitchens and chefs, books about American Presidents and their families, and books about First Ladies (these take up an entire bookcase).

I’m not sure when I first became aware of an antiquarian bookseller in San Gabriel…she compiled an annual booklet, “200 Years of Cookery” and I bought some books from her—this was another revelation; the booklets were reasonably priced and became my wish books. I remember visiting her once at her home in San Gabriel; I don’t remember the year—or who drove me there. I can’t imagine Jim taking me there—and Bob was familiar with San Gabriel. I still have a 1974 copy of “200 years of Cookery” and only thought, last night, to look up Marian Gore on Google. I learned that she passed away in 2009 at the age of 95. It’s quite possible that I met her, at her home in San Gabriel, with Bob accompanying me. I met him in 1986 and around that time had begun to focus on cookbooks compiled by women’s clubs and churches.

However, I discovered that I was as interested in reading cookbook catalogues as I was in reading the cookbooks themselves. Edward R. Hamilton publishes catalogues of books –including those devoted solely to cookbooks.

I would begin collecting L.A. County Fair cookbooks in the 1980s when Bob and I began entering my jellies, jams, pickled cherries and cantaloupe in the annual fair competition. If your recipes won a first, second, or third prize ribbon, you were invited to submit your recipe for the next fair competition the following year. My curiosity was piqued and I began searching for the L.A. County fair cookbooks published before I began entering it – and I did find them….but I stopped collecting the books when I was no longer able to enter the fair or get to the fair when it was being held at the Pomona Fairgrounds.

But I was still curious – what about cookbooks published by other county fairs? And what about STATE FAIR ANNUAL COOKBOOKS? (To the best of my knowledge, Texas publishes the best State Fair cookbooks…at least they did when I was broadening my search for anything fair related). The glory of fair cookbooks is that they are always reasonably priced. And this, my friends, was one of those crossroads I mentioned earlier.

As for Helen’s cookbook, also mentioned previously—it was through a penpal living in England that I learned who Helen was and something about her life; she and her husband never had any children of their own, which probably explains how her exquisite handwritten cookbook ended up in a bookstore. What charmed me most were the detailed descriptions of her dinner parties, who was invited, how everyone was given a task to perform, and what she served to them—including the recipes.

And it was because of Helen’s cookbook that I began compiling 3-ring binders of recipes…some clipped from magazines, others from other sources—until there are now over 50 of these 3-ring binders stuffed full of recipes. There are twelve binders full of cookie recipes alone. But back in the 1970s I began keeping descriptions of MY own dinner parties, who was invited, what I served and how I prepared the various dishes. I think I kept these dinner party descriptions up until the 1980s when I came to another crossroad.

For years I collected gingerbread house recipes from magazines (all of which ended up in one of my 3-ring binders) until one year Bob and I decided to build our own gingerbread house; the first house we created wasn’t too great but the next one we built was a beauty. When a visiting four-year old great-niece broke off pieces of the chicklet fence, we decided not to re-build and fed it to the birds. Bob was a genius at working on graph paper to copy designs in the magazines to a bigger size. He would make and cut out all the pieces to the gingerbread house. Together we would create gingerbread dough and roll it out to lay the pieces down on the gingerbread dough, cut the pieces out and bake them. It was an enormous undertaking! I’m sorry now that we didn’t attempt to enter THAT into the L.A. County Fair. Well, that’s how I started collecting cookbooks devoted to the topic of gingerbread houses. There were a multitude of other gingerbread creations you could make, not just gingerbread houses. One year we attempted a gingerbread dollhouse that was featured in one of the houses. That was an unusually wet winter and the house sort of collapsed from the dampness. Since then, I buy kits for my grandchildren and me to put together and decorate. And I still like to read the gingerbread house cookbooks!

Do I read cookbooks like a novel? Absolutely. Doesn’t everybody?

–Sandra Lee Smith


Out of all the cook booklets in my collection – and there are hundreds – a good percent of them are the booklets that came with your new refrigerator or stove. I thought I would go through some of these and share some of the recipes I think would still be good today—for instance, the Westinghouse Refrigerator recipe booklet published in 1947 came with one hundred recipes—along with instructions for defrosting your 1947 Westinghouse refrigerator (you’ve come a long way baby!) and how to remove ice from the Select-O-Cube tray (that has come a long way baby, as well—who doesn’t have an automatic ice maker nowadays?)

My favorite recipes in the 1947 Westinghouse cookbooklet are what used to be called “ice box cookies” but are referred to as the updated (in 1947) “refrigerator cookies” – these were the forerunners of “slice and bake cookies” that flour companies came along with some years later. Only Pillsbury can claim the title of Bake-Off recipes and the Bake-Off Books that came along in the late 1940s.   I still like the title of “ice box cookies” even though not many of today’s cooks may know where the name originated. An “ice box” cookie recipe was dough that had been rolled into one or two rolls, depending on the  recipe, then wrapped in WAX paper because we didn’t have plastic wrap yet. When the cookie dough had been chilled long enough to be very firm, the lady of the house sliced the cookies, generally in 1-inch slices and baked them in a preheated oven however long the cookbooklet told you to bake them.

My best friend whose house was across the street and down next to a little white church, brought me a little bag of still warm ice box cookies after her mother chastised me over something over which I had no control; the cookies Carol Sue brought to me were a peace offering from her mother.  Her mother had been baking them when we walked in the back door. It had to have been a warm summer night. I don’t know what kind of ice box cookies her mother, Mrs. Wheeler*, made—only that they were delicious and I wanted to make cookies like them. (*we never referred to any of our friends’ parents—or any of the other neighbor ladies or men – as anything other than Mrs. or Mr.)

An interesting example of a booklet that came with a new stove is “recipes and instructions for HOT POINT Electric Ranges,  copyrighted 1926 and published by the Edison Electric Appliance Co., inc, in Chicago. The booklet was prepared by Bernice Lowen, Home Economist and comes with some charming 1920s illustrations, This cookbooklet is old and worn and the cover looks like it might have gotten too close to the stove, a time or two. It even comes with instructions for canning in the Hotpoint Automatic Oven (I don’t think this method lasted very long). It appears that the Hotpoint Electric Range pre-dated electric refrigerators because the cookie (ice box) recipes in the Hotpoint recipe booklet  instruct the cook to place the unbaked dough “on ice” to chill.

Inside an undated booklet titled “Your New Hotpoint Refrigerator” I found a lot of instructions for care and use—and some recipes, although only TWO for making icebox (now refrigerator) cookies.  Is it just me or is “Hotpoint” to describe a refrigerator an oxymoron?

“Coldspot” is the brand name given to the refrigerator sold by Sears Roebuck and Company—back in the day. I can’t find a copyright date on the booklet titled “Modern Menu Magic Coldspot Recipes” which is replete with recipes for ices and sherbets, ice creams, parfaits, mousses and something calls Marlows—which I had never heard of….turns out Marows are dainty little desserts made with marshmallows. There are other chilled desserts but only one recipe for refrigerator cookies.

One of my unusual finds—isn’t something that I actually found. A subscriber to Sandychatter read my article about the Mystery Chef and his famous and popular cookbook “The Mystery Chef’s Own Cookbook” published in the 1930s, and wrote to tell me she had acquired a cookbooklet titled “Be An Artist at the Gas Range/successful Recipes by the Mystery Chef” which was presented “with the compliments of your Gas Company” and would I like to have it?  I said absolutely—I had no other information about the Mystery Chef writing cookbooklets in much the same way as Ida Bailey Allen did for manufacturing companies. “Be an Artist…” is a great little treasure trove of recipes that even included a black and white photograph of the Mystery Chef’s “Drawing Room in New York City”  Alas, the Mystery Chef didn’t devote very much time on cookies and out of the few featured in “Be An Artist” there is only one icebox/refrigerator cookie recipe which is for Butterscotch cookies and similar to another butterscotch cookie recipe I have already provided.  Even so, this is a good little cookbooklet to have in your collection—especially if you are pressed for space in your home and don’t have a lot of bookshelf space for cookbooks. Cookbooklets are a good collection to have—I have a lot  of them on shelves in my kitchen where they are handy but doesn’t take up TOO much space.  **

My best find so far is a 1954 Westinghouse Refrigerator booklet—what enchants me is the “conditional Sales Contract for a Westinghouse Refrigerator ($479.95) and one Whirlpool Washer ($223.07) purchased by someone in Downey, California on June 18, 1954. (I had just graduated from 8th grade). No icebox/refrigerator cookie recipes to share – this booklet was all business—with possibly the first “frost-free Refrigerator”.

I could go on and on –along with some baker’s rack shelves and some of my bookshelves in the garage library are stuffed with recipe booklets that span decades and every food topic or kitchen appliance imaginable—you may remember when Microwave ovens first appeared in department stores, they too came with booklets to help the kitchen cook deal with this new appliance.  But WHAT kitchen appliance was synonymous with refrigerator?  Why, the “Frigidaire” of course.  “Your Frigidaire Recipes and Other Helpful Information”, copyrighted 1934, may have been the crème de la crème of kitchen appliance booklets, with recipes from soups to nuts, ranging from Entrees to 101  suggestions for using leftovers (bearing in mind this was during the Great Depression), many salad and salad dressing recipes—and frozen salads.  There are recipes for “frozen creams”—and something I haven’t seen in booklets before, “how to use evaporated milk in place of whipping cream”.  There are recipes for parfaits and sherbets, ices – and the mysterious “Marlows”. Other recipe categories are included – but only two recipes for refrigerator/ice box cookies – this time one renamed “Frigidaire Cookies.”  Most seniors my age – or older – often referred to the refrigerator—regardless of the name brand – as the Frigidaire.

Here, then, is the recipe for Frigidaire Cookies:

1 ½ cups shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

4 cups flour

Cream shortening, Add sugar and beat well. Then add eggs one at a time beating meanwhile. Sift dry ingredients and stir into first mixture.

It is nice to divide this dough into three portions, adding melted chocolate and vanilla to one; grated coconut to one; nuts and raisins or chopped dates to one. These portions may be made into sausage-like rolls, wrapped in waxed paperand placed in Frigidaire overnight or until wanted. Before baking, slice very thin and bake in hot oven (450 degrees) on baking sheet. Part of the chocolate dough may be rolled to one-fourth thickness (square); a portion of the light dough rolled similarly and placed on the chocolate dough. The two slices should then be “scrolled” in jelly-roll fashion, wrapped in waxed paper, and left in Frigidaire a few hours before slicing. This will give a pinwheel effect.

(Sandy’s cooknote: Bearing in mind this is from a 1934 cookbooklet—no mention is giving for baking time. Personally, if I make up the cookie dough, I would bake them around 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes or until brown around the edges. Cool on baking racks.  I have no idea what is meant by “scrolled” in jelly roll fashion so if anyone out there can explain this term, I’d be happy to hear from you).

Your new Hotpoint Refrigerator offers the following icebox/refrigerator recipe for Butterscotch Cookies without any reference to icebox or refrigerator. They are simply


2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter or margarine

2 eggs

3 cups sifted flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream the sugar and butter or margarine. Add the whole eggs one at a time and blend thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients together and add . stir in nus. Chill the dough, then form into 2-inch rolls. Wrap rolls of dough in waxed paper and store in the refrigerator until needed. Cut in very thin slices. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 80 cookies.

(Sandy’s cooknote: – again, I urge you to watch the baking time and temperature on these cookies. I would do a tray of test cookies at 400 degrees and if the cookies get too crisp or start burning, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees).

The 1947 Westinghouse Refrigerator cookbooklet boasting of over 100 delicious recipes provides the most cookie recipes along with a photograph (albeit black and white) of baked cookies.  Here is their recipe for Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies:

2 cups uncooked rolled oats

1 cup sifted cake flour*

1 cup coconut

1 cup granulated sugar

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup shortening

1 egg

¼ cup evaporated milk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Cream shortening (butter) and sugar until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with evaporated milk. Mix well. Chill. Then form into rolls. Wrap in waxed paper. Chill until firm. Slice, place on greased cookie sheet* and bake in preheated 400 degree oven.  In baking 2 sheets of cookies  at one time, reverse baking sheets halfway between baking.  Bake 12 minutes. Makes 80 cookies.

(Sandy’s cooknote- I don’t know of anyone who has cake flour on hand nowadays. I looked this up on Google for you:

1. Measure out the flour that you’ll need for your recipe.
2. For every cup of flour you use, take out two tablespoons of flour and return it to the flour bin. Put the cup of flour (minus the two tablespoons) into a sifter set over a bowl.
3. Replace the two tablespoons of flour that you removed with two tablespoons of cornstarch.
4. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. Sift it again, and again and again. The cornstarch and flour need to be well incorporated and the flour aerated. Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture about five times.
And now you have cake flour!

(Sandy’s cooknote #2 – Again, I find the baking temperature and time sounds high to me. Test a few cookies at 400 degrees and if it’s too hot, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and watch how they bake. And I have mentioned many times that I don’t “grease” baking sheets anymore – I use only parchment paper when baking cookies. Works very well).

Some of the refrigerator cookie recipes are kind of repetitive in the various cookbooklets so I have tried to find some that are unusual or that I haven’t found elsewhere. These also come from the Westinghouse Refrigerator Over 100 Delicious Recipes from 1947:


¾ cup shortening

1 ½ cups light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup seedless raisins

3 cups cake flour (*See description above)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp nutmeg

Wash raisins (wash raisins??)  and cut into tiny pieces with scissors. Cream sugar and shortening.  Add eggs and raisins and beat well. Sift flour, measure and sift with salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg.  Add to creamed mixture; mix thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator. When stiff enough to handle, form into rolls 2” in diameter, wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator.  When ready to bake, cut into ¼” slices. Place on oiled baking sheet*, 1½ inches apart. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Make about 60 cookies.

(Sandy’s cooknote* Or line your baking sheets with parchment paper. No other greasing, oiling, etc needed. You can re-use the parchment paper many times – until it gets too “old” to use anymore.


1 cup molasses

½ cup shortening

3¼ cups flour

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsps ground ginger

1½ tsp salt

Heat molasses to boiling point and add shortening. Sift together flour, baking soda, ground ginger and salt. Add to the molasses mixture. Shape into a roll about 2 inches in diameter; wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator until wanted. Slice and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. **

I could go on and on with this topic. If I could figure out how to download photographs of cookbooklets (or any other cookbooks) and upload them onto articles in Sandychatter,  I would happily do so—there was a time when I COULD do it and then wordpress changed some of their instructions and I was left out in the dark. So until then, you will have to make do with text only blog posts. J




















About ten or fifteen years ago, when Bob & I were still living in the house in Arleta, he had a few bumper crops of vegetables—in particular was the crop of zucchinis; they seemed to go from a nice supermarket-style length to the size of a newborn baby over night. (In fact, I once took a big zucchini to work wrapped in a baby blanket to give to a co-worker as a joke. But those giant zucchinis are no joking matter!

Last year, Kelly’s yellow summer squash took over in Kelly’s garden—it was impossible to keep up with them. Last June, I went to a surprise birthday party for my girlfriend Mary Jaynne that was held in a restaurant so I put a squash in each of twenty paper lunch bags, with “door prize” written on the bags with a Sharpee pen. I gave away all twenty squashes and could have given away twenty more! Home grown vegetables are greatly appreciated by those who don’t have a vegetable garden. I suggested to my son that he plant zucchini seeds this year and so he did. So far I have baked two zucchini cakes and six zucchini breads. I have a ton of zucchini recipes (in fact, including a cookbook titled “500 Zucchini Recipes”—not to mention a recipe box filled to overflowing with zucchini recipes I have collected for many years.

I have a lot more recipes to experiment with; a penpal wrote that her mother always used some zucchini as filler in canning recipes—like mushrooms, zucchini takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. I am about to try a zucchini jam and a zucchini marmalade recipe—meantime, let me share some of my favorite “vegetable” bread and cake recipes with you.

Everyone knows how good carrot cake is—I don’t have to tell you that. I will tell you that a homemade carrot cake is ten times (or more) better than any carrot cake mix (unless you doctor it, which I HAVE done when I was trying to get a carrot cake baked in a hurry).

My best carrot cake recipe was given to me by someone at Beachy Avenue School back in the day when my two youngest sons were in the primary grades at Beachy School (in Arleta). It was featured in the Beachy Avenue School cookbook, “Recipe Roundup” which the PTA published in 1971.

When my girlfriend Rosalia’s daughter, Adena, was getting married, I was asked to make two cakes—one “the 14 carat” carrot cake Let me tell you, getting a carrot cake—with a cup and a half of cooking oil in the cake mix—frosted is no easy matter. I put about three or four layers of frosting on the cake to get it covered.

So, in memory of the Beachy Avenue PTA’s cookbook, “Recipe Roundup”, here is Barbara Augustus’ “14” Carat Cake—still a great recipe if you are not intimidated by the amount of cooking oil that was in many of our recipes back in the day—when we didn’t know anything about fat grams:

“14” Carat Cake

2 cups carrots, (finely grated)
2 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups cooking oil (nowadays I use Canola oil)
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup crushed pineapple (drained)
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans, your choice) – optional

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased and floured 8×13 or 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees 40-50 minutes.

(*Sandy’s cooknote – carrot cake is excellent with a cream cheese frosting which wasn’t featured with Barbara’s cake – but elsewhere in the cookbook is the following Cream Cheese frosting contributed by another Beachy PTA mother):

1 box powdered sugar (4 cups)
8 ounce package cream cheese (at room temp)
½ pound butter (2 sticks butter at room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
A little milk or evaporated milk to thin out as needed
Cream butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar and add a little milk to thin for frosting texture.
My updated carrot cake version came from a Weight Watcher cookbook:

The really good WW carrot cake with frosting is yummy!

3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
2 TSP baking powder
1 TSP baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed light brown sugar (or ½ cup packed Splenda brown sugar)
½ cup canola oil
2 TBSP grated orange zest
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrot (about 3 medium)
1 cup golden raisins
1 (8 oz) pkg fat free cream cheese
3 oz light cream cheese
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven 375 Degrees. Spray a large rectangular baking dish with non fat spray and dust with flour. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl.
With an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, yogurt, applesauce, brown sugar, oil, 1 tbsp of the orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl until blended. With mixer on low speed add flour mix just until blended (2-3 mins). Stir in carrots and raisins. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean (about 35 mins). Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make frosting, mix the cream cheeses and powdered sugar on high speed until blended. Add remaining 1 tbsp orange zest…spread over cake when the cake is completely cool.

To make zucchini cake, substitute shredded zucchini for the carrots.

From MY Turnaround Program Cookbook by Weight Watcher
5 points per serving.
The best chocolate zucchini cake recipe I have found is something of a mystery so I may rename it “Mystery Chocolate Zucchini Cake” because after I found it – and printed a copy for my files—I was unable to find it online again. This recipe originally appeared in Bon Appetit Magazine in 1995. This is the yummiest recipe – and you can play around with the added ingredients if you want—I usually substitute chopped pecans for the chopped walnuts because there are people in my life who can’t eat walnuts.

To make Mystery Chocolate Zucchini Cake you will need:

2 ¼ cups sifted all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup cooking oil (such as Canola)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (2 ½ medium*)
1 (6 oz) package (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips)
¾ cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13x9x2” baking dish. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium size bowl. Beat sugar, butter and cooking oil in a large bowl until well blended. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions each. Mix in grated zucchini. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over the top. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan.

(Sandra’s cooknote* the Zucchini you buy in the supermarket is a lot smaller than what will crop up in a home grown garden. I’ve found that half of one large zucchini will yield about two cups shredded zucchini. The zucchini pop up in the garden faster than anyone can use them in a recipe.
I really like a dark chocolate frosting on top of this cake—I have to confess, I have a plastic container of homemade chocolate frosting in the frig – ready to use whenever I need some of it. It’s still a good cake without frosting (some whipped cream on top makes a good dessert)
Zucchini Brownies

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
• 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/4 cup margarine
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until done. **

In my file box is a recipe for Broadway Zucchini Bread. The Broadway was an upscale department store for many years and one of the features at the downtown Los Angeles store was a tea room where the upscale ladies, after finishing their shopping (which they probably had delivered), could have lunch—or tea. It was where the Broadway Zucchini Bread was featured. This is a fairly simple recipe.

To make Broadway Zucchini Bread, you will need:

½ cup cooking oil (I use Canola)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
1½ cups flour
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder

Blend oil and sugar together. Beat eggs into mixture one at a time. Place grated zucchini in a separate bowl. Fold egg mixture into zucchini. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to zucchini mixture. Mix well. Pour batter into 2 greased 8×4” loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees 1 hour. Makes 2.


2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups zucchini, peeled and grated and drained
1 8-oz cans crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Beat together sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Stir in zucchini and pineapple. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into zucchini mixture just until blended. Stir in nuts. Turn mixture into two greased 8×4” loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees about one hour or until cake tester or toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly. Loosen sides of loaves from pan; remove and cool completely on wire racks before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.

(*Sandra’s Cooknote: Cliff House is a seaside hotel up the California coast, near Ventura. There are several Cliff Houses featured in Google; I think the one in Ventura is the recipe that appeared in the S.O.S. L.A. Times column in August of 1981 and is the recipe in my files. This is one of the few zucchini recipes in which the zucchini is peeled first.

I made a double batch of this recipe a few days ago—I had no idea that a double batch would produce so much zucchini bread! I’m giving loaves to friends!)

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Here is another zucchini chocolate cake recipe from my files. I like this one due to the grated orange peel and a little nutmeg. Much as I like cinnamon, nutmeg imparts another delicate flavor to whatever you are baking. To make this zucchini chocolate cake you will need:

2 cups flour
1 tsp EACH baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon,
½ tsp each nutmeg and salt
1/4 cup cocoa
3 eggs
1 tsp each vanilla extract and grated orange peel
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini (3 or 4 small or half of a large one)
1 cup walnuts or pecans

Use shredded raw or pureed cooked zucchini (gives a finer texture) Preheat oven 350.
Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and cocoa and set aside.
In large bowl beat eggs very light. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy and pale ivory in color. Slowly beat in oil.

Stir in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk and zucchini. Blend well. Add nuts (if using). Put into sheet cake pan or 2 9″ layer cake pans. Bake 350 40-45 minutes for layers, 1 hr for sheet. Layers: fill and frost with icing. Sheet cake: while warm drizzle with orange glaze.
GLAZE: Stir in bowl, 1 cup powdered sugar, 5 tsp orange juice, 1 tsp shredded orange peel and 1 TBSP hot melted butter. **

You may be tired of reading zucchini recipes, especially if you don’t have a bumper crop growing in your garden—but I want to share one more recipe for zucchini muffins.
To make Zucchini Muffins you will need:

3 cups grated zucchini
1 ½ cups cooking oil
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine ingredients in a large bowl in order given. Mix until just blended. Turn into 30 well greased or paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes* or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

(Sandy’s cooknote* The recipe says bake for 45 minutes. I would check on them after 30 minutes and if you can, switch the muffin pans- top to bottom and bottom to top, so they bake evenly). **

Red Beet Chocolate Cake Recipe

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked and pureed fresh beets
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sifted powdered sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch cake pan and set aside.
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Combine the sugar, eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Stir vigorously (those who use electric mixers can use one here on medium speed for 2 minutes). Beat in the beets, melted chocolate, and vanilla.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the beet mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan. Cover and let stand overnight to improve the flavor. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Let the cake cool completely and store in a sealed container or cake safe. This cake will stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. Serves 8 to 12

This recipe turned up in a Grit magazine, which I have been subscribing to even though many of the articles are about things like raising chickens which I haven’t figured out will go with two dogs and a cat. Years ago we raised chickens at the Arleta house & it was wonderful until dogs managed to get into the chicken coop and killed all of my laying hens.

I am about to try a recipe for making a mock apple pie using the zucchini slices as a substitute for the apples. I’ll let you know how this one turns out!

—Sandra Lee Smith




MY FATHER (on Father’s Day)

Remembering my father, on this special day,
Remembering how he looked and talked
And what he’d have to say,
Remembering how he loved to bowl,
Or watch a baseball game,
Remembering what his values were,
But it’s not the same.
I have the many photographs,
And letters that he wrote
I have a sweater that he wore,
And a threadbare coat.
Inside my head I hear his voice,
Calling out my name,
But it’s been so long ago,
And it’s not the same.
I have so many questions that
I should have asked him then,
I’ll have to wait until the time
I see him once again.

–Sandra Lee Smith
Originally posted APRIL 26, 2012


My earliest recollections of my father aren’t actually my memories—but I have dozens of black and white photographs in which my father is seen—I have collected for years those photographs in which I am in the picture with my father.

I had the notion for years that my mother was “the family photographer” – after all, it was she who pasted hundreds of old photographs in large catalogs of men wearing suits of every description; it was during WW2 that she pasted the photographs into the suit catalogs (for want of a better description) . Quite possibly, photo albums with black pages weren’t available during the war years and my mother improvised with old suit catalogs that would have been discarded. I think a new catalog was published every year – and my paternal grandfather was a tailor. (Writing about my paternal grandfather would also make a great article—he had traveled throughout many European countries looking for men who wanted a new suit of clothing and spoke seven languages fluently).

At some point in time, after the War was over, my mother tore the photographs out of the suit catalogs and began putting them into “real” photo albums. Oh, how I wish my mother would have left the family photographs in the suit catalogs. For one thing, the family photos took a beating being pasted into the suit albums, then torn out. And I think the photographs, pasted in the suit catalogs—would be quite collectible today.

And, for some reason, I believed for many years that my mother was the family photographer. And to some degree, this was true—but as I went through hundreds of photographs that ended up in my possession, I realized that my father was actually the family photographer—my mother is IN most of the photographs (and she loved having her picture taken—she took great delight in being the center of attention). And it was my father who bought a Nikon camera—I don’t think he had the opportunity to use it as when it came into my possession, it was in like-new condition with instructions and the receipt for the purchase of the camera.

And here’s what amazes me to this day—the camera that produced all the large black and white photographs for many years—was simply a Brownie camera. I had it in my possession in the first years of my marriage and from there always had an inexpensive “point and shoot” camera. (I have no idea what happened to that Brownie camera. I think it was lost in the shuffle when we first moved to Californian). The negatives to the Brownie camera were large and easily reproduced; I made dozens of 8×10 reprints from the negatives I had managed to save.

From early childhood on, I wanted to be a photographer—I would take books about photography out of the public library and read/study them even though I didn’t understand most of what I was trying to read. It wasn’t until the 1980s that I began taking black and white photography classes with a girlfriend from work. By then my father had passed away, and I inherited dad’s Nikon camera. Everyone else in the family also had their own cameras, much better models than anything I ever owned.

It was shortly after this, in 1984, that the girlfriend and I began taking classes one night a week at Glendale Community College; after six weeks of listening to the instructor, we “graduated” to the dark room. But, I digress – and this is another topic about which I could write about.

Let me get back to my father and the early years of my life. Earlier this year, because I was still recuperating from a kidney-related illness, I began putting the loose photographs into some semblance of order—I had “inherited” my mother’s collection of photographs, what she hadn’t given away; I also received an old album plus dozens, if not hundreds, of old ‘loose’ photographs that had been in my older brother’s possession and which he no longer wanted.

When my older sister Becky began fighting breast cancer and I was flying to Nashville to spend time with her–she told me to take whatever old black and white photographs I wanted;—she said none of her children would want them, so I began going through her photo albums. I was flying to Nashville once or twice a year from the time of her first surgery in 2000, until she passed away in 2004) … and there is a short story about HER oldest photographs—they had originally been in albums with black pages; her ex-husband’s second wife tore the photographs out of the albums to save on postage and mailed them to her.

Some of her oldest class photographs from Saint Leo’s were amongst her photo collection— group class pictures of all eight grades, a practice that was discontinued by the time I was a student at St Leo’s. I have a large group photo taken in front of St Leo’s church taken at the time we made our first communions – and an 8th grade graduation photograph also taken in front of the church. (I have my father’s 8th grade graduation photograph taken alongside a side entrance to St. Leo’s School and another large group photograph taken in front of the church that we think was taken when my father was in the 4th or 5th grade. (My father, uncle, and aunt all went to St. Leo’s – as did my sister, brothers and I. My cousin Renee was at St Leo’s until 3rd grade so that means her brother, Pete, would have been at St. Leo’s until 2nd grade.

Becky wrote the names of every student on her group photos. So, all of those old photographs from St. Leo’s, as well as Becky’s teenage pictures taken of her friends down on Queen City Avenue in South Fairmount, have come into my possession.

I didn’t think I would ever get this project completed. I began sorting hundreds of old photographs, putting them into categories – siblings, my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles and so on. I have two large albums filled with these photographs. Then I went back to my own album collection which I had stopped working on in 2012. I had the rest of 2012 and all of 2013 to get into albums. (I converted a linen closet into a photo album closet–I have more albums than linens, starting with an album I started when I was about 14 or 15 years old).

I guess this is when it occurred to me that my parents were often photographed together – or one or the other. I found lots of photographs of myself—either in the arms of my mother or my father—sometimes taken at Le Sourdsville Lake where everyone could swim or enjoy picnic lunches.

By the time my brothers Biff and Bill were born, I don’t think my father went on many of these summer excursions (in retrospect, I think he was busy almost all the time with his bowling. He was also league secretary on many, if not most, of his leagues).

I remember my mother taking all of us and my grandmother to Cincinnati’s version of Coney Island—usually on Findlay Market day, when ride tickets were being sold in advance at Findlay Market and I think my mother took advantage of these ride tickets being sold, something like 20 for a dollar. I have no memory of my father going to Coney Island with us.

We went to the Policemen’s annual picnic, and my father went to that. I have old photographs taken in the early 1940s when I was a toddler, when the family went to LeSourdsville Lake. I think this was more of a Beckman annual family outing than a Schmidt one—all of the photographs I’ve gone through show my mother and father, my mother’s sisters and their husbands (when they were home on leave, I presume) as well as Grandma Beckman.

In other photographs in which my mother’s sisters and their husbands were photographed during the War years, my uncles are wearing their uniforms. All of my uncles who served in World War II survived the war and made it home to their families.

My father was born April 20, 1915; I am fairly certain my father was born at home and delivered by a midwife in the downtown Cincinnati area near Findlay Market. (Both of my parents had been born in Cincinnati.) I had grown up believing my father was the oldest of three children – his brother John (Hans) was born two years later and Annie a few years after Uncle Hans…but we have learned that there were three other children born before my father, children that had died. None of us know much more than that. I think one boy child died on the ship coming to the United States—but the other two may have died in one of the horrific influenza epidemics that swept through cities and states throughout the United States in the early 1900s. My grandmother kept one photograph of a young child in a coffin—a photograph that disappeared when her health began to fail.

I sent some emails to my brother Jim, now my oldest sibling, to ask him about Dad’s work at Formica. Jim wrote, “Dad did get a military exemption since he had 3 children but mainly because he was in a critical career field at Formica. The British developed a process of inlaying gold on Formica but the tool and die department perfected it. Only Dad, Bud Hudson, and George Foreman were knowledgeable on how to do this. Formica kept it a trade secret until they could get the process patterned. This was the advent of micro – chips. Georget Helfridge was his boss in the tool and die department at Formica back in 1941.

I think my father was also exempt from being drafted because his only brother was already in the navy and during the War, Formica—for whom my father began working when I was a baby—stopped making decorative materials and instead produced “Pregwood” – plastic-impregnated wood use for propellers and “bomb burster tubes”. (I checked bomb burster tubes on Google but the explanation was too complicated for me to even attempt to repeat).

After the war, the housing boom boosted the market for decorative Formica. By 1953, one-third of the 6 million new homes had streamlined Formica kitchen surfaces, easy to wipe clean and cigarette proof.

When I was a very young child, I thought my father worked for someone named “Mica” – when he went bowling, he was bowling for mica. His team bowled in the 1947 ABC Bowling Tournament in Los Angeles; my mother accompanied him while we children stayed at Grandma Schmidt’s. I think it was my parents first flight on an airplane and the trip to Los Angeles entailed more than a few changes of flights—one of which I know was in Las Vegas since I have photographs taken of them at McCarran Airport. Only one other wife made the trip to L.A. besides my mother.

A few years ago, when my father’s scrapbooks came into my possession, I put together an album of his life and bowling career. Bowling was the favorite pastime and sport of both my parents; they had his, hers, and their bowling leagues. My parents had dozens of bowling trophies—many ended up stored in boxes and trunks in the basement—so it goes without saying that my mother was never a bowling “widow”.

I texted my brother and asked him to provide some of dad’s bowling history for me. I think you would have grown up and lived in the Midwest to really understand the attraction for bowling in Ohio and a lot of other Midwestern cities. During the wintertime, there was always bowling, regardless of the weather.

Jim wrote “I initially did not bowl with dad except in tournaments like ABC, etc. However, around 1962, we did join teams and bowled in the Knights of Columbus league on Sunday afternoon in a traveling league and we bowled in 35 different houses (bowling establishments) over the season. I was bowling with Mergards (a big bowling establishment in Northside) on Saturday night and Wednesday night at the same time. We bowled for Northside’s Knights of Columbus after transferring. We bowled with Bob Lintz and Steve Petko. After winning the league, dad asked me to join him on Tuesdays at Sanker’s (a well known bowling establishment in Mount Healthy).We had Don Mechlem, Yotz Purtell and another bowler. We also started up a 2 man Classic at Sanker’s. Dad and I bowled together. I averaged 205 and Dad 191. Again winners, we would bowl in the state, city, ABC (American Bowling Congress, now USBC) and Knights of Columbus tournaments. I was still going to school at University of Cincinnati…” (*Jim spent 4 years in the Air Force, then resumed his education while also working full time and supporting his family).

Jim writes, “Somewhere during this time frame, Dick Tabler joined us. We then bowled Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. I continued to bowl with Stone’s Palace in Norwood on Mondays and on Wednesdays in the Hudepohl traveling league. Dad bowled at Brentwood with Vince Laehr at Colerain’s (Our uncle Vince– was a boyhood friend of dad’s who married our mother’s younger sister, our Aunt Rainy—so he and Dad were brothers in law) Many times I bowled on Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. Dad continued to bowl almost exclusively at Sankers…”

(Sandy’s note: I learned from our cousin Renee—who asked her father—how our fathers became childhood friends when they lived in different neighborhoods. Uncle Vince replied “when a bunch of boys were sled-riding down a steep street in the wintertime—no one would go down the hill with Pete—until Vince volunteered. They became buddies and when they were teenagers, the two took dancing lessons at Arthur Murray’s Dancing School to “impress those pretty Beckman sisters”. (My father was always a good dancer—I never knew about the dancing lessons. After my father passed away, my mother took up dancing. My brother Jim asked her what she wanted to do and she replied “I always wanted to dance”. And so she did.)

Jim continues, “After I received my MBA in 1973, I did bowl with Dad on Thursdays at Sanker’s when I decided to go for a Ph.D in psychology. I quit bowling and, of course, Julie was born in 1976.

This was when mom and dad went down to Florida to live (in Largo, Florida, at the Four Seasons Mobile Park. Largo is near Tampa, close to the ocean.) I eventually went to Michigan to work and live and gave up bowling for 20+ years. Dad continued to bowl in Florida and went to annual ABC bowling tournament until 1984…”

Sandy’s note “**the ABC’s were in Reno in 1984. Dad sent me a plane ticket to join them and it was the only time in my memory that I had both parents entirely to myself for 4 days). Dad had at least 25 years in league participation. The ABC tournament in Reno would be his last. I had such a wonderful time with them in Reno…”

Jim continues to write: “They moved to Florida in 1976. Mom said she was going down alone if he didn’t retire. He was working 14 hours a day, seven days a week. And he was bowling 4 nights a week. Scott and Susie were left in the house on Mulberry to fend for themselves. I had my own problems since Bunny took off with Julie 3 weeks after she was born. I found out she went to visit a (friend or relative?) in Melbourne, Florida. I have no idea why they (our parents) didn’t ask me to look after Susie…”

(Good question. and did anyone ever learn why Bunny took off for Florida just after Julie was born?)

Jim writes, “That winter, they came up to Cincinnati to visit. Scott and Dad went out shopping in a snow storm and got stuck in a parking lot. Dad was pushing (Scott behind the wheel) when he fell and shattered his knee cap. That eventually developed a blood clot in leg. (*Dad was put on blood thinners which caused him to get an ulcer. It was one thing after another. His leg was in a cast which was too tight – by the time they removed the cast, he already had a blood clot. He even had the last rites – he believed he WAS dying—but he recovered).

To return to Jim’s notes – “the blood clot in his leg in 1984 went to his heart and killed him” (*Dad had an initial heart attack—while bowling, what else?)

Sandy writes “In 1984 I flew to Florida –a girlfriend got plane tickets for me to fly to Florida on a Sunday and delivered them to my house on Saturday night. It was the only time I can remember that I had ‘rat-holed’ four hundred dollars, planning to go with a girlfriend to Carmel. I went, over husband Jim’s objections—he was rude and unkind—I had to pack my bags in the dark; I couldn’t understand why—I said to him “if it was your mother, I would be supportive”. I didn’t know at the time that he had a girlfriend—which makes his objections to my going to Florida even more mysterious. My brother Jim was already in Florida; he and mom met my flight. We went up to the hospital to see Dad and the last thing I said to my father was “I love you, Daddy” to which he replied, “I love you too. I’m glad you’re here”.

Three hours later, he had another heart attack which was fatal. We, in the family, believe that the blood clot he had had in his leg (from the previous injury to his knee) broke loose and went to his heart. He was rubbing his leg while we were there and a nurse came in. She asked him why he was rubbing his leg and he said “because it aches” to which SHE replied “well, don’t rub it”. All the signs were there – we just weren’t reading them right. And Dad’s cardiologist was in Cincinnati.

Sandy writes “The hospital called to tell us that my father had passed away. Jim woke mom up and the three of us went back to the hospital—to see for ourselves, I guess. We said some prayers and then returned to my parents’ mobile home at the Four Seasons.

The entire time we—mom, Jim and I-were driving back to my parents’ mobile home, I kept looking over my shoulder as Jim was driving & mom up in front with him so I had the back seat. I felt like we were being followed. Later I concluded that Dad was following us. We got mom to go back to bed and Jim began calling all the family. Around 3 am I went to take a shower, to stay awake – and I heard my father calling my name. He said my name three times—I tried to ignore the voice but finally said “I hear you dad. What do you want?” He replied “Take care of your mother”.

Well, Jim did take care of her; I was so involved with my own problems—a failing marriage and a lot of anger and towards a man who, I discovered, had been cheating our entire marriage. I have always felt Jim (Smith) wouldn’t have confessed about the girlfriend if my father was still alive.

“REMEMBERING MY FATHER” (written July 16, 2009)
It was twenty five years ago today
that my father passed away
And many of the events leading up to
And following his death
Are etched forever in my mind
Never to be forgotten.
I, who will be 69 on my next birthday Have a greater appreciation that he was Only sixty nine when he was taken from us.
I have often wondered
if the medical care had been better in Florida,
Or if he had still been in Ohio
Under the care of his own doctor,
If things might have turned out differently.
1984 was a horrific year
For all of us, my family and
Some of my friends
And it was a year to be gotten through Day by day And month by month.
—Sandra Lee Smith


I typed the letters, which my brother Jim had in his possession (Bunny’s handwriting was on the envelope) and which Jim gave to Susie—presumably when we were in Florida in April, 2013. Oddly enough, the memorial mass for Bunny, who died August 29, 2012—was held on April 20, 2013– dad’s birthday.

To put these letters into a better perspective, the following is from my journal memoirs, which I have been converting from notebooks into my computer. I wrote the following letter to my penpal Bev, who had kept all my letters over the years and gave stacks of them to me when I began working on my memoirs in 2011.
I wrote this to Bev: “March 15, 1978 – has been one disaster after another. We have had 2 months of rain (no more drought!) and floods and terrible mudslides. Back east they’ve had incredible blizzards and snow storms with unheard of sub-zero temperatures. Mom & Dad drove back to Ohio in January, just missing blizzards along the way, only to be in a big one in Cincinnati, and two days after the blizzard, Dad’s car got stuck in the snow and when he tried to push it out, he fell on his right knee, and tore the cartilage. The next day they operated on him; that was bad enough – it’s such a painful operation and he suffered terribly. Mom said later that for two days she prayed while he swore. Well a few days after he was released from the hospital, his leg under the cast began swelling. Mom got him back into the hospital, this time with phlebitis. They put him on anticoagulants and a week later he was in terrible pain and spitting blood and had developed a bleeding ulcer from the anticoagulants. He was taken to intensive care. He was so seriously ill that a priest came and administered the last rites. It drove me crazy to be so helpless. I wanted to go home. They said no, don’t come, if you come he’ll believe he is dying. He reached a crisis on Feb 18 – which was, oddly, the anniversary of HIS father’s death. He was convinced he would never leave the hospital alive. I just couldn’t cope with it. I guess no one ever really is. My parents always seemed so strong to me. Anyway, Dad is recuperating at home now and doing better, and perhaps everything will be ok, especially when they can return to Florida”.

The following letters were written by my father, to my mother, in 1978. Two are dated – one February, 24, 1978 and one February, 1978. A third is undated.
“Vi Darling
You know I don’t like to write notes but for you I’d do anything so here goes:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are so sweet
That’s why I love you.
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx There’s your kiss. Now will you be so kind as to mail that letter for me and wake me about 12:00
Peter (and I still say I love you.”

“February 1978:
Dear Vi,
It’s been so long since we really cared about each other. The only thing that hurts is my concern about your beer drinking. I love you and always will no matter what I may say or do. When you are at the end of the ropes and find out later how many people cared, you feel both good & bad. Maybe we could have done more but my love for you will be forever. Love, Pete”

Dear Vi,

It isn’t easy laying here and not knowing what, where and when it will happen. They all put on a good show. But once that clot breaks loose it could be the end. But whatever happens always remember that I loved you all the years we were together. God gave me a reprieve last Saturday and Sunday so have a mass said for my mother & father and your mother & father. You might say I just have this down feeling but for some reason I have this feeling and can’t shake it. I love you. Pete”

*These notes were each written on a single sheet of paper, which had been folded and refolded dozens (if not hundreds) of times. I think Bunny found them when she & Jim began going through mom’s things. There were a couple of personal telephone books in my mother’s handwriting that Bunny sent to me—I have one but an older second telephone book disappeared. I had started that phone book when the family moved to NCH in 1955 or 56 and I began typing names & addresses into it for mom.

Dad recovered from the knee injury and they returned to Florida to live. In 1984 he had a first heart attack followed by a second one 3 days later that took his life. He was 69 years old.

My mother displayed symptoms of Alheimers years before it was actually diagnosed. Her “best friend” Ron took her to Michigan to drop her off at Jim & Bunny’s and then he stole anything not nailed down in my parents’ mobile home. She didn’t know either of my sisters or me when we visited her at the nursing home. She was 83 years old when she passed away on September 29, 2000. I was thankful she didn’t die on my birthday.

I think there are other letters my father wrote to my mother. We have no way of knowing what happened to them. My mother may have burned them when she was busy burning the things her children collected – baseball cards and old comic books—all the negatives from years of photography—many things when they were making plans to move to Florida permanently. I could delve deeply into my mother’s psyche without ever coming close to knowing or understanding what was going on in her mind. I’ve tried to tell her story from an open unbiased point of view but it’s a hard thing to do, being one of her children who was subject to her whims and episodes of anger and her frequent accusations that no one loved her and/or that we loved grandma Schmidt more than her and/or that we loved our father more than her. There are no answers to many questions we are left with years later. My brother Jim & I visited the cemetery when we were in Florida in April 2013; unbeknownst to me, Susie & her family visited the cemetery too. Both parents are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Clearwater Florida, a long way from their birthplace of Cincinnati, Ohio.


Jim wrote “Normally your first thoughts are the most accurate and meaningful. I’d go with what you have written. Our lives are near an end but it may make a difference, especially to Scott. You are disclosing a lot of information that our siblings don’t know. I know that my life could have been different if only someone had told me how important it was to continue my education. I felt always sorry for Becky. She got the shaft. Her only recourse was to run away and get married. This was going from bad to worse.

Many times I think of Renee. (Uncle Vince & Aunt Rainy’s oldest child). What are her perceptions? There were only four [children] in the Laehr family. Hopefully our younger brothers and sister can gain some insight into our background and benefit from it.” (June 27, 2014)

We – at least Becky, Jim and I, – have often looked back on our lives and wished we had done things differently. Becky took classes at UC around the same time Aunt Dolly began taking art classes there. Becky could accomplish anything that challenged her – she began working with pottery and her husband Bill put a kiln in their basement; she told Bill she wanted to learn how to fly; he told her to go for it. She got a private pilot’s license. I think the only thing that ever hampered her were her husbands (#1 and #2) who both, I think, were male chauvinists—quite like our father, when you think about it.

Becky was the most mistreated of all of us but you would never guess it from things she wrote—I think she wrote about personal things the way she wished it had been. I know my mother mistreated her; I think mom blamed Becky for an unwanted pregnancy that none of mom’s in-laws would ever let her forget.

And I think Becky yearned for approval and acceptance from both of our parents. I have forgotten many things from my childhood but have never forgotten how Becky was treated—not just when we were children but when she was a young adult as well. I think that’s what motivated and challenged Becky more than the rest of us – she was trying to prove to our parents that she was a good person, that she was smart and could accomplish whatever she set out to do. Becky got married at 15 to get out of the house. Jim went into the Air Force after he graduated from Elder High School. I got married at 18 because I felt trapped—I had taken care of Scott from the time he was born and throughout the summer after graduation; I was hired by Western Southern in September (and the pay was a pittance) – and mom said to me “now that you have a job, you have to pay room and board”. I was furious; it seemed so unfair—no one ever paid ME for taking care of my brothers (not that I expected or wanted it) – it just seemed unfair and so I cried telling im (Smith) about it and he said “Well, we could get married.” I had no idea what I was letting myself in for—but it was one of the few ways a “good” girl could leave her parents home – if I wasn’t going to college—a nice girl didn’t have her own apartment. I’ve often wondered—if I had rented rooms from Grandma, and she had kept her house and not sold it to Aunt Annie – then when Jim came home the two of us would have had an apartment in Grandma’s house—I would have continued working downtown and Jim would have been able to continue his education—and Grandma wouldn’t have lost her will to live by giving up her house.

Maybe we really don’t have a choice in how our lives are mapped out. Jim Smith & I moved to California where Chris & Kelly were born, and began divorce proceedings in 1985. I was fortunate that I had a great job by then and was able to support myself. It didn’t occur to me at the time that I would have been able to buy another house on my own. You have to believe that you are where you are supposed to be as you go through life – otherwise what would have been the purpose to your life?

Four days in Reno,
We laughed and talked
And had ourselves a time;
Four days in Reno,
A year ago those days
Were yours and mine..
Little did we realize
The sands of time
Were quickly running past;
Four days in Reno–
I should have known
It couldn’t last.

And now when it’s late at night
And I am in my bed alone,
I remember Reno
And all the happy times we’ve known;
I still can see us smiling
Silhouettes against a snowy mountain sky
And memories I’ll cherish–
Four days that I’ll remember
Til I die.

(In memory of my parents and the last ABC Tournament held in Reno, where I joined my parents in March, 1984 to spend a few days with them – Sandra Lee Smith