Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Every Day is an Opportunity

As always, happy Monday to everyone and #TGIM!

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY – a turning point, a gift, an opportunity! And every Monday is another chance for me to tell Mom’s story. This week is International Women’s Week, which started yesterday, on International Women’s Day. And, as I mentioned last week, the whole month of March is also National Women’s History Month! As the old saying goes: “We are women – hear us roar!”

#WomensWeek

My mom was a “creative master” at whatever she attempted. I wish I had half of her talent. Mom wore so many hats in our family and in the “family enterprise”, as she called it. In our family, Mom was cook, maid, chauffeur, doctor, seamstress, counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. In her dining-room-table-based family enterprise, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and (again) so much more! She was a “Wonder Woman” who devoted every day to balancing all of it!

From the unique design of her works to her “Food-for-Thought” and “Food-for-the-Soul” articles to her “copycat” recipes to her thousands of radio interviews, Mom inspired and touched so many lives through her pioneering years as the Recipe DetectiveTM. Since starting the blog and social media pages in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails and Social Media messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks and newsletters. That inspires me!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

The following excerpts are from…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 41 & 43)

EVERY DAY IS A TURNING POINT

We always look for a turning point in our lives when things have not gone smoothly. I’m beginning to believe that every day is a turning point – that each experience contributes to our eventual goals and growth. I caution my newsletter readers, even today, not to think in terms of ‘forever’. Think of now and forever will take care of itself. Most of us worry too much about what my mother calls ‘the loaves and fishes’. ‘We worry too much’, Mom insists, and rightly so, ‘about having something to live ON – and too little about having something to live FOR!’

It is not so much where we have been or where we are going but where we are NOW that matters. I look back only to find comfort in those never-again moments during which our five children were growing up and our family enterprise was just getting started. I can only remember how Paul looked when I told him I had bought my own mimeograph machine and how I was using it. BOOM!

1974, Gloria Pitzer mimeographing her newsletter and recipe cards.

MARKETING INSPIRATION

To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 and a total of 200 or 300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too. I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [areas] in the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores. From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response. What I had at that time was a little book entitled ‘The Better Cookers Cookbook’ [1973], as opposed to our current popular book, ‘Better Cookery’ [1983].

The distribution of information on the book included my mailing a copy of it along with a letter explaining how and why it was written, to several of my favorite newspaper columnists and friends. One with whom I had contact on various subjects before, was Bob Talbert of the Detroit Free Press. He mentioned this little book in one of his columns as ‘for a buck-and-a-half-and-a-belly-laugh’. It worked!

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

HOW TO LAUNCH A NEWSLETTER

Whenever I am asked by somebody wanting to launch a newsletter of their own, how to get started, I wish I could just send them a blueprint or a floor plan, like you would when you build a house or a garage. With newsletter writing and marketing, it’s all based on individuality, and experience being the best teacher and then having a responsive audience. It all begins with the sale.

You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that. You either know how or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light! You have to let your light shine and part of the preparation for communicating with your reader is to know HOW to talk to them, what they need from your newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better. 

 There’s a powerful wisdom we don’t understand. It comes down to believing…to having faith.’ – Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 47-48)

THE BEGINNING OF THE FAMILY ENTERPRISE

I had used a recipe in one of my newspaper columns at the Port Huron paper for a sauce like McDonald’s used on their hamburgers. It was such a hit with the readers… It seemed so obvious… Repeat the recipes that were so popular at the paper for those few weeks, only this time putting them into my own newsletter.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get started putting together all of the recipes I could find that had anything at all to do with fast food restaurants or franchise eateries. Nobody, but nobody had done that yet. There were cookbooks on how to do it the way the gourmets did and recipes from famous inns and restaurants with wine stewards and parking valets, but never from a hamburger palace or a pizza carry-out! Those were considered SECRETS. One thought led to another and soon the whole format was taking place on the paper in front of me.

HOW TO SELL IT – RADIO

The request for more and more came almost as immediately as the recipes would circulate, mostly through Bob Allison’s [radio] show, but as well through our newsletter, which was then growing to a circulation of nearly 1000. The idea soon developed to put these famous secrets on index cards and sell them as, I explained earlier, we did prior to the first series of books.

One step led to another and each step came from having absolute faith that failure was impossible. When you unselfishly search for something to do, something to share, I have learned from first-hand experience, you never come away disappointed. I wasn’t looking for the rewards or gratification – only the service for the product. That, I believe, is why it all worked out so beautifully.

1985 Gloria Pitzer

One of the first radio affiliations that I had, other than my regular visits with Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ [radio show], was with Warren Pierce at WJR in Detroit. In those early interviews we talked with Warren’s listeners, answering questions about imitating famous foods and one of the most often requested recipes on that show was for hot fudge like Sanders (Fred Sanders Confectionery Company).

It was right after I had given the recipe on the air and immediately after Carol Haddix had printed my recipe for that ice cream topping in the Detroit Free Press that a letter came from Jack Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Sanders and great-grandson of the company’s founder. At once, I looked at the envelope and imagined trouble because I had come so close to the original with my recipe.  

But quite the contrary! It was an invitation to Paul and me and our family to visit the Saunders plant and headquarters in Highland Park (Michigan) and to see, he wrote to us, ‘if it doesn’t spoil your fun’ how their products were really made. We became good friends after that exciting tour and in our ‘Fast Food Recipe Book’ I give you some 16 pages of information and history, plus recipes that have been inspired by Sanders products.

Obviously, doing an e-newsletter requires a long-time commitment; as well as devotion, responsibility and dedication whether I’m doing it for a few people or for thousands of people. Once I commit to writing an e-newsletter – whether it’s weekly, monthly or something else – I need to have a goal or purpose for how it will fit into my “big picture”. I also need to gather and collect good subject matter for it. Most of this, I have; but, not all!

After setting a goal or purpose and collecting the content for it, next, I would have to create my own template or choose a template from a “host” such as MailChimp, MailerLite or ActiveCampaign, to name a few in this market. This is where I get lost, as I am not tech-savvy! My brother, Mike, set up this website – not me. I just learned how to work with the WordPress and GoDaddy systems that he set up for me. And, trust me, it’s not easy…not for me, anyway.

I’ve looked at so many articles and videos on “how to create an e-newsletter” (even the ones “for dummies”), yet, I still feel overwhelmed and inadequate to understand and follow all of the required steps to achieve this ambition of mine. I used to be a “quick study”, always able to learn things on the fly and fairly easily. After I passed 50 years old, it’s become harder and harder, every year that goes by. Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and sometimes you can – it just takes a lot longer.

Thus, I’ve decided to shelve the e-newsletter idea, for a while. I don’t feel I am ready for the time and dedication involved in learning how to create AND execute such a project. I’m still occupied with building up this website to how I’d like it to look and function, as well as writing the “Memories of My Mom” blog every week, while working a “money-paying” job that helps compensate some of our household bills.

#NationalMeatballDay

On another subject – March 9th, is (among other things) National Meatball Day! When it comes to meatballs, at least in Michigan, the first name that comes to mind is our famous Schuler family. Win Schuler’s was one of Michigan’s longest-established, family-owned restaurants, spanning four generations and having celebrated their 110th anniversary just last year, before selling the company to a long-time associate and close, family friend, Sue Damron, in Oct. 2019.

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#ThankGodItsMondayDay suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again, and, hopefully, re-inspire love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. 10 down, 42 to go!

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